Graff Racing could be making its return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015 following a more than 20-year absence from top-level prototype racing. (En Français)
The veteran French squad, which currently fields a Porsche 911 GT-R in the Blancpain Endurance Series, has outlined plans of stepping up to the LMP2 category, most likely with Onroak Automotive-built machinery.
“We want to return to Le Mans,” team manager Pascal Rauturier told Endurance-Info. “Consideration is also being given on whether this will happen in GT or LMP2. But for us, the geographical proximity of Onroak Automotive is an important asset. We hope to do a test in a LMP2 car by the end of the year to prepare for 2015.”
While having most recently focused its efforts on the European GT ranks, Graff will campaign a Ligier JS 53 Evo CN car in next weekend’s VdeV Endurance Series round at Paul Ricard, as a toe-in-the-water experience in the junior-level prototype ranks, which will also strengthen its relationship with the Le Mans-based constructor.
“Our relationship with Onroak Automotive is going well. What we created is a level of trust,” Rauturier said. “This will allow for us to open some doors in the future.
“I’m convinced that CN is the right school. The cars go as fast as a GT but with more aero. The VdeV Endurance Series is an interesting championship and this is the beginning of a new adventure for the whole team. Graff hasn’t been involved in prototypes since the ’80s.”
Graff has made 11 previous starts at Le Mans, the most recent coming in 1993 with a Spice SE89C for Jean-Bernard Bouvet, Richard Balandras and Bruno Miot.
If given the green light, a full-season program in the ELMS and entry for Le Mans would likely be the likely path, which may or may not initially be with Onroak’s new closed-top prototype.
“This is part of our desire to be present in LMP2 next season but we don’t want to cut corners,” Rauturier said. “The idea is to enter the European Le Mans Series along with an entry request to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s possible to make a transition year with a Morgan LMP2 before moving to the Ligier JS P2.”
The team will be making the trip to La Sarthe next month for the Le Mans Classic with two Porsches, which will be driven by Eric Trouillet and Khaled Al Qubaisi.