THE LIGIER SHINE IN THE 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA 2021 WITH THE VICTORY AND A DOUBLE IN LMP3


Second victory and double at the 24 Hours of Daytona for the French manufacturer Ligier Automotive

24-HOURS-DAYTONA-2016-VICTORY for the LIGIER-JSP2-Sunday January 31

A weekend to be marked with a milestone for the French manufacturer. This is the second time that Ligier has won the 24 Hours of Daytona. The first was in 2016 and at the time in the general classification with the Ligier JS P2 of Team Tequila Patron ESM, the first and only overall victory for a French manufacturer in this legendary Floridian event.

The second this weekend therefore, but this time in the LMP3 category with its latest sport-prototype, the Ligier JS P320. An LMP3 class that made its debut in the American Classic and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

VICTORY for the Ligier JS P320 N ° 74 of the American team Riley Motorsports

The Ligier JS P320 # 74 of the American team Riley Motorsports shared by Gar Robinson, Spencer Pigot, Scott Andrews and Oliver Askew signs a landslide victory, winning by three laps in advance, after leading the category for 17 24 hours.

The Ligier JS P320 N ° 33 from another US team, the Sean Creech Motorsport with Lance Willsey, Joao Barbosa, Wayne Boyd and the French Yann Clairay offers Ligier a nice double, finishing on the second step of the podium and with four laps ahead of competitor chassis N ° 06.

La Duqueine D08 N ° 6 of the Muehlner de Krantz, Hoerr and Koch, ranked third

In LMP2, the Ligier JS P217 N ° 51 entered by the Philippine team, Eurasia Motorsport reinforced by the American structure Rick Ware Racing finished at the foot of the podium, fourth in the category and tenth overall with Cody Ware, Salih Yoluc, Austin Dillon , and Sven Müller, after a remarkable race.

A very fine award which confirms the endurance know-how of the manufacturer Ligier Automotive, established in France and in Charlotte, North Carolina, with its subsidiary Ligier Automotive North America since 2016.

A DOUBLE HISTORY IN THE LMP3 CATEGORY

The second Ligier JS P320 N ° 91 from Riley Motorsports

Four US teams trusted the manufacturer by entering five Ligier JS P320s. After the discovery of their new frames during the official tests of the ROAR Before the Rolex 24, on January 21-24, the Ligier teams distinguished themselves in the free practice of the 24 Hours of Daytona, this Friday, January 28.

And, in particular the # 91 Ligier JS P320 from Riley Motorsports which set the best LMP3 time in each of the four sessions.

Saturday January 30 at 3:40 p.m., the tension is palpable on the starting grid. The stakes are high. This is the first year that LMP3s have competed in the iconic 24 Hours of Daytona event and taken part in the IMSA WeatherTech American Championship, until then reserved for DPi, LMP2, GTD and GTLM.

The Ligier JS P320 N ° 91 of Riley Motorsports

And the first time that the Ligier JS P320, the new generation LMP3 presented at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans which replaces the Ligier JS P3s in the ACO and IMSA Championships, participates in a 24 hour endurance race.

A very successful first 24 Hours later. The Ligier teams leading the race for more than 20 hours and crossing the finish line in first and second positions. The five Ligier JS P320s entered all finish the race. All of them have proven to be formidable competitors for the remainder of the season.

The Ligier JS P320 N ° 74, that of Riley Motorsports

And, as we have said, it is the Ligier JS P320 N ° 74, that of Riley Motorsports led by Gar Robinson, Spencer Pigot, Scott Andrews and Oliver Askew which offers the victory to the manufacturer. However, she started last in the LMP3, the team having preferred not to participate in the qualifying race for the ROAR Before, which took place on Sunday 24 January, to complete its preparation for the S 24 Hours race.

After a little more than three hours of racing and a magnificent first stint for Gar Robinson, this N ° 74 recovered all of its competitors. She takes the lead and leads the way for nearly three hours before falling behind after having made her obligatory stop of at least 8 minutes to change the brake pads and discs.

When the turn of its competitors to stop, the 74 then recovers the lead. But, there are 13 hours of racing left. But the N ° 74 will never leave the head. And it is she who crosses the finish line with three laps ahead of another Ligier JS P320, the N ° 33 and seven laps on the competing chassis N ° 6.

The LIGIER JS P320 N ° 33 of the Sean Creech Motorsport team

Starting in fourth position, the N ° 33 Ligier JS P320 from the Sean Creech Motorsport team, driven by Lance Willsey, Joao Barbosa, Wayne Boyd and Yann Clairay took the lead in the third hour. Hit at the back by a competitor, she spun around. This incident then costs him the first place and maybe the victory.

The 33 then grabs second place. If it manages to close the gap with the leading car, it is not enough and the team eventually crosses the finish line in second position.

The Ligier JS P320 N ° 91 of Riley Motorsports

The second Ligier of the Riley Motorsports team, the N ° 91 of Jim Cox, Dylan Murry, Austin McCusker and Jeroen Bleekemolen, the fastest of the LMP3s in free practice, fails to achieve its performance following an electrical problem at the start race. She was immobilized in the pits and unfortunately lost thirteen laps. But the team did not give up and began a very good comeback. She finished at the foot of the podium, in fourth position.

CORE Autosport’s # 54 Ligier JS P320, with Jon Bennett, George Kurtz, Colin Braun and Matt McMurry, crosses the finish line in fifth position. A disappointing result for the team that started in third position, which was unlucky. After six hours of racing, it was stopped several times in the pits due to a brake problem. Halfway through the race, she returned to the pits to remove debris from a wrecked car that had lodged in the nose of the car. Finally, two hours from the finish, she suffered a puncture which slowed her down a little.

The Ligier JS P320 N ° 38 of Performance Tech Motorsports was also hard hit with Rasmus Lindh, Cameron Cassels, Mateo LLarena and Ayrton Ori at the wheel. Part fifth of the LMP3, she took the lead after only twenty minutes of racing. A few minutes after her first change of driver during the second hour and while she was still leading, she was struck by a GTLM.

An incident that will lead to a series of mechanical problems. First passage through the pits and change of the front cover. She takes the lead again but has to quickly stop again to fix her taillights and is falling behind. The drivers won’t be able to do anything about it because, despite a very good comeback, she finished sixth in the category.

After a successful first season in Europe (two LMP3 titles, 15 pole positions, 12 wins, 35 podiums and 14 best times during the 16 races contested in the three European championships), the American season of the Ligier JS P320 in IMSA WeatherTech is off to a strong start.

A FOURTH PLACE IN LMP2

The Ligier JS P217 of the Philippine Eurasia Motorsport team

In the LMP2 category, a Ligier JS P217 entered by the Philippine Eurasia Motorsport team with the logistics of Team US, Rick Ware Racing, the N ° 51 took part in the race. A collaboration that makes sparks. The crew Cody Ware, Sahil Yoluc, Austin Dillon and Sven Müller finished fourth in the category and tenth overall.

Part eighth, this LMP2 51 made a very good start and recovered three places in the first lap. Unfortunately after a spin it is relegated to the bottom of the LMP2 pack. After two hours of racing, she is seventh in the category and then fights in the top 5. During the night, she is forced to stop at the pits to change the rear cover. With nine hours of racing remaining, she climbs back to fourth place and will keep her position until the end of the race.

On arrival, Jacques Nicolet, President of Ligier Automotive, confided:

“Winning in two categories at the 24 Hours of Daytona, first in LMP2 overall with the Ligier JS P2 in 2016, and now in LMP3 with the Ligier JS P320, there is nothing more beautiful for a manufacturer.

And he continued:

“I am very proud of all of our teams in France and at Ligier Automotive North America. They have designed a great racing car and have worked hard to deliver all of our teams on time despite the current situation. Thank you to the racing teams who renewed their confidence in us or who chose us for this new adventure in the United States. They didn’t give up and all crossed the finish line. This result is the realization of a very good teamwork in every sense of the word! « 

See you now from March 17 to 20 for the second round of the IMSA US Endurance Championship, the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Francois LEROUX

Pictures : ROLEX – IMSA-TEAMS



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