2011 Zytek-Nissan Z11SN #41 Pilots: K. Ojjeh, O. Lombard, T. Kimber-Smith Team: Greaves Motorsport Race: 8th overall (1st in LMP2) at Le Mans in 2011 Spark - S2533 (resin)
Bill Gibson founded Zytek Engineering in 1981, based at Repton, Derbyshire, in the UK. At first, Zytek designed, manufactured and offered track support for engine components for F1 and endurance racing. In 2004 they entered the Le Mans Endurance Series with their first car, the Zytek 04S. Zytek persisted developing the car, and in 2007 they came up with the 07S model. The chassis was completely different, now with twin roll hoops, demanding a new engine cover and aerodynamic adjustments. Though intended for LMP2 racing, Zytek designed and built the chassis to LMP1 crash regulations. Two years later, with a change in LMP regulations, Zytek partnered with Ginetta and released the Zytek 09SC (or Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S). The GZ09S became the LMP1 car, while for LMP2 they modified it into the GZ09S/2. The car showed promise, and in 2010 a GZ09S/2 came in fourth in LMP2 at Le Mans.
As always, FIA (and ACO) never keep regulations static for long, and for 2011 the rules changed. The minimum weight was now 900 kg and all car dimensions were revised. With that, the 09SC was obsolete, so Zytek introduced the Z11SN. The chassis was a carbon fiber composite monocoque, powered by Nissan’s VK45DE (a 4494 cm³ V8). Greaves Motorsport was the only team to use the Z11SN in the inaugural 2011 season. Chassis #Z11SN-03 debuted in April at Le Castellet, with a victory in LMP2. Later at Spa, in May, they finished in 15th, 5th place in LMP2. However, the big challenge was in June. In the 24 Heures du Mans of 2011, Greaves` Z11SN #41 came in eighth place overall and first in LMP2.
That was the only Le Mans race for Z11SN #41, though the car won the LMP2 Le Mans Series that year. And in 2014 another Z11SN (Jota Sport #38) would be victorious at La Sarthe. Even though Zytek cars were not prolific at La Sarthe, two class wins are quite meaningful. In scale, this Z11SN #41 is just as nice as my #38, with Spark doing a great job on it. A few years ago I was kind of prejudiced against LMP2, the “junior class” at La Sarthe. Yet, with the predictable results we’ve seen in LMP1 in recent times, LMP2 and GTE became much more interesting to watch. Let’s see how the new Hypercar class (LMH + LMDh) does in 2022. Nonetheless, I’ve learned to admire cars like the Z11SN #41.