Simon Dolan is a British businessman and racing driver whose greatest motorsport result is the LMP2 class victory at the 2014 24 hours of Le Mans. He participated at Le Mans six times, scoring one more LMP2 podium in 2015. A year later, in 2016, he was the European Le Mans Series champion.
Outside of racing, Dolan is most known as an entrepreneur who built up his business empire after leaving school at the age 16. In 2010, he published an autobiographical book „How To Make Millions Without A Degree: And How to Get by Even If You Have One“.
Simon fell in love with racing after visiting Le Mans
Simon Dolan was born on May 20, 1969. At the age 23, he established his first company SJD Accountancy. Year by year, his business was growing and he became a multimillionaire, being involved in aviation, publishing, recruitment, lifestyle products and many other activities.
Dolan showed initial interest into motorsport in 2006, hiring ex-Aston Martin works driver Sam Hancock to teach him some skills at the race track. A year later, they went together as spectators at 24 hours of Le Mans. Dolan fell in love with racing and expressed a wish to compete at Le Mans too.
Dolan invested into Team Jota in 2008
He made the first step in 2008, including Team Jota (established in 2000) to his business portfolio and creating the brand Jota Sport. While the team was contesting in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Dolan's first race car was a Radical. He participated in the Radical UK Cup, claiming his first win at Snetterton. In 2009, Dolan competed in the SPEED UK Series and European V de V Series, driving a newly developed Ligier JS49 prototype.
Class victory at 24h Spa with Aston Martin
For the 2010 season, a major deal was made with Aston Martin and Jota Sport became an official partner of the famous British manufacturer. They competed with Aston Martin Vantage GT4s at 24-hour races at Spa and Silverstone. At Spa, the #59 Aston Martin won the GT4 class, driven by Simon Dolan, Sam Hancock, Joe Twyman and Roger Wills. At Silverstone, they were 5th overall and second in the class.
Le Mans 24h debut in 2011
In 2011, Dolan was participating in the Le Mans Series with Aston Martin Vantage GT2, sharing a car with Sam Hancock. After five races, the team finished seventh in the GTE-Pro standings. Dolan and Hancock were sharing the 8th place in drivers' classification.
In June 2011, Dolan's dream became true. He came to Le Mans as a contestant, sharing the #79 Aston Martin Vantage GT2 with Sam Hancock and Chris Buncombe. They didn't finish the race, retiring after 74 laps.
2012 - double program in WEC and ELMS
In 2012, the FIA World Endurance Championship was revived and Jota Sport participated in several races with Nissan-powered Zytek Z11SN LMP2 prototype. At 6 hours of Spa, Sam Hancock and Simon Dolan took the class victory. In the next race, at Le Mans, the third driver was Haruki Kurosawa. Unfortunately, after almost 20 hours of racing, they retired. The team also competed in the European Le Mans Series with the same prototype, but without any notable results.
Third overall in the 2013 ELMS classification
Simon Dolan had the similar program in 2013, with two WEC races and five races in the European Le Mans Series. Dolan’s co-driver during the season was Oliver Turvey. At Le Mans and Spa, they were joined by Lucas Luhr. They finished 13th overall and 7th in LMP2 class at Le Mans. At 6 Hours of Spa, Jota Sport trio finished 3rd in class.
In the 2013 European Le Mans Championship, Jota Sport’s duo Dolan/Turvey finished third in the final classification, scoring one victory in the season-opening race at Silverstone.
2014 Le Mans victory for Dolan, Turvey and Tincknell
The most successful year followed in 2014 when Jota Sport ran with Zytek Z11SN-Nissan for a third consecutive year. The team finally captured the LMP2 class victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans. The drivers were Simon Dolan, Oliver Turvey and Harry Tincknell. The team competed at one more WEC race with the second place at Spa, but the focus was on the European Le Mans Series.
Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Filipe Albuquerque contested the full ELMS season in the #38 Zytek-Nissan and after one victory (Imola) and two more podiums, they finished second in the championship, just four points behind Signatech Alpine.
Journey to Le Mans documentary
Jota Sport's victory at Le Mans was celebrated in the British documentary "Journey to Le Mans", directed by Charlotte Fantelli. The story follows Simon Dolan and Jota Sport on their quest to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The film was released in a number of cinemas across the United Kingdom in October 2014, and released on DVD in November 2014.
One more Le Mans podium in 2015
For the 2015 season, Zytek LMP2 prototype was rebranded and renamed to Gibson 015S. With that car, Dolan, Tincknell and Albuquerque scored one victory (Spielberg) and three more podiums in five ELMS races, finishing third in the points, with a small gap behind title-winning Greaves Motorsport.
The new car was used also in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Dolan and Tincknell, partnered by Mitch Evans, earned the sensational class win at 6 Hours of Spa. The same drivers appeared a few weeks later at Le Mans with high expectations. In the exciting race, three leading LMP2 teams finished on the same lap after 24 hours. KCMG took the class win, Jota Sport was second and G-Drive was third.
European Le Mans Serie champion in 2016
In 2016, the former rivals became the partners. Jota Sport made an agreement with G-Drive Racing to run their two cars in the European Le Mans Series and World Endurance Championship. Simon Dolan agreed to compete only in the ELMS races, with one-off WEC appearance at Le Mans. At Circuit de la Sarthe, he was sharing the #38 Gibson 015S-Zytek with Giedo van de Garde and Jake Dennis. They retired after 222 laps.
Retirement or just a pause
For the 2017 season, Jota Sport changed a partner, joining forces with Jackie Chan DC Racing to run two Oreca 07 LMP2 prototypes in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Dolan himself isn't included in a project as a driver. He takes a sabbatical year. Is it a full retirement or just a pause from racing, we will see.