Panis-Barthez Competition is set for a dual-class program in the European Le Mans Series, with the newly formed French squad confirming Tuesday plans to field both a Ligier JS P2 and Ligier JS P3 this year.
The team, led by the ex-Formula One driver Olivier Panis and French soccer star Fabien Barthez, will be present in both the LMP2 and LMP3 classes this year, while also submitting a P2 entry request to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Barthez (P2) and Eric Debard (P3) have been named the first drivers for the two-car effort, with Renaud Derlot set to serve as sporting director for the new operation.
“My role as team principal is to oversee the entire project and convey my experience,” Panis said.
“In parallel, Renaud Derlot has the responsibility to lead the sports part, detect future driver and be in charge of the coordination.
“Fabien Barthez in his racing quality will, in turn, be the spearhead of this new team.
“I want to thank Jacques Nicolet and all Onroak Automotive team for their contribution to the culmination of this project.
“Our determination is great and our aspiration is, in the short term, to win the ELMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
The team has already completed an initial test, at Navarra in December, to evaluate a number of prospective young drivers to complete the lineup.
Testing is expected to continue in the build up to the official ELMS pre-season test in March.