Jota Sport is a British sports car racing team. Founded as Team Jota by Sam Hignett and John Stack, Jota Sport is part of the Jota Group which is owned by Sam Hignett, Simon Dolan and David Clark. The team is based in the Kent countryside. Jota Sport has finished on the overall podium of 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans with two Oreca in an alliance with Jackie Chan DC Racing. In 2018/2019 Jota competed, in partnership with Arden International, RP Motorsport, Jackie Chan DC Racing and Aston Martin in the FIA World Endurance Championship with two ORECA 07 LMP2 and in the Blancpain Endurance Series with two Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 cars.
Started in 2000 by, then university student in materials engineering, Sam Hignett and racing driver John Stack, Team Jota's first car was a Honda Integra built specifically for endurance racing. That year the team competed at 24 Hours Nürburgring and Spa 24 Hours. The following year, the team raced in the Renault Clio V6 Trophy as well as taking the Honda Integra to 24 Hours Nürburgring for a second year. In 2002, they bought an SR2 class Pilbeam to compete in the FIA Sportscar Championship, finishing second overall in the SR2 championship; their second year with the Pilbeam saw them finish third.
In 2004, Team Jota purchased Zytek’s very first car (Zytek 04S), starting a relationship with the engineering company that still exists today. Gianni Collini joined Hignett and Stack to drive the Zytek in the Le Mans Endurance Series where they finished 6th overall in the championship.
Team Jota competed in the Le Mans Endurance Series again in 2005 with the Zytek 04S, achieving another sixth overall result in the championship. This was the first year they also competed at Le Mans 24 Hours where they didn't finish due to an accident on track, but held fifth place up until hour 22. In addition to Hignett and Stack, Haruki Kurosawa, Gregor Fisken, Sam Hancock and Jason Tahincioglu drove for the team during the season.
During 2006, Team Jota ran the Zytek factory team in the newly named Le Mans Series, the Le Mans 24 Hours and the final two rounds of the American Le Mans Series which included Petit Le Mans and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The final result for the Le Mans Series was fifth overall. The team finished 24th overall at Le Mans 24 Hours and fifth in their class. Petit Le Mans saw a second place overall for the factory team with a seventh place overall at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with the car driven by Stefan Johansson and Johnny Mowlem.
In 2007, the team ran a Lola-Judd LMP1 for Charouz Racing Systems which was Charouz's first venture into endurance racing. The team finished fifth in the series with drivers Jan Charouz and Stefan Mucke, and fifth in class, eighth overall in the Le Mans 24 Hours with Alex Young joining the team. Team Jota again competed in the final two rounds of the American Le Mans Series for Zytek, finishing fourth overall and third in the LMP2 class at Petit Le Mans with drivers Danny Watts, Stefan Mucke and Jan Charouz.
This year saw the introduction of the Jota Sport brand in partnership with Simon Dolan and Sam Hancock, with the team competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. Hancock drove for the team along with Phil Quaife and between them they achieved five pole positions and three race wins earning them a second-place finish in the championship. Team Jota continued with sportscar racing and ran the Corsa Motorsports LMP1 Zytek in the American Le Mans Series as well as the ex-Charouz Lola-Judd at the Le Mans 24 Hours with CytoSport (Muscle Milk). The car driven by Greg Pickett, Klaus Graf and Jan Lammers was a non finisher due to engine failure. Simon Dolan had his racing debut and first race win in April of this year at Snetterton in a Radical.
The brand Team Jota was retired in 2009 and Jota Sport ran the newly developed Ligier JS49 prototype in the European V de V Sports Championship, Challenge Endurance Proto and the UK Speed Series. Hancock and Dolan drove the car this season achieving third overall in the UK Speed Series and 24th overall in the V de V Championship. The team also ran a Juno SSE in the V de V Championship which was driven by Ollie Hancock and Chris Cappuccini who finished 16th in the championship. Johansson and Mowlem drove the Corsa Motorsports LMP1 Zytek in the American Le Mans Series again this year, their best result was a third place at Lime Rock.
The team ran the Ligier JS49 for a second year in the European V de V Championship and the UK Speed Series, taking three first places over the season across both championships. This year saw the team become an Official Partner Team to Aston Martin Racing competing with a GT4 Aston Martin in the Spa 24 Hours and Britcar Silverstone 24 Hours where they took a first in class and second in class respectively. Mazda UK also commissioned Jota to run their MX-5 sports cars to celebrate the car's 21st anniversary. The cars were driven by six journalists at endurance races at Snetterton and Silverstone.
With Aston Martin, the team competed in the Le Mans Series with a V8 Vantage GT2 car in the GTE Pro class. Dolan and Hancock were joined by Chris Buncombe for the 6 hours of Silverstone and again when the team took part in the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours. The team's highest placing during the Le Mans Series Championship was fifth in class at Spa-Francorchamps and Estoril, with a DNF at Le Mans 24 Hours. Jota Sport was commissioned by Mazda to create a GT4 version of the MX-5 to compete in the Britcar Dunlop Production GTN Championship. The result for the season was seventh overall with Mark Ticehurst and Owen Mildenhall driving.
Jota returned to the European Le Mans Series with the LMP2 Zytek Z11SN Nissan and also competed at the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Spa-Francorchamps round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The team achieved a class win at Spa but failed to finish the Le Mans 24 hours after retiring nearly 20 hours in. Jota ran the Mazda MX-5 GT4 in the British GT Championship in 2012, again with Ticehurst and Mildenhall driving with the best result of the season a third in class at Brands Hatch.
The team continued in the European Le Mans Series with the LMP2 Zytek Z11SN Nissan with a class win at Silverstone and finishing third overall in the championship. In the Le Mans 24 Hours they finished seventh in class with the Zytek, which was thirteenth overall.
Jota Sport's third consecutive year running the LMP2 Zytek Z11SN Nissan saw a class win and fifth overall at the Le Mans 24 Hours, and a first, second and third in the European Le Mans Series which secured them second place in class in the championship. They were also commissioned by Mazda Motor Corporation to design, build and run a V4 category MX-5 for the Nurburgring 24 hours. Driven by Teruaki Kato, Stefan Johansson, Mildenhall and Wolfgang Kaufmann the car did not finish due to accident damage.
For the 2015 season, the Zytek car had a change of name and model; the new car was a Nissan Nismo powered Gibson 015S LMP2 class, which again competed in the European Le Mans Series. Jota Sport ended the year with a third place in the European Le Mans Series, achieving a first, second and two third places during the Championship, as well as a first in class, ninth overall at the FIA World Endurance Championship race at Spa-Francorchamps. The Le Mans 24 Hours saw the team finish second in class and tenth overall.
At the beginning of the 2016 season, JOTA Sport announced a landmark sponsorship deal with Russian energy company, Gazprom. As part of the sponsorship, Gazprom obtained the naming rights for JOTA Sport, so they competed as G-Drive during the 2016 FIA WEC and European Le Mans Series.
In the 2016 European Le Mans Series, JOTA Sport raced a Gibson 015S, whilst in the 2016 FIA WEC, the team competed in an Oreca 05. The ELMS car was raced by Simon Dolan, Giedo van der Garde and Harry Tincknell. For Rounds 2 and 3 of the FIA WEC season, the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and 24 Hours of Le Mans respectively, Jake Dennis replaced Tincknell. Roman Rusinov, Nathanael Berthon and Rene Rast were announced as the driver line up for the 2016 FIA WEC season. In June 2016, JOTA Sport announced that the team had parted company with Berthon. Will Stevens replaced Berthon for Round 3 of the 2016 FIA WEC Championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In 2017, Jota Sport joined forces with Jackie Chan DC Racing to run two Oreca 07 LMP2 cars in the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship. Car 37 was driven by Jackie Chan DC Racing founder, David Cheng, ELMS LMP3 2016 champion, Alex Brundle and Frenchman Tristan Gommendy. Car 38 was driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent.
2018 saw a second year partnering with Jackie Chan DC Racing for a larger than normal race calendar of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Again running two Oreca 07 LMP2 cars with Gibson Technology 4.2 V8 engines. Car 37 was driven by David Heinemeier Hansson, Will Stevens and Jordan King. Car 38 was driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry. The WEC calendar covered 13 months to move the championship to a winter schedule with car 38 finishing second in the championship and car 37 taking third. Car 37 took 8th place overall at Le Mans 24 Hours 2018 but failed to finish in the 2019 event due to a gear box problem . Car 38 claimed 10th place in Le Mans in 2018 and 7th in 2019.
24 Hours of Le Mans resultsEdit
- "JOTA Sport Recruitment"
- "JACKIE CHAN DC RACING AND JOTA SPORT COMBINE FOR 2017 FIA WEC-CAMPAIGN" Jota Sport Official Website. Retrieved 12 April 2017
- "Team CV" Archived 2016-03-17 at Archive.today Race results from Jota Sport Official Website. Retrieved August 2015
- "Doing It Differently" E-magazine dailysportscar.com, 22 November 2004. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- "Jota Sport - AMR Partner" Aston Martin Racing website, Jota Sport Team Highlights for 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2015
- "Mazda MX-5 GT Race Car (2011)" NetCarShow.com, unknown publish date. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
- "A colourful season for a successfully re-launched series" European Le Mans Series website. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- "Le Mans 24 Hours: Harry Tincknell wins class for JOTA Sport" BBC Sport, 16 June 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- "European endurance racing continues upward trend" European Le Mans Series website. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- "Zytek Engineering Change Company Name" Gibson Technology, press release 20 August 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2015
- "European Le Mans Series 2015 Entrants" European Le Mans Series website. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- "Paul Ricard European Le Mans: Jota Sport extends lead with win" Autosport, 6 September 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- "Final Classification - 24 Hours Le Mans 2015" 24 Hours Le Mans website, 14 June 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- "JOTA Sport Announces Partnership With Gazprom Neft" fiawec.com
- "How Motor Racing is Dependent on Technology" Technojobs.co.uk. Retrieved 26 February 2016
- "Jota Sport Reveals G-Drive Racing WEC Effort" dailysportscar.com, 3 February 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
- "Ex-F1 driver Will Stevens moves from Manor to G-Drive for Le Mans" autosport.com
- "G-Drive LMP2 team signs Alex Brundle for rest of WEC season" autosport.com
- "JACKIE CHAN DC RACING ANNOUNCES FORMIDABLE LINE-UP FOR 2017 FIA WEC ASSAULT" Jota Sport Official Website. Retrieved 12 April 2017
- "JOTA CONTINUE LE MANS PODIUM RUN AND CLINCH RUNNERS-UP IN FIA WEC SUPER SEASON" Jota Sport Official Website. Retrieved 1 July 2019