Ligier European Series: Team Virage and Zosh Compétition, the big winners of the first Le Mans Heat
39 cars, 12 Ligier JS P4s and 27 Ligier JS2 Rs, arrived for the first edition of the Le Mans Heat that took place from 8 to 11 June 2022 on the big Le Mans circuit. The speeds were crazy, over 270 km/h for the Ligier JS P4, and battles raged in the categories. Team Virage unbeaten since the start of the season continued to impose its law and won both races. In the Ligier JS2 R category, Zosh Compétition the triple Ligier JS Cup France championship winning team in the Ligier JS2 R, left their mark on their debut in the series by clinching a double victory.
For this not-to-be-missed round of the 2022 calendar, the Ligier European Series doubled its numbers and attracted drivers from all walks of life. The series welcomed its first 100% American lineup with Kevin Madsen and Lence Fenton at the wheel of the #50 Ligier JS P4 run by Les Deux Arbres.
Free practice 1 and 2: Constantly improving lap times
The first driving sessions started on Wednesday with two free practice sessions of 45 minutes each. The first in the morning, on the dry asphalt after an early morning shower. The second later in the afternoon.
Four different teams shared the fastest times in their respective classes in these two sessions: Natan Bihel in the #53 M Racing Ligier JS P4 in 4:11.991 and Mathieu Martins, back in the series with Orhès Racing (#24 Ligier JS2 R), in 4:22.447 in the morning; Gillian Henrion (#16 Team Virage Ligier JS P4) in 4:08.110 and the duo in the #10 Zosh - Di Environnement Ligier JS2 R (Jean-René de Fournoux and Hugo Rosati) in 4:20.578 in the afternoon.
To read the free practice 1 report, CLICK HERE.
To read the free practice 2 report, CLICK HERE.
Qualifying : Team Virage, ANS Motorsport and Zosh - Di Environnement on pole position
The two qualifying sessions to determine the starting grids for the two 50-minute races took place on Thursday morning. In the first session, Gillian Henrion (#16 Team Virage Ligier JS P4) snatched pole position from the #3 car with the fastest lap in 4:05.377s. In the GT category, the #6 ANS Motorsport Ligier JS2 R (Mathys Jaubert) was at the top of the table from the start of the session, ahead of the #24 Orhès Racing (Mathieu Martins). Mathys Jaubert took pole position in his championship debut with a time of 4:18.103s.
Session 2 was affected by a number of "slow zones" which prevented most of the teams from completing their laps in good form. When the session resumed, another incident followed. While some of the Ligier JS P4s did complete a full lap, it was a missed opportunity for the Ligier JS2 Rs. Gillian Henrion in the #16 Team Virage Ligier JS P4 secured the pole for race 2 of the Le Mans Heat with his best lap of 4:07.091s. In the Ligier JS2 R category, the #10 Zosh - Di Environnement (Hugo Rosati) finished top of the timing screen with its best time of 4:24.097s, ahead of the #63 of M3 (Sylvain Caroff).
To read the qualifying report, CLICK HERE.
Race 1: Team Virage and Zosh – Di Environnement garner the laurels of victory
As expected, the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit was the scene of a spectacular display on Friday, 10 June 2022, when race one of the Ligier European Series took place on the legendary French track. A race of extreme tension with several yellow flags.
The #16 Team Virage Ligier JS P4 won race one of the Ligier European Series at Le Mans, setting the fastest lap of 4:05.688s. The #17 Pegasus Racing car put in a solid race with its second consecutive top-three finish, this time in second place. Natan Bihel in the #53 completed the podium, with his fourth top-three result of the season.
In the Ligier JS2 R class, Zosh - Di Environnement (#10) wins over ANS Motorsport (#6). The duo of the #10, Jean-René De Fournoux and Hugo Rosati, started second, and took the lead with 10 minutes to go. The young drivers of the ANS Motorsport #6, Mathys Jaubert and Gregory Segers, only 17 and 21 years old, finished in second place. The podium was completed by the CTF Performance #95 of Alban Varutti and Nicolas Béraud.
To read the race 1 report, CLICK HERE.
Race 2 : Team Virage and Zosh – Di Environnement double up
Second race of the Ligier European Series on the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit on Saturday morning, just a few hours before the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and a master stroke for Team Virage and Zosh Di - Environnement. The #16 Ligier JS P4 and the #10 Ligier JS2 R leave the legendary French circuit with double victory in their pockets.
In the Ligier JS P4 category, the battle for the front row was fierce. Gillian Henrion at the wheel of the #16 Team Virage made his mark once again. In second place Natan Bihel in the #53 M Racing Ligier JS P4 was not letting up. He successfully battled against the #23 Monza Garage (George King and Ronnie Valori) and the #50 Les Deux Arbres (Kevin Madsen and Lance Fenton). Smart Driving's #44 (Alexandru Mirea and Philip Andriescu) had a great race. Fourth, it managed to steal third place from the #23 of Monza Garage. But the latter put its opponent under pressure in the final lap before taking the lead. The #23 Ligier JS P4 crossed the finish line in third place.
It was a hectic start for the JS2 R class. The #10 of Zosh Di - Environnement maintained the lead throughout the race. Qualifying 18th in the class, the #6 ANS Motorsport Ligier JS2 R made an impressive comeback and took second place thirteen minutes before the finish line. The #72 of LADC Motorsport (Paul Cocaign and Xavier Follenfant) battled with several Ligier JS2 R's for third place and eventually won.
To read the race 2 report, CLICK HERE.
A massively entertaining round on the Le Mans 24 Hours circuit is now in the record books. The Ligier European Series field will be back in action for round four of the season before the summer hiatus on 1-2 July at the Temple of Speed, Monza.
For more information about the series, CLICK HERE.