Season finale yields further bad luck for Manchester

It was a season finale to forget for British racer Jack Manchester as the 2019 European Le Mans Series came to a dramatic conclusion this weekend in Portugal. Despite pace having looked good for Manchester in his Thunderhead Carlin Racing Dallara P217, he was caught up in a big accident after being tapped into a spin which took him out of the race on the opening lap.

Feeling more than ready for the final round in the ELMS championship, Manchester returned to the European Le Mans Series after an enforced break following a heavy impact at the Silverstone round at the end of August caused by a brake failure.  Following sign-off by spinal specialists that it was safe to race again, Manchester took advantage of a full day of testing on Wednesday in Portimao before the weekend got underway in earnest on Friday.

The practice sessions on both Friday and Saturday showed fantastic pace from the Thunderhead Carlin Racing car. Manchester was able to re-familiarise himself with the new Dallara chassis and working alongside Harry Tincknell and Ben Barnicoat the team were positive ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session.  Despite strong pace earlier in the day, the team lost out slightly with traffic and a yellow flag, with Tincknell qualifying the car 9th ahead of Manchester taking the race start on Sunday. 

As the rolling start launched to mark the start of the 4 Hours of Portimao, Manchester did well to hold position around the first few corners until he was tapped into a spin at turn five.  A passenger at this point, Manchester was turned around and unable to gain control as he spun in the middle of the track – unfortunately being collected by several cars in the following field.

Manchester was taken to the medical centre – along with two other drivers - and onwards to a local hospital where he was carefully assessed and his injury from Silverstone taken into consideration to check for any aggravation to the area. After care from the doctors, Manchester was released a short while later. ­

“This wasn’t the way that we wanted to end our season racing in Europe. Luck really isn’t on my side at the moment."

Manchester continued, "I was tapped into a spin on lap one and was a passenger from then on. My thoughts are very much with the other drivers involved and I hope everyone is back on track soon.

“I know that the team and I will come back strong after this and our focus is already now turned towards the Asian Le Mans Series and our next race in Shanghai. But for now, thanks to everyone in the European Le Mans Series for a great season and championship.”

Manchester will now turn his attention to his debut in the Asian Le Mans Series which takes place in Shanghai 22nd – 24th November.