A late-blooming passion
Jacques Nicolet was born in Monaco on the 5th of April 1956. His parents were hoteliers and moved to the Vaucluse shortly after. Passionate about motorsport from a young age, this discipline seemed out of reach and he concentrated on real-estate as soon as he finished his studies, building a great career in the Pierre et Vacances group, which he left to co-found Altarea. He waited until he was 42 before taking part in his first race, the ‘Deux Tours d'Horloge' in 1998 with his two brothers at the wheel of an Alfa Giulia 1600 Spider. Over the course of the historic and more modern races, he proved to be a skilled gentlemen driver and built an impressive record in endurance racing, with, to this day, no fewer than 9 participations in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, and a LM P2 podium in 2009.
The creation of the Everspeed group
Although his passion was on hold for a long time, it did not let go and he went full speed into his motorsport career. As a seasoned business leader. Because his activity as a gentleman driver is just the visible side of this passion. In less than 10 years he's created a group of companies linked to the automotive and competition sector, Everspeed, and distanced himself bit by bit from his activities in real-estate.
It all began with taking over the Saulnier Racing team in 2007 in Magny-Cours, which took its first podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans the following year. Renamed OAK Racing and installed at Le Mans, the team won the LM P2 victory in the World Endurance Championship in 2013 and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. To ensure the sustainability of his company as well as realising his dream, he turned to the racing car manufacturing sector. It was the birth of Onroak Automotive (today Ligier Automotive) and the Morgan LM P2 which emerged from the Le Mans workshops, followed by the creation of a composite materials processing plant in Italy.
The meeting of two wills
This new chapter took on a special dimension at the end of 2013, when Jacques Nicolet decided with Guy Ligier to build new sports prototypes and to give the brand a new boost. In the lands of Nevers and Le Mans. Guy Ligier had not forgotten his first client of the Ligier JS49 in 2006. A friendship was born, little by little, fed on their shared passion, the meeting of two strong temperaments and the complicity of two bosses used to fighting on all fronts to maintain and develop their enterprises. More than forty years after the creation of the legendary brand bearing his name, Guy Ligier saw the birth and the victories, on several continents, of an LM P2 with initials dear to his heart – the Ligier JS P2. He witnessed the new market of the LM P3 with the Ligier JS P3. He followed the beginnings of the Ligier JS P217 project.
Despite the sad disappearance of this emblematic figure of French motorsport in 2015, Jacques Nicolet has the intention to continue to make the French brand shine all over the world. This was already done at the start of 2016 with the victory of the Ligier JS P2 in the 24 Hours of Daytona, which marked the first victory for a French manufacturer in this legendary American race.