Le Mans 2014 – the LM P2 class: all hail the sportscar

Le Mans 2014 – the LM P2 class: all hail the sportscar

In recent years, some historical brands of European sportscars have lent their names to LM P2 class prototypes, extending the road legend of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Thus, they will be three at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans: two French - Alpine and Ligier, and one English - Morgan.

Morgan, a return to apotheosis – Created in 1910, Morgan is one of the oldest builders of small sportscars in the world.  After first having built its singularity on three-wheeled models, (two in the front, one in the back), the British brand launched the Plus 4 in 1950, whose timeless silhouette is still copied to this day. At the beginning of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2012, Jacques Nicolet, owner of Oak Racing, partnered with Morgan and rechristened his prototypes with this name. In 2013, the Morgan cars of the Le Mans teams won both the LM P2 class at the 24 Hours and in the World Championship (driver and team titles). Three Morgan cars were on the list of entries in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for 2014. They are secured by Oak Racing, G-Drive Racing and NewBlood by Morand Racing.

Alpine, a winning return – When Jean Rédélé launched the Alpine brand in 1955 (in reference to his victory the year before in the Coupe des Alpes rally), one of the most fantastic chapters in the last half-century of French motorsports history began. A saga most notably marked by the domination of the Alpine A110 car (Berlinette) in the World Rally Championship and by the victory of the Renault-Alpine A442 B at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1978. Alpine rediscovered circuits in 2013 via Carlos Tavarès, former number 2 of Renault now with Peugeot. With a combination of Oreca-Nissan renamed the Alpine A450, the French team Signatech Alpine won the driver and team titles in the 2013 European Le Mans Series. It will be one of the cars to watch in the LM P2 class in the next 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ligier, an exciting return – Driver (eight participations at Le Mans, twelve Formula 1 Grand Prix) and public works entrepreneur, Guy Ligier created the brand that bears his name in 1969. Two years later the JS2 car came into existence. Simultaneously road sportscar and racecar, it finished second in the 24 Hours in 1975, with Jean-Louis Lafosse and Guy Chasseuil at the wheel, after having won the automobile Tour de France in 1974 with Gérard Larrousse, Jean-Pierre Nicolas and Johnny Rives at the helm. After 38 years of absence, Ligier is back at Le Mans, at the initiative of Jacques Nicolet. Two models of a new prototype named JS P2 have been announced for the 24 Hours in the LM P2 class for the Oak Racing-Team Asia and the Thiriet by TDS Racing team, respectively.

Jean-Philippe Doret / ACO

The 82nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place June 14-15, 2014.

Photo : LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY JUNE 22 2013, RACE. At the 2014 24 Hours, Alpine will be joined in La Sarthe by another big French name in motorsports : Ligier.