2015 4 Hours of Estoril
Greaves Motorsport Secured by Kairos Technologies are European Champions
Greaves Motorsport Secured by Kairos Technologies took a fighting second place today at the 4 Hours of Estoril, the final round of the 2015 European Le Mans Series. The points earned from that fine result means that Greaves Motorsport Secured by Kairos Technologies are this season’s Team Champions and Gary Hirsch, Jon Lancaster and Björn Wirdheim take the Drivers Title.
The 4 Hours of Estoril was a race filled with incidents from start to finish and the result was hard earned by the whole team, overcoming several obstacles to their title aspirations. Jon Lancaster posted the second fastest time during Qualifying but on a subsequent lap Jon was adjudged to have slowed insufficiently in a Yellow Flag Caution Zone. The team received an eight place penalty on the grid as a result, making their task of winning the titles even harder.
Björn Wirdheim drove the opening stint in the team’s Nissan-powered Gibson 015S prototype and skillfully avoided spinning cars on the first corner. Björn steadily worked his way up to the leaders handing the car over in third place.
Gary Hirsch was next in and faced conditions that, at times, were as difficult and challenging as can be imagined, with monsoon-like deluges flooding the track causing many competitors to lose control. Gary continued with his team-mate’s good work taking the lead before his first pit stop. The weather continued to be treacherous but Gary coped well handing the car over to Jon Lancaster for the run to the Chequered Flag.
Jon had the situation under control but the Officials noticed that on his final pit-stop Gary had released his safety harness prematurely, in contravention of the regulations. The Stewards imposed a Stop and Go Penalty that the team elected to serve immediately. Jon got the car back on track with just enough time to spare and drove on to the finish, crossing the line after four hours of non-stop action, scoring enough points to secure both the titles.
Tim Greaves, Team Principal: “What a day, what a race. This championship win, our second, was amazing, I don’t think any other team has matched that achievement. We had our up and downs, any of the three top teams could have won it, things really went down to the wire. With about 20 minutes to go I didn’t know where I was, we struggled to think straight on the pit-wall. That demonstrates that were were emotionally involved and stressed, we had a few run-ins with the Official but… What it means to the team is that we are back up where we belong, we have won races, we have won at Le Mans and now we have another championship.”
“Björn, Gary and Jon stuck to the plan we had before the race and we all coped well with the changing and challenging conditions. The guys on the team were particularly sharp today at the pit stops, the reward for the hard work and practice in the run up to the race. We are looking forward to a light celebration tonight and then planning our 2016 campaign.”
Jacob Greaves, Team Manager: “A great way to round off a great season. What a race that was, keeping us all in suspense till the final lap, but we did it, our second title. For this we have to thank our partners, Gibson Technology, Nissan, Dunlop and Kairos Technologies who have given us the platform to build this success. I must pay particular tribute to the guys on the team, their pit-work today was fantastic. Björn, Gary and Jon drove really well in very difficult circumstances, Paul Thomas did another great job today engineering the car. Greaves Motorsport is both a team and a family, today we saw how those qualities were rewarded with success, I hope we will continue with this in the future.”
Jon Lancaster: “Well we did it! What an amazing season, I was told this was endurance racing, but the whole season has been a sprint. Each race has come right down to the wire just like the championship did. The weekend in Estoril I will never forget, so much talk about the weather, which didn’t disappoint either. The team had worked so hard from the previous race on our pit stops and they really made such a difference in Estoril. We had a rather dubious penalty given to us in qualifying that had taken us from P2 to starting last in the LMP2 grid, even though I had to bail on my final attempt due to yellow flags after going quickest in the first two sectors. But this honestly gave us some fire in the belly to attack, and both Bjorn and Gary did just that! I was handed the car in P2 which was enough for the championship, so I was in tyre save mode. Then out of the blue another suspect penalty for Gary loosening his belts (which everyone does, all the time) gave us a stop and go penalty, so I had to push and push hard! From then I was doing qualifying laps every lap, the pit wall was quiet, I assumed we had dropped to P3 and out of the championship. Little did I know I had done enough to hold on to p2 and after being distraught on the in lap, I was told the news, we are Champions! Such a incredible feeling after a dramatic race. Team Greaves were flawless and I cannot thank them enough for this opportunity. It was a tight season with Jota and TDS but we stood strongest when it counted. The guys from Kairos Technologies, Dunlop, Nissan and my personal sponsors have been so supportive this season, so a huge thank you to them too. It was also a very emotional weekend for myself and my family, as the Sunday 18th October was also the 5th anniversary of my brothers accident, so for me he was looking down helping out and this championship is for him.”