JRM Racing demonstrated its increasing level of performance in the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Six Hours of Sao Paulo. The HPD-ARX 03a driven by David Brabham, Karun Chandhok and Peter Dumbreck set lap times on a pace with the privateer teams to finish fourth in class.
However, unfortunately the #22 crew finished in ninth overall after an electrical glitch stopped the car on track approximately two and a half hours into the race, losing 12 laps before it could be reset and restarted.
Peter Dumbreck opened the race for JRM, trading times and track position with the #12 Rebellion and the Strakka Racing car. With excellent tyre wear and high fuel efficiency Peter was able to move from his starting slot of seventh to fifth and set increasingly competitive lap times. After a double stint, the Scot handed over to David Brabham but almost immediately after the safety car was deployed and the #22 slowed dramatically, eventually grinding to a halt on track. After a lengthy pause, David was able to reset the systems and re-start, but had lost several positions – and laps – in the meantime.
Undeterred, David pushed back up to 12th during his double stint before handing over to Karun two hours before the end of the race. Karun was able to regain a further three positions on track and set some quick times to finish fourth in class and ninth overall for valuable championship points.
My stints were actually pretty good. I tried not to push too hard at the start but I was able to stay in touch with the cars in front. I was caught behind the Strakka towards the end of my second stint and even though I was much quicker in the midfield, it was hard to find a way past. I tried to pass through the hairpin and I felt I was alongside him, but we made contact. That’s racing though – I thought the corner was mine at the time. It was then disappointing to lose the time as the strategy would have come to us. The tyres were lasting well and we were very good on fuel strategy so we would have been able to make one less stop and gain track position.
I got in the car and very soon after the safety car came out so I put the car into the safety car mode. When you go on fuel saving mode it can stutter a bit, but I didn’t think too much of it as it sometimes happens, but then the car just stopped. We tried a few things to get it going again and eventually it did, but we had already lost about 12 laps by then. I did my best to make up some positions – the speed was definitely in the car. We’ve been quick over the weekend and we found a good set up so if we can just iron out the last couple of issues we’ll be looking pretty good for the remaining rounds of the championship.
The first hour I was in the car was good fun. I was out in the thick of it with lots of cars around me and we were quick so I was able to overtake and fight my way through. But then we reached a point where it was going to be hard to make up any more positions on track so we started to conserve fuel and try to get past with fewer stops. Overall it’s been a promising weekend and while it’s disappointing not to get the result to show it, there are still plenty of positives.
Nigel Stepney, team manager and chief engineer:
It was a real shame to lose so much time with that problem. When the safety car came out, David engaged the safety car mode, which governs the fuel consumption and the speed. At this stage it seems that a software glitch caused the throttle to stick and the car ground to a halt. After a reset we were able to get the car running again but we had already lost a huge amount of time. It’s disappointing as the first part of the race was incredibly promising and we’ve not had any issues with reliability so far. We’ll just look at everything and make sure it doesn’t happen again so we can capitalise on the improvements we have made.
James Rumsey, team principal:
Despite the issues in the race, again we showed a lot of potential. Our fuel and tyre usage were both excellent and we were setting lap times that were not that far off the Audis and very competitive with the privateer class. Without the issue, we believe we would have finished in fourth overall and best of the privateers with the strategy we were on. But that’s what might have been; we got to the end of the race and picked up some points, which are very valuable in the championship. We would like to extend our congratulations to Toyota on its first win and are delighted to see the championship grow in depth. We now look forward to Bahrain in just two weeks time, where we are hoping for better luck.
(Photo: JRM Racing)