OAK Planning Two-Car Ligier Entry for Petit Le Mans

Photo: DPPI/Onroak Automotive

Photo: DPPI/Onroak Automotive

Despite having lost on last month’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, OAK Racing is still pushing ahead with plans for the remainder of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, including the North American debut of its new Ligier JS P2. (En Français)

Team principal Philippe Dumas confirmed to Endurance-Info Monday that its HPD-powered Ligier is still on track to run the final two races of the season, with an effort underway to field a second, Nissan-powered model as well for the season-ending Petit Le Mans in October.

“We’re planning to run the Ligier JS P2 in Austin and Petit Le Mans,” Dumas reconfirmed. “The idea is to have two cars at Road Atlanta. Discussions are ongoing.

“For Petit Le Mans, we’d like to put Mark Shulzhitskiy, Alex Brundle and Jann Mardenborough in the [Nissan-powered Ligier], the same crew from Le Mans.

“The three were wonderful. Mark has a promising future and Alex is well known at this level while Jann is a genius behind the wheel.”

It’s expected that Gustavo Yacaman, Ho-Pin Tung and Olivier Pla will also be part of the team’s lineup for the final two rounds of the season, which will see a transition from its current Morgan-Nissan package.

Yacaman, Tung and Brundle are fresh off a season-best second-place result at Watkins Glen, although having narrowly missed out on the win following a late-race pass for the lead on the second-to-final restart by a DP.

The move, which showcased a P2 car’s power deficiency over the DPs, however, hasn’t left a bitter taste in Dumas’ mouth.

“You cannot cry foul,” he said. “Of course we would have liked to win. Scot Elkins and IMSA are doing what they can to find the right solutions [for Balance of Performance]. It’s in the interest of everyone.

“We are up against big teams. For the last three or four races, the regulation has not changed and the cautions have been much better managed. It’s clear that restarts could have consequences [for P2 cars].

“In the U.S., we are short staffed and we’re at a true deficit because we don’t know the circuits. So we can be proud of what we’ve done, knowing that we are still in the fight for the championship.

“We’re going to throw everything in the battle.”

18 Comments

  1. Jason

    July 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I guess that means we’ll be saying goodbye to the Morgan after COTA. Also I am thinking that the Ligier will be a quicker car than the Morgan thus will be more competitive with the DP’s.

  2. D.O.G.

    July 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Interesting to know the CoTA crew will both have 3 drivers…

    • John Dagys

      July 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      No, I don’t think we’ll see three-driver lineups for COTA. Olivier Pla won’t be in either for that race in order to focus on FIA WEC.

  3. Doug

    July 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I really liked the look of these cars when I was watching Le Mans, got a real mean look to them compared to everything else.

    As for bop, just give the dps and p2s separate tires. That will create their own problems of course, but I think that is easier to fix than the current problem.

    • Kirk

      July 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Agree. There’s no reason Continental can’t provide a slightly softer compound for the P2 cars. They provide those skinny bicycle tires for the Deltawing, why not P2 specific tires?

      Not sure how much of a difference it’ll make, but maybe the Ligier coupe will be a little faster in a straight line and allow the P2′s to make up some of the massive DP speed advantage. At the least, the addition of the Ligier(s) will be a breath of technological fresh air.

      • Bakkster

        July 7, 2014 at 1:53 pm

        The Ligier was only about 1kph faster on top speed than the Morgan at Le Mans. If they gain anything, it’ll be from having a more modern chassis.

        • Jack

          July 7, 2014 at 11:04 pm

          but was noticeably faster on overall lap time throughout a stint

    • Pierce

      July 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Yes the Ligier was quick at Le Mans but its gonna come down to those 4 contact patches i.e. those continental tires.

      The P2s were provided a softer compound at the glen.

      • Bakkster

        July 7, 2014 at 5:30 pm

        I thought everyone was running the Daytona compound at the Glen.

        • Jack

          July 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm

          Still a spec tire

  4. Jack

    July 7, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Hey john, TDS were saying they wanted to run petit, so is the Nissan being entered a entry from TDS or is it an additional oak entry

  5. Jason Elliott

    July 8, 2014 at 5:10 am

    Great news about two Ligiers at PLM. Makes the trip more worth it. Those Ligiers are really good looking cars.

  6. Larry

    July 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I see Atlanta as a pro DP track, long back stretch, up hill from turn one, looks to me like another DP win.
    Looking back on things, if they would have left the DP’s alone last year, saving the teams tons of money, then the BOP could have been adjusted with the P2′s only by detuning.
    But wait, I had heard the Corvette’s et al were faster than the DP’s before upgrades. ….what a mess!

    • Kirk

      July 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Oh heck yeah. If you look at the lap times from the common tracks the ALMS and Grand-Am raced at last year, the DP’s were slower than the slowest ALMS GT cars. The DP’s then went on a modernization program over the winter and now they’re far faster.

      I see Road Atlanta as a DP track as well so I’m really debating whether to take in Petit this year. The DP domination may keep me away, but the lure of those new Ligiers may get me to make the trip. Maybe what I’ll do is go to the race but leave early. That way I’ll avoid the inevitable green-white-checkered finish where a horde of DP’s overwhelm the leading P2 car.

      • Jason Elliott

        July 8, 2014 at 5:13 pm

        Hey Kirk, that’s what I’m gonna do. If the race gets to the late stages and a dp is winning I’m leaving early and going to stone mountain for the laser show! But at LeMans this year the Ligiers were great so I hope they can take the fight to and beat the dp cars.

        • Kirk

          July 9, 2014 at 1:36 pm

          Sounds like a plan. That Stone Mountain laser show is awesome!

          I just wonder how the Ligiers will do on those spec Continental tires.

      • racefan101

        August 19, 2014 at 10:35 pm

        The DP domination has already kept me away. I see it as blunt favoritism for the DPs. Sebring and Petit were always a must go see for me, until now. I did go to Sebring (cause I don’t leave far)but I wish I never did.

  7. Ryan

    July 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Which ligier was faster, The Nissan or the Honda?

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