LE MANS, France — official release — OAK Racing photo — OAK Racing has announced it is entering a Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Lone Star Le Mans on Sept. 20 at Circuit of The Americas.
The car was built in constructor Onroak Automotive’s workshops and will be making its TUDOR Championship debut in the hands of co-drivers Gustavo Yacaman and Alex Brundle.
The new Ligier prototype made a strong first impression in its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race in which three cars were entered powered by Nissan and Honda engines. After a fruitful collaboration with Nissan, which supplied power for the No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan in the TUDOR Championship, the team has decided to use the Ligier JS P2/Honda that raced at Le Mans.
“After this long summer break I am ready to get back in the car at COTA, especially to show what the new Ligier JS P2 can do,” Yacaman said. “I want to thank Zytek and Nissan Motorsports for a flawless season until now, but at the same time I am very excited to work with the guys from HPD (Honda Performance Development). It will be fun to have a double Onroak Automotive program at COTA with the WEC and TUDOR Championship teams present. I believe we can score a double win for Onroak Automotive in both championships.”
While Yacaman has not yet driven the new Ligier JS P2, he will be able to count on the experience of Brundle, who has driven the car as both a development driver and at Le Mans.
“COTA is an awesome venue and I can’t wait to get back out on track there,” said Brundle. “This will be the first track I have previously visited on my 2014 stateside calendar so I’m looking forward to going back. The Ligier chassis is one I know well from my role in the development process and participation at Le Mans, but the HPD engine is a new challenge for me. We will have to get our heads around the machinery quickly to achieve a good result. ”
OAK Racing earned its first TUDOR Championship victory in July at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with Yacaman and Olivier Pla sharing the controls of the No. 42 Morgan/Nissan. In fact, the team has been a consistent front-runner in most TUDOR Championship races this season; its first season racing in North America.
“The team is thrilled to bits by this new challenge,” said Philippe Dumas, OAK Racing team principal. “We entered two Ligier JS P2s in the Le Mans 24 Hours, one with a Nissan engine and the other with HPD power shod with Dunlop and Michelin tires, but it’s the first time we’re running the car on Continental rubber. We’ll have a big setup job to do during practice.
“Our motivation is still as strong as ever and a top-three finish is our prime target. We’re going to Austin with a lot of humility and high hopes. We’ll do everything possible to score a good result on the Ligier JS P2’s first outing on the North American continent, and we also want to shine at Road Atlanta.”
The debut of the new car comes at a critical time in the TUDOR Championship, as teams begin preparations for the 2015 campaign.
“We arrived here at the beginning of the year to take part in the TUDOR Championship with OAK Racing and the Morgan/Nissan,” said Onroak Automotive President Jacques Nicolet. “Our top-three finishes in Detroit and at Watkins Glen and our win in Canada have put us in fourth place in the overall classification despite tough competition from the DPs.”
“Today, our aim is to take part in the last two rounds of the season with a new product from Onroak Automotive, the Ligier JS P2 which made an eye-catching debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours. This closed prototype should attract the public and, we hope, generate interest among American teams to the same extent as it has done in Europe,” Nicolet added. “Our participation in Austin with two Ligiers, one for G-Drive Racing in the FIA WEC and one for OAK Racing in the TUDOR Championship powered by Nissan and HPD engines respectively, testify to our determination to be present in the US in the long term with our products.”