Onroak Automotive at Le Mans Classic

Onroak Automotive has been a racing car constructor since 2013 and has showcased its knowhow in the greatest modern endurance events. The company uses this experience and its human, technical and logistical resources to provide restoration, preparation and operating facilities for both modern and historic racing cars.

The 9th staging of Le Mans Classic, a not-to-be-missed rendezvous for lovers of classic endurance racing, took place this weekend and attracted a crowd of no fewer than 135 000 spectators, as well as more than 700 cars built between 1923 and 2016. Obviously, Onroak Automotive was involved, with a 2013 Morgan LM P2 and the 2007 Pescarolo LM P1 for the Global Endurance Legends demonstrations plus a Lotus Elan 26R and the 1972 Duckhams entered for grids 4 and 5 respectively.

The latter, among whose results was a twelfth-place finish in the 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours, won the grid 5 race in the 2018 Le Mans Classic despite stiff opposition from the powerful Lola T70s and the nimble Ligier JS3. In the hands of Jacques Nicolet, the #38 Duckhams finished the three races in 5th, 2nd and 1st places winning the combined overall classification.

The Duckhams' chassis was restored in the Onroak Automotive workshops at Le Mans and its V8 Ford Cosworth engine rebuilt by Sodemo thanks to collaboration between the two companies in the Everspeed Group.

In parallel to the six grids in Le Mans Classic, the Global Endurance Legends put on two demonstrations of 30 and 35 minutes reserved for GTs and sports prototypes from the 1990s and 2000s.

Boosted by its history and its knowhow in the preparation of recent sports prototypes, Onroak Automotive looked after the revision, preparation and operation of two sports prototypes for their owners as the cars were conceived in their time by the engineers of the Onroak Automotive design department:

  • The Pescarolo 01 LM P1, 3rd in the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours
  • A 2013 Morgan LM P2

Jean-Marc Merlin, the Morgan's owner, rediscovered the car still in its eye-catching Art Car livery, which he drove in the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Henri Pescarolo and Jacques Nicolet drove successively and with the same enthusiasm the Pescarolo LM P1 that finished third in the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours behind Audi and Peugeot.

Henri Pescarolo, one of the leading figures in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours with 33 outing and 4 victories in the Sarthe classic, was delighted to be back on the famous circuit. He joked with Jacques Nicolet as he got out of the car: “I'd like to thank you for allowing me to drive my car. When I was the boss of my own team I had drivers and I had to let them drive:” He also said, “I've almost never driven a car with a paddle shift and so much downforce and being in the open air is something I adore; it's like it was back in the Matra era. It's just sheer happiness and an absolute pleasure. I didn't try to find the limits as above all I wanted to bring it back to you in one piece!

Jacques shared the same enthusiasm as he got out of the car: “It was a real pleasure with some incredible sensations, but unfortunately it was all too short! It gives a good idea of what could be a new category of historic LMP machines. It's really fantastic to drive these cars using older engines, in my case today, the V10 Judd, and to do so in complete safety with carbon monocoques and crash boxes.”


Photo DPPI images