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Jota's first Le Mans car to return to competition

The Jota Porsche World Endurance Championship team’s first Le Mans 24 Hours car is returning to the track following a full restoration to its original specification.

Zytek-SMP_6007

The Zytek 04S LMP1 the British squad fielded at Le Mans in 2005, the start of a career at the French enduro that included 10 LMP2 class podiums before its graduation to Hypercar with the Porsche 963 last year, has been purchased by historic racing regular Jamie Constable.

He plans an attack on the Peter Auto Endurance Racing Legends series and will race the car for the first time this weekend in the Masters Endurance Legends event on the Historic French Grand Prix bill at Paul Ricard to prepare for that campaign. 

The Zytek has been returned to 2005-spec by Aaron Scott’s Scott Sport organisation after being sourced from the USA by the Ascott Collection’s Xavier Micheron. 

Jota sold the Zytek to the Creation Autosportif squad, which converted the car into what was called the Creation CA06/H with a Judd V10 in place of the original Zytek V8 for 2007. 

Its restoration has included the fitting of a brand new 3.4-litre Zytek V8 and the sourcing of a rear tail section that Jota boss Sam Hignett had mounted on a wall as an ornament. 

The rebuilt car was given a shakedown at Silverstone last week by Constable and Scott in preparation for its competition return at Ricard this weekend. 

“The feel you get is amazing,” Constable told Autosport. 

The Jota Zytek 04S LMP1

The Jota Zytek 04S LMP1

Photo by: JEP

“It’s so light and nimble; it’s like a big Radical.

“I couldn’t get my head around how quick it went around Copse and Becketts.”

Constable revealed that he had been looking for one of the limited number of 04S Zyteks built for some time on the recommendation of former MG factory driver Warren Hughes, who advises him on set-up. 

“I asked Warren what the best car for the Peter Auto series, which has a 2005 cut-off [for prototypes], would be and straight away he said the Zytek - he knew how good it was because he raced against it," explained Constable, who competes with a 2011 OAK Pescarolo-Judd 01 in the Masters series. 

“I knew this car was out there in the USA somewhere but I couldn’t find it. 

“Then at the Silverstone Classic last year Xavier told me he had it, and I bought it blind — he was surprised I didn’t want to see it first!”

The car will be run by Martin O’Connell’s OC Racing operation, which looks after the Constable fleet including the Tyrrell 011 and Shadow DN8 Cosworth-powered Formula 1 cars he will race at the Historic Monaco Grand Prix next month. 

Constable outlined an ambition to compete in the Le Mans Classic next year with the Zytek.

Sam Hignett (GBR) Team Jota Zytek 04S Zytek finished in 5th place.Le Mans Endurance Series, Rd4, Spa 1000km, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. 12 September 2004.DIGITAL IMAGE

Sam Hignett (GBR) Team Jota Zytek 04S Zytek finished in 5th place.Le Mans Endurance Series, Rd4, Spa 1000km, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. 12 September 2004.DIGITAL IMAGE

Photo by: Sutton Images

“One of my aims is to take the car back to Le Mans — I’m sure the car will be amazing around there,” he said. 

Constable’s Zytek is 04S chassis #02, the first car the engine specialist, now known as Gibson Engineering, built after taking over the rights of a design that started out as the Reynard 02S LMP675. 

Jota first raced the car in the 2004 Le Mans Endurance Series and continued into 2005, the year it first landed a Le Mans entry, with Hignett, fellow team co-founder John Stack and Haruki Kurosawa driving.

The first chassis built at Reynard took chassis number #01 and raced as an IRM and a DBA4 with Le Mans 24 Hours winner John Nielsen's RN Motorsport squad after the British racing car constructor closed its doors early in 2002. 

It was then sold to Creation and subsequently reworked into the CA06/H for 2006. 

When the team decided to expand to two entries, it purchased the Jota car to undertake the same conversion.

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