Ligier Automotive prepares to put on a show with two Ligier JS P2s at the Gulf Historic Dubai GP Revival
No respite for the French manufacturer. While the American and European championship seasons concluded a few weeks ago, Ligier Automotive returns to the race track and will participate in the Gulf Historic Dubai GP Revival from 8 to 10 December 2023. And this time, it won't be with modern racing cars, but with sport-prototypes that have become 'historic'. The manufacturer's classic department has restored two JS P2s, the first Ligier LM P2s. Cars steeped in history with which Ligier became World Champion in 2015 and overall winner at the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans in 2016. At the controls of these cars are some very special drivers: Jacques Nicolet in the #22 and in the #28, the hero of the Gran Turismo film Jann Mardenborough and well-known French driver Nicolas Prost.
The historic Ligier JS P2
While the French manufacturer has already won several races on the Dubai circuit, with the Ligier JS P320 in the Asian Le Mans Series since 2021 and the Ligier JS2 R in the 24H Series in 2022, this is the first time that the French manufacturer will participate in the Gulf Historic Dubai GP Revival. For this event, Ligier Automotive is doubling up with two Ligier JS P2s, its first LM P2 Ligiers, homologated by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest from 2014 to 2016 in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), European Le Mans Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (WSCC).
These sports prototypes, now considered 'historic', have an extraordinary track record with the pole position and second place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in its inaugural year in 2014, the LMP2 title in the World Endurance Championship in 2015 and overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans in 2016. The Ligier JS P2 bowed out of the endurance championships in the Asian Le Mans Series in 2018/2019 with one last title. Ligier Automotive made history with this model when it became the first and only French manufacturer to win the Daytona 24 Hours overall and the first manufacturer since Ferrari in 1996 to win these three major American races in the same year.
These Ligier JS P2s have been restored by the French manufacturer's classic department, which was established a few years ago to give these racing cars a second lease of life by overhauling them and running them in historic races for customers or on its behalf: Ligier JS2, Ligier JS P2, Ligier JS P3, Martini*, Pescarolo LM P1 and LM P2, Morgan LM P2**.
For its first appearance at the Dubai GP Revival, Ligier Automotive has chosen several high-profile drivers to make its mark. In the #22 Ligier JS P2, Jacques Nicolet, President of Ligier Automotive and, moreover, a passionate gentlemen driver, will be back in the LMP2 he drove from 2014 to 2016. “It's a great pleasure for me to experience the Dubai circuit,” comments Jacques Nicolet.
“And to rediscover the Ligier JS P2, the first new-generation Ligier that Guy Ligier had the time to get to know and which successfully marked the start of the Ligier brand's racing revival. It gives me great satisfaction to drive this car in a historic race.”
Behind the wheel of the #28 Ligier JS P2, British driver Jann Mardenborough, who inspired the film Gran Turismo, will share the wheel with Frenchman Nicolas Prost. As with Jacques, it will be a reunion for Jann and the Ligier JS P2. The gamer-turned-professional driver raced this LM P2 in his second appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014, with a fine fifth in the LM P2 standings for the leading team at the 22nd hour of the race before a mechanical incident saw them drop down the standings.
“I'm delighted to be back racing in a Ligier JS P2 alongside Jacques and Nico, especially in Dubai, where I drove my first international race”, says Jann Mardenborough. “Thanks to Ligier for reuniting me with one of my favourite race cars.”
Nicolas Prost has made ten appearances at Le Mans in LMP1, including two wins in LMP1-L and two in the Petit Le Mans. He is also no stranger to the French marque's racing cars, having tested the Ligier JS P320 and driven the Ligier JS2 R in test and competition on several occasions.
“I'm so happy to drive the Ligier JS P2,” exclaims Nicolas Prost. “It's a car that marks an era during which I did a lot of endurance racing. I'm delighted to be back with the Nicolet family and to drive alongside Jann.”
The Ligier JS P2s will be running at the invitation of the organisers in the “Le Mans 00s” category. The 45-minute free practice session will take place on Friday December 8 at 10:35 am. It will be followed by a thirty-minute qualifying session at 4:05 pm. The first 40-minute race will take place on Saturday at 3:20 pm and the second race of the same duration on Sunday at 4:35 pm.
For more information on the Ligier JS P2, CLICK HERE or contact email@example.com
For the Dubai GP Revival timetable, CLICK HERE.
* Ligier Automotive has owned Martini Automobiles since the merger between Guy Ligier and Tico Martini in 2000.
** All these models have been developed and operated by Ligier Automotive at some point in its history.