ELMS 2016 Season Review – A bitter finale for JMW Motorsport

26 December 2016

ELMS 2016 Season Review – A bitter finale for JMW Motorsport

Maranello, 26 December 2016 – The 2016 European Le Mans Series season was one of regrets for JMW Motorsport. Indeed, the No. 66 458 Italia GTE of the British team was by far the best car on the track but due to carelessness and a huge dose of bad luck the team and its drivers Rory Butcher, Robert Smith and Andrea Bertolini missed out on the title. They made their mistake at Silverstone when the car, after winning the 4 Hours that ushered in the season, was disqualified for mounting a front spoiler that had not been approved for that race.

 

Comeback. The team made up for the carelessness of that race with victories in the later stages of the championship. After a second place at Imola, Bertolini, Butcher and Smith dominated in Austria, at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet and the 4 Hours of Spa- Francorchamps, arriving for the final round at Estoril with a 20-point lead over the Aston Martin of Alex MacDowall, Andrew Howard and Darren Turner. They just needed to finish to seal the title, even if their rivals won.

 

Everything wrong. However, everything went wrong. Before mid-race car no. 66 suffered gear problems, which forced it into the pits for about half an hour. Then on its first lap back on track an out of control prototype smashed into the car driven by Smith, forcing it to retire. The race went to MacDowall, Howard and Turner who won the title. Second place for JMW Motorsport nevertheless earned it the right to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans of 2017.