Zytek makes history with First ever overall podium for a hybrid in Le Mans-style race
The first ever podium place for a hybrid-powered car in a race featuring Le Mans-style prototypes has been scored by Zytek Engineering. All the more impressive is that the history-creating car, the Corsa Motorsports entered Ginetta-Zytek GZ09HS was making its debut in hybrid form.
While others have talked about, and even demonstrated, hybrid Le Mans prototypes, Zytek Engineering is the only manufacturer to have ever raced one. In the late 1990s an early example of Zytek hybrid expertise, the Panoz Q9, successfully raced at Petit Le Mans and also practiced for the Le Mans 24-hours itself.
Now, a modern version of the Zytek technology has been fitted to one of the rapid Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S prototypes for Corsa Motorsports. The customer demonstrated the system in practice for the Utah Grand Prix before choosing to give it is debut at round five of the American Le Mans Series, the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, Connecticut.
The race saw a hectic battle for third place involving the hybrid driven by former Grand Prix driver Stefan Johansson and England’s Johnny Mowlem and a conventionally-powered contender in the LMP1 class. The pair eventually saw off its rival to finish third, beaten by just two of the big-budget, factory backed Acuras. The car showed impressive pace, often running as the second quickest LMP1 design despite sustaining damage to the front bodywork and dive planes early on in the race.
An euphoric Corsa team boss Steve Pruitt even went as far as to say that, for him, the podium was an achievement to match the Apollo mission to the Moon, the 40th anniversary of which was to take place the next day. History will now record that Zytek Engineering not only beat the major vehicle manufacturers to the tracks with a hybrid prototype but did so with a magnificent result.
Zytek race systems development engineer Pete May observed at the circuit the “massive interest that the whole project has generated. We should all feel extremely proud that, on its first event as a hybrid, a Zytek car has scored a finish and a first ever podium position.”
“This result is a truly outstanding achievement and it is a great credit to all the staff at Zytek Engineering. Without their hard work and dedication this would not have been possible,” said operations director John Manchester. “Our congratulations also go to Corsa Motorsports and all those involved at Lime Rock for such an historic result. The interest from this remarkable accomplishment is something on which Zytek
Engineering very much intends to capitalize.”