Ligier Automotive has launched a special track day-focused sports prototype boasting 825 horsepower and the capability of sub-three minute 20s lap times at Le Mans.
The Ligier JS PX is designed to be the “ultimate prototype” according to the French LMP2 manufacturer’s managing director Pierre Nicolet.
Despite looking like a vehicle that might appear in sanctioned sports car racing, the car is not designed to be homologated for competition.
It is the first of a series of special edition models that Ligier plans to roll out to customers for ‘arrive and drive’ leisure activities such as track days and private testing.
The Ligier JS PX is being demonstrated at Portimao this week during a test session organized by Black Falcon, one of the company’s LMP3 customers.
The car weighs 910 kg and has a six-speed sequential Hewland gearbox. It is powered by a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 engine prepared by Ligier, rather than the common Gibson V8 that is used by all cars in the LMP2 class including the Ligier JS P217.
According to Ligier, the JS PX could theoretically lap the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit in 3 minutes 19 seconds with a top speed of 346 km/h (215 mph).
The pole position time at Le Mans this year was a 3:23.900 set by Kamui Kobayashi in a Toyota GR010 Hybrid LMH.
Nicolet explained that the Ligier JS PX commemorates the company’s North American successes during the 2016 IMSA season in three of the four major endurance races, including wins at Daytona and Sebring for the ESM-run, Ligier-based Nissan DPi.
“With this car, we wanted to celebrate the three overall victories in the American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans in 2016 with the Ligier JS P2,” he said.
“We were the first constructor since Ferrari in 1998 to have completed this hat-trick in the same year. We had to do something special!
“The Ligier JS PX is a synthesis of our savoir-faire and French excellence. It is the ultimate sports prototype.
“It showcases the elements of the LMP and DPi categories, which will be replaced by Hypercars, but with no limitations.
“We have freed ourselves from all existing regulations. We have also drawn on the skills developed over several years alongside leading constructors to design and build their concept cars.”
The carbon-based Ligier JS PX includes ABS, traction control and unique engine performance systems to be suitable for amateur drivers.
It was designed by an amalgamation of all company departments including the design office, composites, electronics, engine, assembly and machining units.
Olivier Pla, who drove for Acura DPi squad Meyer Shank Racing in IMSA this year but has high experience in Ligier machinery, was involved in the JS PX’s development.
“With 825 horsepower, it accelerates very hard, with a lot of load,” he said.
“Ligier’s objective with this model was to design an exceptional car, and honestly, apart from a Formula 1 car, which is not comparable, I don’t think there is any car in the world that is as fast on a circuit.
“With all the onboard electronics, it’s easy to drive. It is suitable for both experienced racers and gentlemen drivers who want to experience something similar to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in an LMP1 car but on track days.”
Ligier plans to offer a “turnkey service” for customers who buy the Ligier JS PX. A price for the product has not been published.
“This unique model is in the same spirit as what some of the leading constructors refer to as one-offs but reserved for recreational use,” said Nicolet.
“We want to promote our expertise in the design and manufacture of high-performance vehicles and the customization we can offer our customers to create their own experience and meet all their expectations.”