Will Stevens scored a third consecutive podium result for JMW Motorsport when the ex-Formula One driver along with fellow Britons Rob Smith and Jody Fannin claimed second position in LM GTE in the final round of the European Le Mans Series at Portimão yesterday (22 Oct).
Their Ferrari 488 finished a little over eight seconds behind the winning car in the Portuguese four-hour race after 129-laps around the undulating 2.78-mile circuit. Will took over the second-placed Ferrari approaching mid-distance after stints by Fannin and Smith but swept in to the class lead for the first time bang on the two-hour mark. Stevens set a searing pace to open up a healthy gap before pitting to Fannin with 63mins remaining but unfortunately, with less than 15mins remaining, he was demoted to second.
It has been a busy year for multi-tasker Stevens, contesting races in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint, Endurance and Asia Cups, the FIA World Endurance Championship, Pirelli World Challenge and ELMS. The former Manor Formula One driver just missed out on winning the Blancpain Sprint title but scored an emphatic GTE-Am class victory at Le Mans this year having finished second in the LMP2 class with JOTA/G-Drive Racing on his Le Mans début 12 months earlier.
Will Stevens (GB): Lives: Surrey, England. Aged 26.
“It would have been nice to get the race win but I’m happy to have contributed to JMW’s championship success – that was the target. I only joined the team for the final two ELMS races and my brief was to try to help them win the GTE title. We started the penultimate race at Spa nine-points down on the series leaders but second there brought JMW to within one-point. Second position yesterday earned them the title by two-points so from my point of view, it’s mission accomplished. I set the second fastest time in qualifying while extra care was needed in the race to not get penalised for track limits. When I got in to the car for my stint, one more violation would have meant a drive-through penalty. So it was difficult for me in having to drive aggressively while at the same time a little cautiously. The Ferrari performed very well throughout the race and I’m delighted for the team.”
Source. Martyn Pass