Brundle and Co unable to repeat their Le Mans heroics for Jackie Chan
PUBLISHED: 17:59 14 November 2017
After the elation of a podium place at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, Alex Brundle endured a difficult time in the last three World Endurance Championship races as the season heads towards its climax in Bahrain.
From the heady heights of the French Classic the King’s Lynn racer headed to Austin, Texas via Germany and Mexico, from which he and team-mates in the Jackie Chan DC Racing 37, Tristan Gommendy and David Cheng, could take home only a fifth-place finish.
Gommendy started the race from seventh on the grid before handing over the car in fourth place to local racer Brundle, who continued the progress and put the team into the lead.
The team then adopted a different pit strategy to the rest of the LMP2 field with Cheng getting behind the wheel, but a mid-race safety car period came at the most inopportune time, allowing the rest of the field to catch the 37 car, costing the team a potential podium finish.
“Unfortunately, due to the new rules, and extreme weather, each driver can only drive continuously for a max of 80 minutes. Usually two stints last 90 minutes, meaning we can have seven pit stops, yet because each driver has to take two stints, we had eight pit stops, and lost the podium,” said frustrated team principal Cheng.
The series moved onto Fuji in Japan with the six-hour race truncated due to heavy rain, but the 37 car was stuck in the pits with an electrical issue.
“A difficult race,” said Brundle. “It was nice to get up the grid at the start and run in second for a good while and the car was functioning nicely, but unfortunately not able to complete the race this time. Good job to everyone and we’ll come back stronger in Shanghai.”
With team patron Jackie Chan flagging off the start of the Chinese race, hopes were high for the Brundle-led 37 car – the decision was to save tyres and therefore it started last of the LMP2 runners.
Gommendy started the six-hour event and quickly worked his way up to fourth before handing over to the local racer who, after his double stint, swapped with Cheng. However, the team was struggling after losing time after contact with other cars with Brundle bringing the car home in the final session for eighth place.