We stayed up for a major part of the race watching Karun’s progress on the Livestream and brought you the updates in our rSeries.
There were a number of heart-in-my-mouth moments during the course of the race, with some spectacular crashes bringing out the safety car and on some occasions for a duration of half hour, something we are not used to seeing too often in the Formula 1 races.
“Driving for nine of the last 36 hours and sleeping for four makes for a pretty tiring ratio! I ended up doing the graveyard shift from 2 – 5am, which was very special and exhausting in equal measure. It made me really understand the unique, special nature of this race. Overall a very good race for us and it feels great to be the only Indian to have finished the Le Mans 24hr race. The whole team worked tirelessly and it is a great reward for all their hard work. We have all been flat out since the first test here. I am absolutely exhausted and look forward to taking a nice long break. To finish second amongst the privateer teams is huge so fantastic result all around.” said Karun Chandhok after the race.
Peter Dumbreck who did a phenomenal job of wielding the JRM Racing Honda HPD ARX-03a LM1 tweeted “It was like Christmas had come! Thanks Santa Stepney.”
Things weren’t easy for the JRM Racing team. Though they started 11th on grid and moved up the grid steadily thanks to the trio of fantastic drivers, we had a good scare on lap 114 when Peter had a puncture coming through the Dunlop Curves and went off into the gravel. David Brabham took over from Peter for his second session, and joined the race after having been delayed quite a while in the pits when the position dropped to 17th overall.
The Australian made a charge through the LM2 cars and was back to 9th overall by the time he handed over to Karun Chandhok on lap 158. Karun soon went up to 8th and set about chasing the #44 Starworks car for 7thoverall. Then, on a stop on lap 169, Karun reported a problem with the clutch and was pushed into the garage. He rejoined in 12th overall but brought the car back to the pits in 9th when he handed over to Peter just before dawn.
The whole of Sunday was spent in front of the computer glued to the race hoping my home internet’s data usage wouldn’t cross the limits and leave me stranded on the interweb with 256 Kbps!
After subsequent uneventful and steady stints of driving by the team, Peter concluded the race for the #22 JRM Racing, crossing the line in sixth overall. JRM Racing proudly states that this is its first Le Mans race and only its third-ever endurance race and the entire team is celebrating their success. The British team, led by team principal James Rumsey and team manager Nigel Stepney, passed the flag after 24 hours of hard-fought racing, 357 laps and over 4,800km in an impressive sixth place and second of the privateers’ class.
James Rumsey, team principal
Before the race I said we would be thrilled to finish the race. That was an underestimation – we are absolutely overjoyed. It’s only our third ever event as a team and our first Le Mans so to finish, and to finish well, is almost indescribable. The drivers all drove very, very well and came together as a crew. David was invaluable in giving us his experience, Peter did a great job through the night – particularly after the puncture when things could have gone very wrong – and Karun did incredibly well to be so consistent on his first visit here. This week has tested everyone – we’ve had a lot of work, lots of late nights and yet everyone has pulled together to achieve this result. I am so proud of everyone and am sure that this is just the start of something very big. Watch this space.
Nigel Stepney, chief engineer and team manager
I’ve been in motorsport for longer than I care to remember, but this is a feeling that goes beyond anything I’ve experienced before. The sheer amount of effort that’s gone into the result in the months and weeks before this has tested everyone and it’s incredible that we have a result that justifies the workload. We’ve had more than our share of problems leading up to the race this week and a couple of minor issues in the race, but really reliability has been pretty good – the only issues we had were incidentals. There is a lot of luck in Le Mans and while we were lucky today, the preparation that’s gone in before has helped us get a bit of luck for ourselves.
What a journey we’ve had as a team today – and actually since the start of the year. We’ve done two races as a team and come to Le Mans for the very first time so to run in the top six and run as well as we have, with no real reliability issues, is an amazing achievement. Since the start of this programme the guys have been up against it as the car came so late, and even this week they’ve been working hard to get everything ready and prepared. There have been a lot of very late nights so I am very proud of everyone in the team who has worked so hard to achieve this result.
The last stint was so nerve-wracking; I kept listening to every noise, vibration and little twitch thinking what was it?! This result means so much to everyone that I was concentrating so hard at the end to give them the result they deserved. If anyone had anyone offered us that before this week we would have gladly taken it. We thought it would be a miracle to finish, so I think we have to thank someone up there… David and I have both had our share of ups and downs in Le Mans so it’s great to finally get a good result – it’s something to build on for next year! Karun did a superb job in his first 24 hour race as well – I think as a driving trio we couldn’t have done any more.