With three races to go till the end of the season, the situation in LM P2 in the FIA World Endurance Championship couldn’t be more indecisive.
This weekend OAK Racing has entered three Morgan-Nissan LM P2s, built in its constructor’s department Onroak Automotive and shod with Dunlop tyres, for the Fuji 6 Hours, the antepenultimate round of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship. The Sarthe-based team is aiming for victory in the LM P2 category in which the battle will rage even more fiercely than before with the championship title as its aim.
But OAK Racing is three points behind Pecom Racing in the teams’ title chase. Olivier Pla, Alex Brundle and David Heinemeier Hansson, second in the Sarthe in no. 24, are also in the running for the drivers’ title as they are only 12 points behind their team-mates. All this promises a no-holds-barred battle on this technical, quick circuit with its 1500-metre long straight.
Jacques Nicolet and local driver, Keiko Ihara, will share the third Morgan-Nissan LM P2 in the Japanese race. Fernando Costa, the sculptor of the Art Car of the 90th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours, will be on hand to cheer on Jacques and Keiko in no. 45, which will carry the Art Car livery.
There will be a fourth Morgan-Nissan LM P2 at the start as Chinese team KCMG will return to the WEC for the first time since the Le Mans 24 Hours. Thus, in terms of numbers the cars designed and developed by Onroak Automotive, the OAK Racing constructor’s arm, will dominate on the grid for the Japanese round.
Sébastien Philippe, Team principal: “After a difficult race in the USA the whole team is determined to do a good job in the Fuji 6 Hours. It’s obvious that we lost points with no. 24 and no. 35. We’ll have to get down to the nitty-gritty and do everything in our power to win them back. The circuit should suit us as we were very quick here last year and we scored a top-three finish.
Jacques and Keiko will have a tough job on their hands as they will do the race without a third driver. So we’ll have to adapt our strategy as a result: more than ever they’ll have to adopt a consistent rhythm to see the chequered flag.”
Martin Plowman, no. 35 Morgan-Nissan LM P2: “Fuji is going to be a pivotal point in the championship, so it will be important that we come away from the weekend having given our best and left nothing on the table. The result in Austin was a setback for sure, but our performance was very strong there as we had a good chance to win. As a team we are starting to hit top gear at just the right time, so now it is important to execute and get the job done.”
Alex Brundle, No. 24 Morgan-Nissan LM P2: “I am really excited about continuing our championship challenge in Fuji. The #24 has fallen behind a bit in the recent rounds but we will work hard again in Japan to haul ourselves back to the front. It's not over yet!”
Keiko Ihara, No. 24 Morgan-Nissan LM P2: “I'm very excited about racing in my home round at Fuji, because Nissan supporters and lots of Japanese motor sport fans will come to the circuit and give me a big boost! We came fifth in the last race. So this time I'd like to stand on the podium with my team-mate Jacques Nicolet.”