Fine collective result for Onroak Automotive’s Morgan in qualifying for Le Mans 24H

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Four LM P2 prototypes produced in the French manufacturer’s workshops finished in the top ten of the category.

The Morgan LM P2s designed and built by Onroak Automotive, OAK Racing’s constructor department, were on sparkling form during qualifying for the 81st edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Four prototypes produced in the French manufacturer’s workshops finished in the top ten of the category, with pole position claimed by OAK Racing and a great result for Morand Racing, who qualified fourth, and KCMG, who were sixth. All of which means that there will be a Morgan LM P2 on the front, second and third row of the starting grid!

#43 Morand Racing Morgan LMP2 Judd: Natacha Gachnang, Franck Mailleux, Olivier Lombard
#43 Morand Racing Morgan LMP2 Judd: Natacha Gachnang, Franck Mailleux, Olivier Lombard

Photo by: James M. Holland

Contested in changing weather conditions, qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans was especially complicated this year. And yet the Morgan LM P2 prototypes all showed a remarkable level of performance, regardless of the engine or tyres used.

“I am very pleased with what is a great overall result for our constructor department,” analyzed Jacques Nicolet, OAK Racing Team Owner.

“It’s just rewards for the efforts of the department to have four Morgan LM P2s in the top 10 of the category, with the added bonus of the pole position secured by Olivier Pla. It’s all the more interesting that it has been achieved with different engines and tyres.

It shows the quality of our cars and the capacity of the chassis on the Le Mans circuit, and how well they have been prepared, for OAK Racing as well as for our Swiss customer, Morand Racing and our Chinese customer, KCMG.

These are two young teams at Le Mans so it’s fantastic to see them already at this level with our equipment. All they have to do is keep up their good form in the race!”

Morand Racing’s Morgan LM P2, powered by a Judd engine, caused quite a stir on Wednesday. At one stage, Franck Mailleux held the second fastest time in the category. Although ultimately they finished fourth, the three drivers of Joe Genoud and Benoît Morand’s team are in with a serious chance.

“Obviously, we are very happy with this result,” commented Benoit Morand, Morand Racing Team Manager. “Everything went well and we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made since the Test Day. And yet because of the poor weather, we didn’t get that much track time.

That just goes to show how skilled our team is and how talented our drivers are. Everyone did their bit. Natacha Gachnang and Olivier Lombard worked a lot of the set-up and Franck Mailleux set about the task of recording a great time on Wednesday evening, which he managed to do in just four laps.

It’s a great team result. The Judd/Dunlop/Morgan-Onroak chassis package has been proven to be very effective, which augurs well for the race.”

This is the very first time that Chinese team KCMG have competed at Le Mans, entering the no.47 Morgan-Nissan LM P2. The only car in the race where all three drivers have never competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans before, the first job of Alexandre Imperatori, Ho -Ping Tung and Matthew Howson was therefore to get accustomed to legendary circuit.

The three men went even better than that, as they managed to qualify their car in sixth position in the category, a remarkable achievement for the first Chinese team ever to take part in Le Mans.

Paul Ip, managing director of KCMG was therefore very pleased after qualifying: “We are flattered to take part in this great race for the first time and managing to finish in the top six in qualifying is a very good result.

Alex Imperatori did a great job and the combination of Morgan chassis, Nissan engine and Michelin tyres seem reliable and quick. We were comfortable in dry conditions and in the wet, thanks to the tyres.”

After a final day of preparations on Friday, including the driver parade, it’ll be time to get on with the race. The race gets underway on Saturday, at 3pm.

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About this article
Series LEMANS
Article type Qualifying reports
Tags gachnang, genoud, imperatori, lemans, lombard, mailleux, morand racing, morgan, nicolet, oak racing, onroak, pla

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