Frustration and bad luck at Paul Ricard for Jordan Love29 May 2021 | News |
A weekend of misfortune for Jordan Love and his SPS Automotive Performance teammates ended without reward, as the #40 SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 was plagued with bad luck at Circuit Paul Ricard. A freak incident compromised Jordan’s qualifying run, before lady luck had further input during the 6-hour race which would eventually bring an early end to the team’s efforts.
Jordan arrived at the second endurance event of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup feeling confident, looking to build on a positive opening race at Monza and with knowledge of the circuit following the pre-season test. Indeed, the opening sessions were strong for the silver #40 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Jordan posting the car’s quickest time in first practice and ending the pre-qualifying session in an impressive P6 in the Silver class.
With nearly 50 cars on the grid battling for clear air around the 5.791-kilometre circuit, the 15-minute qualifying sessions were going to present a challenge. Jordan’s teammates Miklas Born and Yannick Mettler ran in the first two sessions with the Perth-born racer taking the final stint, looking to secure a top-10 grid slot. However, while following another car along the high-speed Mistral Straight on his flying lap, a piece of debris made heavy contact with the front end of Jordan’s Mercedes-AMG causing significant damage and limiting visibility. Despite this, Jordan completed the lap before being forced to end the session early, and the combined qualifying laptimes put the #40 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in P13 within the class, P40 overall.
The race saw Jordan take the opening stint, and the 22-year-old made an immediate impression on the 47-car grid, looking to maximise the opportunity from the rolling start. This determination paid off and saw Jordan quickly progress up the order to take 10 places in the opening lap, and firmly in the top-10 of the Silver class within five laps. However, with the pack still battling hard for position, contact between two cars in the leading pack sparked a chain of events which eventually left Jordan nowhere to go and contact was unavoidable, despite his best efforts.
With the #40 now heavily battle-scarred, Jordan remained on track and his pace looked to be unaffected, but a pitstop was required to assess the damage and to carry out repairs. Quick work by the SPS Automotive Performance team got the car patched up and back out on track with Jordan at the wheel, but stopping so early in the race, with the field still running close together meant they had dropped down the order. The following laps looked to have the car back up to speed, with consistently strong sector times. However, further bad luck would follow when Jordan was among a number of drivers to be forced back to the pitlane with a puncture.
Once again, the SPS Automotive Performance team worked to rectify the situation and the car returned to the track, all but out of contention, but with Yannick and Miklas both running well during their stints. The final hammer blow to the team would see Jordan dealt further bad luck with less than 90 minutes remaining, as an issue with a wheel forced the car back to the pitlane for the final time bringing a premature end to the race.
Commenting on the race, Jordan explained: “I am absolutely gutted. It was definitely one of those races where if it could go wrong, it seemed to, unfortunately. After the practice sessions, things were looking good and positive but I was unlucky to take such a heavy impact during qualifying which really compromised the lap and that put us further down the grid than we would have wanted to be as it meant we were in the thick of the action for the race start.
“It was really great to take the opening stint, and I made some good progress over the early laps to move up the order but it was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time when the incident with the Lamborghini unfolded ahead, and I had no way of avoiding it. Initially I thought we might have got away with it and the pace seemed ok, but the repairs were needed and the team did a great job to get the car fixed and back out so quickly. We were then just unlucky with the puncture and then the wheel issue which ended the race for us. Really disappointing to end the race early and not show our true potential, but hopefully we got dealt all our bad luck for the season in this one race!”