“Hardly had the end-of-year festivities finished when the engines started to roar again out on the track! The aptly-named Roar before the Rolex 24 on 5-7 January sounded the start of the racing season. As has been the case since 2014, we were present at Daytona still filled with amazement as we stood in front of the pit sign named Ligier in honour of the Ligier JS P2's victory in the 2016 Daytona 24 Hours.
“While we had to face certain difficulties, tough rivals and tricky challenges in 2017, we've worked hard to tackle this coming season in the best possible conditions and to be at the top of our game where our potential to support and satisfy our teams is concerned. We're dreaming that 2018 will be a rich year full of numerous successes to share with them.
“I would like to send everybody my best wishes for success and happiness in the New Year.”
Andy has passed away
Onroak Automotive has just lost one of its most valued collaborators. Andrew Scriven, chief designer at the Onroak Automotive North America site, died on 24th December aged 57. Two months earlier he was the victim of a serious traffic accident while riding his bike. He finally succumbed to severe septicaemia after fighting bravely for several weeks.
He began his career as a designer in 1984 working for a succession of different constructors before joining Crawford Composites and Max and Jan Crawford's team in 1999. In parallel to forging very strong human links, Andy's 18 years of collaboration with the Crawford family resulted in several sports prototypes followed by single-seaters, the Ligier JS F4 and the Ligier JS F3. The latter, presented at Austin a few days after his accident, was his most recent creation.
MitJets in production at Amilly
The MitJet Series continues to meet with success. The Amilly workshops where new cars are being produced are working flat out. Denmark has ordered V6 MitJets and Germany 2-litre models.
Several concept cars in 2018
Among its new activities at its Amilly site, Onroak Automotive is working with different manufacturers on the design and production of platforms for their future concept cars. Agreements have been signed off for several projects, which will see the light of day at motor shows in 2018.
The Ligier JS P4 on show in Birmingham
Onroak Automotive is present this weekend at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham. It's the not-to-be-missed early-season rendezvous where professionals and fans from all branches of motor sport can meet up. Among the different models on show the new Ligier JS P4 will be a real eye-catcher!
The Roar before the Rolex 24 at Daytona
Last weekend the start of the season was marked by the Roar before the Rolex 24, the Daytona 24-Hours official test session. The entrants in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship were present at the American circuit for three days' testing and a qualifying session to allocate places on the pit lane for the race.
This year, no fewer than five cars from the Onroak Automotive Le Mans workshops are taking part in the mythical American race: the #2 and #22 Nissan DPis run by Tequila Patron ESM, the #23 and #32 Ligier JS P217s from the United Autosports stable and the #52 Ligier JS P217 entered by Mathiasen Motorsports.
Next event: Rolex 24 at Daytona, round 1, 25-28 January
1st victory in the 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge
The Daytona event was also the theatre of the first round of the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda. After winning 11 of the 13 races in the first Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda, the Ligier JS P3 was again in the winner's circle at Daytona where it took the chequered flag in first place after 1h 40-minutes racing. The #4 Ligier JS P3 entered by ANSA Motorsports driven by young Roman De Angelis finished in front of the Norma M30 LM P3 run by Forty 7 Motorsports and the Extreme Speed Motorsports #30 and #3 Ligier JS P3s.
Next event: Sebring, round 2, 14-17 March
Ligier JS P3s in Dubai
The first of the six rounds of the 2018 24 Hours Proto Series was held on the Dubai circuit between 5-7 January. Three 3-hour races were on the weekend's programme, the first of the three rounds counting for the “Championship of the Continents”.
Among the three Ligier JS P3s entered, Graff brought #44 home in first place in the LM P3 category and second overall in the opening race. The Speedworks Motorsport #22 Ligier JS P3 won the next two in LM P3 as well as clinching a place on the overall podium on both occasions.
Next event: Silverstone 12H, round 1 European Championship, 9-11 March.
Buriram (Thailand): 3rd round of the Asian Le Mans Series
Four Ligier JS P2s and five Ligier JS P3s are racing in the 2017-2018 Asian Le Mans Series. The #37 Ligier JS P2 run by Chinese team BBT, which finished second in Zhuhai and Fuji, is in second place overall just before this weekend's race in Thailand. It is followed by the ARC Bratislava and Algarve Pro Racing #4 and #25 Ligier JS P2s. In the LM P3 category the Jackie Chan DC Racing, Viper Niza Racing and KCMG teams fill the first three places in the classification with the #6, #65 and #18 Ligier JS P3s.
Next events: Buriram, Thailand, round 3, 11-13 January and round 4 (final) Sepang Malaysia, 2-4 February.