Jota Sport to race full FIA WEC season in 2016

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Jota Sport has announced that it will compete in the full FIA World Endurance Championship season in 2016 with an Oreca LMP2 car.

Jota currently focuses its endurance racing endeavors on the European Le Mans Series, only taking part in select rounds of the WEC.

In 2015, the team’s Gibson-Nissan car won the LMP2 class at the 6 Hours of Spa before finishing second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

However, Jota Sport will now expand its WEC commitment to the full 2016 campaign, as confirmed in a statement on Friday.

“Jota Sport will contest the FIA World Endurance Championship with an ORECA 05-Nissan while continuing to compete in the European Le Mans Series with its venerable Gibson-Nissan next year,” it reads.

“2016 marks the first year that the British team will contest a full WEC season although it has already enjoyed considerable success in the championship.”

Team owner and driver Simon Dolan is confident that Jota Sport can maintain its good form from its occasional appearances across the full WEC season, targeting the LMP2 title in 2016.

“I am obviously very excited for Jota Sport to be competing in the 2016 WEC,” Dolan said. “We have proven over the last three years with our WEC wins at Le Mans and Spa that we will be immediately fighting for race wins while the LMP2 championship title is definitely our aim and within our grasp.

“We have been looking very closely at various chassis and I’m delighted to announce our partnership with Oreca.

“We have been very impressed with the ORECA 05 having raced against one all season in both WEC and ELMS races. It was quick straight out of the box and just as importantly, has shown remarkable reliability.

“I am confident that we have chosen the best chassis for 2016 and beyond in to the new regulations.”

Jota Sport raced at Spa and Le Mans with Dolan and ex-GP3 champion Mitch Evans, whilst Nissan’s Harry Ticknell and Formula E driver Oliver Turvey filled the third seat for one race each.

With Evans working closely with Porsche LMP1 driver Mark Webber, Jota’s commitment to a full season could offer him an opportunity to move full-time into sportscar racing from GP2.

Regardless, the presence of another team in LMP2 is only set to strengthen the class ahead of its regulation change in 2017.

March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

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