LMP2 : 8 cars
26 D G-Drive Racing Roman Rusinov/Sam Bird/Julien Canal Ligier JS P2 Nissan
28 D G-Drive Racing Gustavo Yacaman/Luis Felipe Derani/Ricardo Gonzalez Ligier JS P2 Nissan
30 D Extreme Speed Motorsports Scott Sharp/Ryan Dalziel/David Heinemeier Hansson HPD ARX 03B Honda
31 D Extreme Speed Motorsports Ed Brown/David Brabham/Jon Fogarty HPD ARX 03B Honda
35 D Oak Racing Jacques Nicolet/Jean-Marc Merlin/Erik Maris Ligier JS P2 Nissan
36 D Signatech Alpine Nelson Panciatici/Paul-Loup Chatin/Vincent Capillaire Alpine A450B Nissan
39 D Team Sard Morand Christian Klein/Koki Saga/Zoel Amberg Morgan Evo SARD WITHDRAWN
42 M Strakka Racing Nick Leventis/Jonny Kane/Danny Watts Strakka Dome S103 – Nissan
43 D Team Sard Morand Pierre Ragues/Oliver Webb/Tristan Vautier Morgan Evo SARD WITHDRAWN
47 D KCMG Matthew Howson/Richard Bradley/Nick Tandy ORECA 05 Nissan
After a very disappointing full season entry last year the WEC full-season entry has exploded (in a good way) in 2015. Variety, color, talent in depth. By any measure this is a top-class field that will make a major contribution to the FIA WEC “show.”
There was some bad news breaking this week as the concerns over SARD Morand’s programs sadly proved prescient, with the team confirming that they will not be present at Silverstone as legal processes make snail-like progress to sort out the current and future ownership of the Morand Engineering part of the package.
First up it’s one of two teams returning after 2014. G-Drive Racing though are doubling its efforts with a pair of Ligier-Nissans.
The cars both sport a gorgeous orange and gray livery with the #26 car seeing Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal reprising their 2014 roles, Olivier Pla though has departed for Nissan LMP1 duty, to be replaced by rapid Brit Sam Bird.
The sister #28 Ligier-Nissan is an all South American affair. Quick Columbian driver Gustavo Yacaman making the switch from North America, Mexican Ricardo Gonzalez back for another WEC campaign and Brazilian Luis Felipe (Pipo) Derani making his WEC debut.
Derani has raced in LMP2 in the ELMS but steps up to the world stage for the full season. His racing background has focused on open-wheelers but the LMP cars seem to suit him very well indeed, this car might impress.
Tequila Patron ESM has had a traumatic run in to the season start with their chosen weapon, the HPD 04a LMP2 Coupe proving not to be up to scratch in its launched form, the team making a very late switch back to its older 03b Spyders until a pair of new Ligier-Hondas are ready (currently slated for Spa).
There’s little to fault in the driver lineups, the #30 car (TOP) boasting the talents of Ryan Dalziel alongside Scott Sharp and silver-rated David Heinemeier Hansson.
The trauma has continued, though, for the sister #31 car, Ed Brown and Jon Fogarty were due to be joined by Johannes van Overbeek but JvO has suffered a rib injury, so there has been a late call-up for none other than 2009 Le Mans winner David Brabham.
The #35 car is another Ligier-Nissan, this time in the traditional Oak Racing black and shocking pink for the all Gentleman driver squad of Erik Maris, Jean-Marc Merlin and Onroak Automotive owner Jacques Nicolet.
Signatech Alpine move up to the WEC after a two-year winning stretch in the European Le Mans Series. The team will stick with its ORECA 03R (homlogated as an Alpine A450B for these purposes) and retain its rather lovely “Alpine Blue” livery.
Nelson Panciatici has raced in the WEC before but this is a step up for his teammates, Paul-Loup Chatin and ex-Sebastien Loeb Racing man Vincent Capillaire.
Strakka Racing is a welcome addition to the grid after extended delays getting the Dome S103 Nissan to the track, Dome design issues and a protracted redesign kept the team from sports car competition throughout 2014.
The car looks the part – the “Beast” to Ligier’s “Beauty” – and was on the pace at the Prologue, with more to come for sure. Danny Watts, Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis were looking very ready to get back to action. Don’t bet against this effort being at the sharp end of the racing in LMP2 from the start of the season. Silverstone provides the extra boost of a home race to (re) start their racing efforts, as this is the only all-British full-season effort on the grid.
Finally (for now at least) come another team returning for another crack at the WEC having hit race-winning and title challenging form last year – KCMG.
The team has parked its trusty ORECA 03R in favor of a brand-new ORECA 05 Nissan coupe (and have ordered a second for use on a race-by-race basis later in the season).
There’s another all-British driver squad at Silverstone with the returning talents of Matt Howson and Richard Bradley joined for the season (with the exception of Spa and Le Mans) by Porsche factory driver Nick Tandy (he’ll be replaced at those two races where he’ll be on Porsche LMP1 duty, by Toyota Test and development man Nicolas Lapierre).
This is a quality team, with a brand-new car but the standout aspect here for those watching trackside is going to be the color! The blue-foiled color scheme on the #47 car is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, and the signs are that the team’s pace might mean that the crowd, and the TV audience, get to see plenty of it!
Originally on DailySportsCar.com