OAK Racing to launch customer LMP2 program at Petit Le Mans
Following the fine showing of the team’s three prototypes at the recent 6 Hours of Silverstone, where the #24 LMP1 car finished third behind Peugeot and Audi, OAK Racing is delighted to announce that the forthcoming ILMC round at Road Atlanta in America will see the launch of its customer LMP2 program.
OAK Racing: an LMP2 constructor moving forward
OAK Racing will be the best represented constructor at this year’s classic 1000-mile/10-hour race with no less than four OAK-Pescarolo chassis entered. Two LMP1s (#15 and #24) and a single LMP2 (#35) will carry the colors of OAK Racing, while a fourth LMP2-spec OAK-Pescarolo (#49) has been entered by the United Autosports team. It marks the first time in the company’s history that an OAK-Pescarolo chassis has been run without the assistance of OAK Racing.
OAK-Pescarolo LMP2 prototypes have always been developed under the guidance of OAK Racing and, since 2010, by its own Design Office, culminating in the team winning the Le Mans Series LMP2 manufacturers’ title in 2010.
“The OAK-Pescarolo LMP2 2012 will benefit from all chassis and aerodynamic development work conducted on both the existing LMP1 and LMP2s throughout 2011 and will fully comply with the ACO’s regulations as of 1st January 2012,” explains Jacques Nicolet, Team Owner of OAK Racing. “The LMP2 will be available from the second half of February onwards. We have commenced production on six chassis, each of which are designed to accommodate any type of engine. This package complies with the cost cap and regulations implemented by the ACO. We are keen to expand our international base so are targeting private teams competing throughout America, Europe and Asia in endurance championships such as the Le Mans Series – where LMP2 will become the premier class – and American Le Mans Series, as well as events to be announced as part of the FIA World Championship. Contact with potential teams is already well advanced.”
By not only racing but also achieving success with its own cars, OAK Racing has acquired substantial experience, particularly in LMP2, of the potential issues that face private teams. OAK Racing is therefore able to transfer that understanding of the elements that affect real-world racing to the decisions made during each component’s manufacturing process. This integrated approach allows the company to offer its customer teams a support structure adapted to their specific needs.
With that in mind, a 2012 development-spec LMP2 car and testing base at the Val de Vienne circuit, near Poitiers, will be made available to teams as early as mid-January early next year.
Petit Le Mans, penultimate round of the ILMC
Petit Le Mans, where round six of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup shares the circuit with the American Le Mans Series’ ninth and final race of 2011, represents a fresh opportunity for OAK Racing to conduct further long-term development work.
The 1000-mile/10-hour race will take place at Road Atlanta on Saturday 1st October. OAK Racing returns for its second US outing this year with three crews as motivated as ever.
The #15 LMP1 will be driven by Matthieu Lahaye, Guillaume Moreau and Pierre Ragues. All three have numerous podium finishes to their name, most notably at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2008 and ‘10 while contesting the LMP2 class with OAK Racing. The sister #24 LMP1 machine sees Silverstone’s rostrum-collecting duo Alexandre Prémat and Olivier Pla joined by the experienced gentleman racer Jean-François Yvon who also has two Le Mans 24 Hours podium finishes under his belt, including in 2009 at the wheel of an OAK Racing LMP2. Both crews are keen to reproduce the potential first seen in Sebring at the beginning of the season and confirmed at Silverstone where the team finished third and fifth.
In LMP2, team owner Jacques Nicolet joins Frédéric Da Rocha and Patrice Lafargue in the #35 car. This trio climbed the LMP2 class podium at Petit Le Mans in 2010 and will be keen to do so once again in the ILMC.
The two test days offered by organizers on Sunday 25 and Monday 26 September will allow the team to re-familiarize itself with the circuit and offer feedback ahead of official free practice which gets underway on Wednesday 28.