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Team SARD-Morand Confirms Two-Car LMP2 Entry

Team SARD-Morand to contest FIA WEC with Morgan LMP2 cars…

sard2

One of the worst-kept secrets in the FIA World Endurance Championship paddock was officially announced Saturday, with Morand Racing and SARD confirming its joint two-car effort for the LMP2 class.

The Japanese-Swiss squad, to be run under the Team SARD-Morand banner, will field Judd-powered Morgan EVO LMP2 cars with a mix of drivers from both of the race-winning outfits.

Christian Klien and Koki Saga will share the wheel of the No. 39 car with a to-be-announced third driver, with Pierre Ragues and 2014 European Le Mans Series champion Oliver Webb in the No. 43 entry.

The third driver for the No. 43 car will be the winner of the team’s “Race to 24″ show and will make their debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and complete the remainder of the FIA WEC season.

The Benoit Morand-led organization makes the step up to the globe-trotting sports car championship after two successful seasons in ELMS competition, which included an overall victory last year.

“For a young team like us, it is an honor to share our destiny with SARD,” Morand said. “SARD’s long history demonstrates that this team has always been searching for new challenges while combining a professional spirit with a family environment.”

Founded in 1972 as Sigma Advanced Racing Development, the Japanese team is no stranger to success, having established a long-term relationship with Toyota both domestically in Super GT competition and also at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

A SARD-run Toyota 94C-V prototype claimed a runner-up finish at the French endurance classic in 1994, with Jeff Krosnoff, Eddie Irvine and Mauro Martini at the wheel.

While initially having planned to field a LMP1 entry, the team decided to begin in the cost-capped LMP2 ranks with an existing chassis and engine package. Former Japanese star Hideki Noda will serve as SARD’s team manager.

“SARD became a team of worldwide reputation thanks to their long relationship with Toyota, but they remain very humble,” Morand said. “Hideki Noda previously was a driver of very high standard outside Japan and his global comprehension of motorsports will be very helpful.”

The pair of Onroak Automotive-developed prototypes, pending the entry approval from the FIA WEC, will run on Dunlop tires, with the powerplants badged as SARD.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. D.O.G

    January 31, 2015 at 6:15 am

    So Morand will not do ELMS this year?

  2. Tom

    January 31, 2015 at 6:40 am

    Entry list will be interesting with the 32 car full season limit.

  3. susafan

    January 31, 2015 at 6:42 am

    So:

    2 ESM HPD
    1 (possibly 2) OAK/G-Drive Ligier-Nissan
    2 SMP Nissan
    1 KCMG ORECA
    2 SARD/Morand Ligier-Judd
    and the Strakka Dome-Nissan full time with the possibility of an Greaves Gibson as well as Jota and RSR for some European rounds. Looks like a decent P2 grid, with a great variety of cars this year.

    We should uncork wine and serve cheese.

  4. Cf

    January 31, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Nice, I think good compo between the Japanese and the Swiss.

    LMP2 Field 2015:
    OAK Racing/G- Drive Racing; 2 Cars: 26, 42
    Extreme Speed Motorsports; 2 Cars: 22, 23
    KCMG 2 Cars: 47, 49
    SMP Racing 2 Cars: 27, 37
    SARD/Morand 2 Cars: 29, 39
    Strakka Racing 1 Car: 21
    Signatech Alpine 2 Cars: 34, 36
    Maybe Brabham 1 Car: 30

    • JAGLeMans

      January 31, 2015 at 8:01 am

      Second KCMG car will be a race by race entrant.

      With Webb in the Sard-Morand car, I’d suggest this means Signatech will remain in the ELMS.

      Brabham are targeting late season races.

      Others to look out for are Jota at Spa and perhaps Nurburgring. RSR looking to do some Euro rounds, Pegasus running in the Asian WEC rounds and an Oak Gentleman car on a round by round basis.

      I wonder too if we’ll see Taisen again?

  5. Jason

    January 31, 2015 at 8:32 am

    I guess there will be an open topped car in WEC still after all. I thought by this year the open topped cars at least for full season WEC would be gone. Not quite.

  6. Alfredo

    January 31, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Full season LMP2 emtries:

    2 ESM HPD ARX 04b
    2 SMP Racing (BR eng. Built – Nissan powerplant)
    2 SARD/Morand Morgan-Judd
    1-2 OAK/Gdrive Ligier (powerplant TBA)
    1 KCMG Oreca-Nissan
    1 Strakka Racing – Dome S1003 Nissan

    That gives us a 10 car field, and with wild car entries from Brabs, RSR, Jota, OAK, Signatech Alpine, KCMG (2nd car) and Pegasus, we might hit a 15 lmp2 car grid in some races, which would be AWESOME.

  7. Scoper

    January 31, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Oh boy best year of endurance racing ever!

  8. Harrison Bien Aime

    January 31, 2015 at 9:29 am

    2 ESM HPDs
    2 G Drive Oak Ligiers
    2 SMP Racing BR01s
    2 Sard Racing Morgan’s
    1 Signatech Oreca
    1 Strakka Dome
    1 KCMG Oreca( on a full time basis)
    1 Oak Racing Gentlemen Driver entry( Any recent news on that car, is Nicolet still planning on running a Ligier in the WEC with 2 other “gentlemen drivers)

    11-12 LMP2s, I would be willing on saying that it’s a good amount of P2s. But 4 teams looking at getting 2 cars in? I’m confident that SMP and G Drive will get their two cars in without any problems, SARD should have thought about putting out a single car entry. On the Wildcard P2 side of things we’ll get: RSR, Jota( Spa Only), 2nd KCMG Car, Brabham(????).

  9. Lucas

    January 31, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I am new to WEC, but this is looking awesome.

    I became quite disalusioned with f1 last year and with most motorsports grids shrinking its nice to see at least one with a rising grid!

    • Nuno Rosario

      January 31, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      You my friend came in the right time for WEC, loads of LMP1 and LMP2 entries, not to mention the amazing racing of the GTE cars
      But LeMans… LeMans24!! That will be the pinnacle of this year in my book! That and the Spa24 with GT3 cars, and my home race on ELMS Estoril 4H! This year is amazing for racing fans

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