Brian Joss – History was made at Shanghai for the third round of the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) where Goodyear took their first win since returning to international motorsport this season.
The Jota Sport Oreca of Roberto Gonzales, Anthony Davidson and Antonio Felix da Costa won after a race-long battle with its sister Goodyear-shod Jackie Chan DC Racing car of Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Will Stevens. The Jota Sport triumph marked the first Goodyear win in an FIA World Championship race since Michael Schumacher and Ferrari in the 1998 Italian Grand Prix.
The four-hour race got off to a flying start with a stunning getaway from Will Stevens which was the launchpad for a successful lead pass at turn three. Significantly, as the top-class LMP1 cars struggled to get heat into their tyres, Stevens was able to use the quick warm-up characteristics of his Goodyear tyres to pass both the Le Mans 24h overall winning Toyota Hybrid and pole-winning Rebellion and hold off the more powerful cars for two laps.
Not to be outdone, Davidson made a similar move on lap two to move into third place. Davidson and Stevens were the stars of the first stint, with both former Formula One drivers setting the pace around the 5.4km circuit.
At the 45-minute mark, Davidson made it a Goodyear one-two.
After the first stint, Stevens praised the tyre performance: “With us running one-two, the Goodyear tyre looks very strong. We’ve been quick over one lap and our long run pace looks good too.” His pace was underlined by setting the fastest lap of the race (1:52.213).
At the half-distance mark, Gonzalez consolidated the lead for the Jota car with local hero Tung following closely, having taken over the Jackie Chan car. Tung also complimented the Goodyear performance: “The Goodyear tyres, new for this season, are doing really well as proven by both us and the sister Jota car leading.”
Shortly after, the top three became all-Goodyear as the High Class Racing team moved into a potential podium position with Mark Patterson showing impressive consistency alongside teammates Anders Fjordbach and Kenta Yamashita.
For the final hour showdown, the battle between the Jackie Chan and Jota cars continued. When Aubry made his late fuel stop, Felix da Costa surged into the lead to secure victory.
Mike McGregor, Goodyear Manager, Race Sales, Testing & Track Support, said:
“It’s been a tremendous multinational team effort to bring Goodyear back to international motorsport. After our podium in our second race last month at Fuji, it’s brilliant to build on that with a one-two. Thanks to our partners at Jota Sport for giving us the opportunity to partner with them in our first year back at World Championship level.” The next race is in Bahrain on December 14.
CAPTION: Making history: the Jota Sport Oreca driven by Roberto Gonzales, Anthony Davidson and Antonio Felix da Costa. Picture: Quickpic