The final round of the 2014 European Le Mans Series took place this weekend at the Circuito Estoril, located just outside the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. Greaves Motorsport’s two Nissan-powered Zytek LM P2 prototypes both ran strongly during the race but the results did not ultimately reflect their pace, with one car finishing seventh, while the other retired in the last ten minutes of the four hour race.
#28 Starting from seventh place on the grid the Russian driver, Mark Shulzhitskiy, a graduate of the GT Academy, put in a great performance in his first stint rising up the order to a comfortable third place before becoming involved in an incident while lapping a group of GT cars. As a result his car sustained damage to the suspension and aerodynamics which took the excellent Greaves Motorsport pit crew three laps to repair. In such a high quality and competitive field it would not be possible to make up this deficit. This did not deter Mark’s co-driver, Luciano Bacheta, who ran a double stint at race leaders’ pace. Shulzhitskiy took over for the final two stints on the way to the finish, running at a similar speed but was forced to pit and retire in the final ten minutes of the race as a further consequence of the accident damage sustained in the first stint.
#41 Matt McMurry took on the role of ‘senior pro’ in the other Greaves Motorsport entry, an unusual position for a 16 year old to find himself in, but he was sharing the car with two LM P2 débutants, Miguel Faisca and James Fletcher. Matt qualified the car and drove the opening stints, gaining places along the way. Miguel Faisca, another graduate of the GT Academy, was next in and the popular local boy acquitted himself well, showing pace and maturity beyond his racing record. James Fletcher also showed his natural speed in his first experience of a prototype bringing the car home in seventh place.
Team Principal Tim Greaves: “The European Le Mans Series in 2014 is a flat out sprint for four hours with more than half a dozen potential winners, this a tribute to the organisers who have created a high quality and competitive race series that promises much for 2015 and beyond.”
“Mark drove a great first stint in #28 until getting involved in a racing incident and Luciano showed race winning speed and a podium would have been within reach without the early problem. It was disappointing to retire so late in the race but that is motor sport.”
“Our three youngsters in #41 hardly put a foot wrong during the race and proved that they are all worthy of a place in this top quality field. We will take a deep breath now over the winter and return in 2015 challenging for the top spot once again.”
Team Manager Jacob Greaves: “A mixed race for the team but we will bounce back. Our partners, Zytek, Nissan and Dunlop all made their usual significant contributions and the guys working in the garage displayed their amazing skills to get the #28 back out on track with minimal delay. We are looking forward to next season and getting back to the top step of the podium.”