Jack Manchester and the Thunderhead Carlin Racing team have received an invitation to the 88th Le Mans 24hrs it was announced this evening. The 21-year-old racer, who entered his first season of prototype racing last year, is already a race winner in LMP2 and will be heading to the prestigious event barely 12 months after his European Le Mans Series debut.
Manchester has only just returned to the UK following two stunning races in the Asian Le Mans Series. The Surrey racer started from pole position for the 4hrs of Sepang earlier this month, with an impressive first stint from Manchester and front running pace from team-mates Ben Barnicoat and Harry Tincknell keeping the team in contention into the final stages of the race. A flying final run to the flag by Manchester kept the team in a strong second place on the road, but a technical infringement by the race winners saw Manchester and team claim the victory.
Just a week later Manchester once again led away from pole, with a stunning first stint where he led all the way and resisted pressure in traffic putting team-mate Tincknell in a good position. Another strong stint from Manchester saw him maintain the lead once again and a final flying drive from Barnicoat delivered the team its second win in only a week, meaning the team missed out on the overall Asian Le Mans title by an agonising one point. Manchester and the team were delighted to be awarded “Team of the Year” for its performance in the Asian Le Mans Series by the series, and returned to the UK on a high this week ready to prepare for the European Le Mans Series.
Speaking about the team’s entry, Manchester said, “I’m so excited that the team have been included on the list of invitees for the Le Mans 24hrs. It’s such an incredible and iconic event, with so much history and prestige so it’s amazing to think we will be part of it this year. Of course, when we started our LMP2 programme it was always the aim to race at Le Mans, but to achieve that at the start of our second season in a fantastic achievement.
“We’re incredibly thankful to the ACO for the invitation, Thunderhead for the continued belief and investment in the programme and to Carlin for the progress we’ve made over the last 12 months. No doubt a lot of challenges and hard work lies ahead, but for a young driver such as myself, to be able to line-up for the Le Mans 24hrs is just a dream come true and I will relish every moment of it.”