Jackie Chan DC Racing team co-owner David Cheng believes having a four-car split approach, operated by two teams and with two different LMP2 chassis, will be an “advantage” in the Chinese squad’s 24 Hours of Le Mans title defense.
DCR has brought its two full-season FIA World Endurance Championship Oreca 07 Gibsons, run by Jota Sport, alongside a pair of Ligier JS P217 Gibsons operated by OAK Racing to this year’s French endurance classic.
The Ligier entries, courtesy of the team’s auto invites for winning the LMP2 and LMP3 championships in the 2017-18 Asian Le Mans Series, has boosted its chances, according to Cheng, particularly on the chassis front.
“That’s where operating a little more independently really comes to our advantage,” he told Sportscar365.
“Of course, Ligier has made good progress and the Oreca has been quite strong as well. Now there’s a little bit of mix with the tire war that’s going on. Both have a really good chance.
“This year, Ligier has come a lot closer, and with the weather and everything, it’s a lot more unpredictable.
“Having the two chassis, with logistics, the choice was already predetermined, but looking at it, it’s a bit of a blessing having one in each.”
Cheng joked that the size of the four-car program has been “overwhelming” and explained that the logistics surrounding the entries have been challenging, but that the split approach has helped the situation.
Both Jota and OAK are essentially running fully independent operations, with the two garages in separate parts of the pit lane.
“From an organization point of view, it’s been really difficult,” Cheng said. “Being on both sides of the garage is always a bit difficult.
“We wanted to split into two two-car teams, as it’s easier to [manage].”
The independence of the two operations was also stressed by David Heinemeier-Hansson who will drive one of the Ligiers with Come Ledogar and Ricky Taylor.
The Dane is no stranger to the OAK squad, having driven with the operation in 2012 and 2013 and was also a part of the Onroak-supported Tequila Patron ESM team in 2015.
“This reminds me of the first time I did Le Mans in 2012,” Heinemeier Hansson told Sportscar365. “I showed up to do Le Mans as a one-off while doing something in the U.S.
“No-one expected anything and we ended up leading the race for quite a while, until we had some technical issues. This has a similar feel.
“Come has not done Le Mans before, Ricky and I have done it previously but not together, and we’re not building a season around this.
“It has that similar feel so we can hopefully show up and surprise with the pace.”