After a long off-season, the 6 Hours of Silverstone marks the launch of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship on April 13/14 where OAK Racing will line-up three Morgan LM P2s designed by their manufacturer department Onroak Automotive. The team’s #24, #35 and #45 prototypes will all be powered by the Nissan VK45 engine, shod with Dunlop tyres and sport the team’s traditional pink and black livery.
The British race sees the introduction of new qualifying regulations. Two drivers from each car are required to share the 20-minute session in which the crew with the lowest cumulative time over their fastest laps will take pole position.
And after recording the two quickest times in the official test at Paul Ricard, the La Sarthe-based team heads to the opening race full of confidence despite the undoubted quality of the opposition.
Sébastien Philippe, OAK Racing Team Principal: “The off-season was very long because we returned to racing a month later than in previous years, but we are all motivated, both the team and drivers. We have had time to prepare and I hope this will bear fruit during the first round of the World Championship. Testing at Le Castellet went very well, which offers reasons to be optimistic, but not all of the teams competing in the championship were present and the opposition looks exceptional. However, I hope that the race will be dry because, even though the Morgan-Nissan LM P2 behaves well in the wet, it would prevent the lottery that rain inevitably creates. Regardless, we are all eager to be back on the track!”
Alex Brundle, #24 Morgan-Nissan LM P2: “We have done the hard work in testing and have a good package so I feel confident heading into the first race of the season. I think the weather is going to play a part in the weekend so hopefully we can put together a reactive strategy that will yield a good result. It is always special as a young British driver coming to Silverstone and I am looking forward to the support of the home fans throughout the event.”
Martin Plowman, #35 Morgan-Nissan LM P2: “I'm eager to finally kick-start the 2013 season. There is a genuine air of optimism within the team, a feeling that we are as prepared as we possibly can be and we all believe in each other to get the job done. The start of the season is always an exciting and anxious time as no one truly knows where they stand against other teams or what to expect. I'm going into the first race with an open mind. Silverstone is one of many new tracks for me this year. That may come as a shock to many since I grew up only 90 minutes from the track, but I have never raced there. I spent some solid time in the simulator last week to learn the track and I have spent countless hours watching on-board videos and taking notes. I don't want to leave any small details to chance as track time is very limited and this series is extremely competitive.”
Jean-Marc Merlin, #45 Morgan-Nissan LM P2: “Following the successful test days at Le Castellet I am very much looking forward to my first WEC race at Silverstone. The track is very special and the passion of the English public is second to none. My objective is to reach the finish line and accumulate as much experience as possible in traffic before the Le Mans 24 Hours. I am counting on OAK Racing’s wealth of experience, as well as that of my co-driver and team owner Jacques Nicolet to quickly move up the learning curve.”
The team’s manufacturer department Onroak Automotive will be well represented this weekend at Silverstone. Indeed, the #47 Morgan-Nissan LM P2 run by Chinese squad KCMG is entering the 6 Hours of Silverstone in preparation for the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Asian Le Mans Series. Meanwhile, the Judd-powered #43 Morgan LM P2 of Swiss outfit Morand Racing is contesting the season opening 3-hour European Le Mans Series round in which LM P2 is the premier category.