Zytek Z11SN - Three Titles and Two Le Mans Wins in Just Six Years
The Zytek Z11SN is an LMP2 class open-top racing prototype which has been built by Zytek Engineering (now Gibson Technology) between 2011 and 2016.
The car scored LMP2 class victory at 24 hours of Le Mans in 2011 by Greaves Motorsport, also winning the 2011 Le Mans Series title by the same team. In 2014, Jota Sport captured another 24h Le Mans LMP2 victory with Zytek Z11SN.
In 2015, following Zytek’s rebranding to Gibson Technology, the Z11SN was updated and converted into the Gibson 015S LMP2 prototype, winning two more ELMS titles after that.
Zytek Z11SN was introduced in 2011
Zytek Engineering, founded in 1981, has a long history of developing engines and racing cars, including several Le Mans Prototypes (04S, 06S, 07S, 09SC). In 2011, due to new LMP regulations, the Zytek 09SC became the LMP1 car, so the company decided to develop a new car for LMP2 class.
Zytek made a deal with Nissan to use their VK45DE engine from GT-R model. It was a 4.5-litre V8 naturally aspirated engine which produced about 450 hp. The carbon-fibre composite monocoque chassis weighed 900 kilos.
Le Mans Series championship title in debut season
In 2011, the British team Greaves Motorsport was a sole entry with Zytek Z11SN in the Le Mans Series, in a fact they had a Zytek 07S chassis converted to Z11SN. Other teams were running Oreca 03-Nissan, HPD ARX-01d, MG-Lola EX265, Lola B11/40 or Norma M200P prototypes.
The #41 Zytek Z11SN scored an immediate success, winning the season-opening race (6 hours of Castellet), driven by Karim Ojjeh, Gary Chalandon and Tom Kimber-Smith. Ojjeh and Kimber-Smith scored two more wins (Imola and Silverstone), partnered by Olivier Lombard. At the end of the season, Greaves Motorsport won the Le Mans Series LMP2 championship, with Karim Ojjeh and Tom Kimber-Smith taking drivers’ title.
LMP2 class victory at 2011 Le Mans 24h
The highlight of the season was 24 hours of Le Mans. The #41 Zytek Z11SN was the sixth fastest qualifier in the LMP2 class but the team managed to win the race, six laps ahead of closest rivals. Le Mans winners were Karim Ojjeh, Olivier Lombard and Tom-Kimber Smith.
Greaves Motorsport and Jota Sport were running Z11SN
At the end of the season, Greaves Motorsport’s car was retired, and three new ones were built. Greaves Motorsport purchased two chassis, entering the 2012 European Le Mans Series. The second team with Zytek Z11SN was Jota Sport. Greaves Motorsport finished third in the final standings, with Alex Brundle and Tom Kimber-Smith participating in all three races of the season.
At 2012 Le Mans 24h race, Greaves Motorsport participated with two cars (#41 and #42), Jota Sport fielded one car (#38). The most notable entry was the #42 car because it was driven by former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle. His teammates were his son Alex and Lucas Ordonez. They finished 8th in class, whilst the #41 car finished fifth, and the Jota Sport entry failed to finish.
2013 – third place in the ELMS, podium at Le Mans
In 2013, Greaves Motorsport and Jota Sport both continued to run Z11SN cars in the European Le Mans Series. Simon Dolan and Oliver Turvey won the season-opening race at Silverstone. It was the only win for #38 Zytek and Jota Sport finished third in the championship standings.
At Le Mans, Greaves Motorsport’s Jann Mardenborough, Michael Krumm and Lucas Ordonez reached a podium, finishing third in the LMP2 class with #42 car. Jota Sport’s crew finished 7th, the other Greaves Motorsport’s car finished 10th. The #41 entered a race in a cooperation with Caterham Motorsport, being driven by Alexander Rossi, Tom Kimber-Smith and Eric Lux.
2014 – ELMS vice-champions and Le Mans winners
The same three teams were using Zytek Z11SN prototypes in the 2014 European Le Mans Series season. The most successful was Jota Sport, scoring one victory at Imola. The drivers of the #38 car were Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Filipe Albuquerque. Jota Sport finished second in the 2014 ELMS standings.
The #38 was a victorious car at 2014 Le Mans 24 hours. Jota Sport’s drivers in that race were Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Oliver Turvey. Caterham and Greaves also participated at Le Mans race with Z11SN.
Two ELMS championship titles for rebranded Z11SN
The season 2014 was the last for Z11SN under its original name. In 2015, the company changed a name to Gibson Technology, continuing to develop an LMP2 prototype under the Gibson 015S name. Jota Sport and Greaves Motorsports continued to use Gibsons.
Greaves Motorsport won the 2015 ELMS title, with Jota in the third place. One more championship winning season followed in 2016 when G-Drive Racing took the ELMS title with Gibson 015S. At 24h Le Mans, the best result for Gibson 015S was Jota Sport’s second place in 2015.
Zytek Z11SN specifications
|Chassis||carbon-fibre with aluminum honeycomb composite monocoque|
|Engine||Nismo VK45DE 4,494cc V8 naturally aspirated|
|Power/torque||460 hp/570 Nm|
|Gearbox||Ricardo 6-speed semi-automatic|
|Suspension||double wishbones, push-rod actuated coil springs and dampers, anti-roll bar|
|Brakes||carbon ceramic discs all-around|
|Wheels||front 12.5 x 18; rear 13 x 18|
|Tyres||front 300/660 - 18; rear: 310/710 - 18|