With four race wins and a podium finish, JD Classics yet again lived up to its reputation as one of the best historic racing outfits in the world at this weekend’s Le Mans Classic. The team’s Lotus Elite, driven by John Young, also won overall victory in Plateau 3 based on the Index of Performance; a handicap system that takes into account the relative performance of the grid.
JD Classics entered six cars, with three of those in Plateau 2: the legendary ex-Fangio Jaguar C-Type, an Austin Healey 100S and a Jaguar XK120. In the Plateau 2 qualifying session it was Chris Ward in the C-Type who shone brightest, with a time quick enough for second position. The team’s Austin Healey – driven by John Young – and the XK120 of Andrew Smith qualified in 13th and 14th places respectively in the 76-car field.
As the first Plateau 2 race began on Saturday, the JD Classics’ second-position C-Type made an excellent start, running level with the pole-sitting D-Type at the very first corner. Unfortunately, shortly afterwards an issue with the C-Type forced it into the pits, and eventually to retire from the race. The JD Classics XK120 was running strongly making its way from 13th to 7th – and first in its class – but a five-minute penalty eventually classified the car in 18th position.
But it was the second race of Plateau 2 – run at night – that provided the most incredible racing of the weekend. Having not finished the first race, the C-Type was forced to start from the back of the grid, and in the first lap alone, Chris Ward put in an incredible display of driving to rise 66 places to 10th – by lap four it was in third. Following a hold-up in the pitlane – and with just a few minutes of the race remaining – the C-Type surged past the leading D-Type to claim victory by 3.2 seconds. The team’s XK120 also crossed the finish line in an impressive 8th position.
The final Plateau 2 race of the weekend was on Sunday morning, where the C-Type battled to keep up with the incredible straight-line speed of the leading D-Type. Nevertheless, Chris Ward managed an excellent 2ndplace finish, with John Young in the Austin Healey finishing in 7th and Andrew Smith in the XK120 in 10th.
In Plateau 3, the team’s remaining entries took to the track. Chris Ward and John Young were racing once more, taking the wheel of the Costin Lister and Lotus Elite, respectively, while JD Classics MD Derek Hood drove the Lister Knobbly. It was Ward that impressed again, setting an incredible pole position time that was 4.7 seconds faster than any other in just four laps. The Lotus Elite qualified in the top half of the field despite a late start, and the team’s Lister Knobbly managed 25th despite an oil tank leak that led to its retirement after just three laps.
The first race of Plateau 3 saw the JD Classics Costin Lister lead the pack until the cars made it to the Mulsanne straight, where it was forced into second position by a Maserati T63 Birdcage. When it pitted, the Costin was fourth but as it rejoined the race, Ward quickly surged past the cars ahead, cutting the Maserati’s lead to just four seconds as the final lap began. With just four corners remaining, the JD Classics Costin Lister snatched victory, finishing ahead of the pack by just 0.5 seconds. The team’s Lotus Elite held a respectable 19th position, as the Lister Knobbly charged to a tenth place finish.
Another incredible performance for the team’s entries in the second race of Plateau 3 saw the Costin Lister come out on top in a closely fought battle to claim its second victory of the weekend, and the third for JD Classics. Climbing nine places, the Lister Knobbly of JD Classics MD Derek Hood, finished 16th and John Young made up 13 places in the Lotus Elite to finish 20th.
With three victories already under their belt, the final race of Plateau 3 began, with the JD Classics team chasing yet another win. The Costin Lister was leading the race when a broken bonnet catch forced it into the pits. Rejoining the race in third, the Costin quickly powered back into the lead in just a few laps, with incredible pace that included a fastest lap of the race. Ward’s pace in the Costin continued to the end of the race, eventually finishing eight seconds clear of the pack. The team’s Lister Knobbly surged to an excellent 13th place finish.
All weekend the Lotus Elite of John Young had been putting in incredible performances against cars with much more power and speed – so much so that it finished top of the Index of Performance; a kind of handicap system.
JD Classics MD, Derek Hood, said: “We have got arguably the finest pitlane technical team in the whole historic racing world, and we prove that over and over again with results like this. The team have been working tirelessly on these cars for months at our race workshop in Maldon, and I’m amazed once more at what they’re capable of. Four race wins and a podium from our six races is an amazing result and one that I’m incredibly proud of.
“To top off what was an already an excellent weekend, we met with many JD Classics customers – old and new – in our hospitality lounge above the pitlane. Le Mans Classic is one of the greatest historic racing events in the world, and we’re privileged to be a main sponsor.”
Source. JD Classics