The Ligier European Series to kick off the 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary
For the second year running, the Ligier JS P4s and Ligier JS2 Rs will race on the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit. This year's round will be even more exceptional than in 2022, as the Ligier European Series will be the first support race to mark the Centenary of the world's most famous motor racing event. Expected are 26 cars to compete in this unique round on Sunday, 4 June, as part of the Test Day.
Following the success of edition one in 2022, the Ligier European Series returns to the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit. And now it is just a matter of a few days before the Ligier JS P4 and Ligier JS2 R drivers experience (or relive, for those already present last season) the exhilarating experience of racing on one of the world's most iconic circuits.
The Ligier JS P4 category:
Entered are 12 Ligier JS P4s from nine teams for this second edition of the Le Mans Heat.
European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup stalwart Graff Racing will make its Ligier European Series debut with the #39 car driven by Jacopo D'Amato.
HPRacing Team by Monza Garage will line up a new driver for the #4 entry. Australian LMP3 regular James Winslow will get behind the wheel of the Ligier JS P4 for the first time.
Yuki Tanaka in the #16 Pegasus Racing Ligier JS P4 will drive solo in round two.
Fareed Ali will hand over the #14 Inter Europol Competition entry to his sons, Adam and Daniel Ali. The brothers raced in Barcelona in the European Le Mans Series and the Michelin Le Mans Cup and will now make their Ligier European Series debut.
Will Mihnea Stefan in the #48 Team Virage Ligier JS P4, who won twice in Barcelona, repeat at Le Mans? Or will he lose out to his #60 team-mates Bernardo Pinheiro and George King, who finished second in the first two races? Already entered in 2022 at the controls of the #23 Monza Garage Ligier JS P4, George King made a big impression in race 2 at Le Mans when he boldly snatched third place in the closing laps. Can he make the most of his familiarity with the track to defeat Mihnea Stefan?
Watch out also for Haytham Qarajouli, the 2022 JS2 R Champion, who is very familiar with the Le Mans circuit. After his first podium in Barcelona with team-mate Ian Aguilera in the #75 RLR MSport Ligier JS P4, he is clearly looking for more success. The same goes for the #50 Les Deux Arbres team with Steve Zacchia and Louis Rossi, who also scored a podium result in Barcelona. There's no question that the former Le Mans two-wheel racer, and no stranger to the 24 Hours of Le Mans motorbike race, will try to create a surprise on home soil.
Dimitri Enjalbert and Anthony Nahra, in the #17 from Pegasus Racing, finished runner-up in Race 1 in 2022. Will they win this year?
At the top of the PRO-AM classification, the American duo of Lance Fenton and Kevin Madsen in the #1 of Team Virage also have an advantage, having competed on the big track in the previous edition.
The Ligier JS2 R category:
The GT field will be strong, with 14 Ligier JS2 Rs. Six additional teams will join the season's entries. Among them are two teams new to the series: DS Event with the #12 driven by Anthony Perrin and Loire Valley Racing with the #27 for Ewen Hachez and Pascal Huteau.
After taking part in the first edition of the Le Mans Heat in 2022, LADC returns with three Ligier JS2 Rs: the #21 (Ivan Vercoutère), the #35 (Christian Gisy) and the #61 (Léo Payen). Extrême Limite is also back with the #64 for Marc Bonnet.
Two series regulars will also be in the mix: TM Evolution with the #25 for Frédéric Morel and M Racing with the #53 for Natan Bihel. The 2021 JS2 R champion raced last year at Le Mans in a Ligier JS P4, finishing second and third.
The battles were spectacular in Spain. How will the drivers react to the onslaught of this increased competition? Will the overall and AM leader David Rodorigo (#43 LR Motorsport) add another victory to his tally? Gilles Poret (#95 CTF Performance), who is just three points behind the leader, is also poised to score a win. Will Julien Lemoine, who narrowly missed out on victory in the first two races in the #6 from ANS Motorsport in Barcelona, triumph this time at Le Mans?
With just a few days to go, CTF Performance's second GT, the #96, was unfortunately forced to withdraw.
To mark the 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary, the Ligier European Series will feature a different format to its regular race meetings. The Heat will be a one-day affair on Sunday, 4 June, the official 24 Hours of Le Mans test day. The competitors will start with a free practice session from 8 am to 8:45 am (45 minutes), followed by a qualifying session (20 minutes). The one-hour race will start at 2 pm.
For the complete entry list, CLICK HERE.
For the Le Mans Heat programme, CLICK HERE.