LMS: OAK Racing and Dunlop; P1 Partnership Begins.

 

OAK Racing runs Dunlop-shod at Zhuhai.

OAK Racing's Dunlop-shod Pescarolo 01-Judd during the ILMC finale at the 1000km Zhuhai. - Image Courtesy John Dagys/Speedtv.com

After a successful 2010 campaign spanning the Le Mans series, Le Mans 24 Hour, and inaugural running of the Intercontinental Cup, French team OAK Racing has recently unveiled it’s plans for the 2011 season.

During a recent press release, the Jacques Nicolet-led squad announced the formation of a new partnership with tyre supplier Dunlop and with it, unveiled plans to enter the LMP1 category. This agreement will see the OAK team, formerly the pseudo-development squad for Mazda Racing France, take on tyre development duties for the famous British supplier. As of 2011 OAK Racing will enter the premiere category of ACO prototype competition, while acting as the official LMP1 Dunlop tyre development squad.

Despite having already supplied OAK, and several other LMP teams (i.e. Dyson, Oreca, RML etc)  throughout 2010, the move comes at a time when Dunlop, still Le Mans most successful tyre supplier with 34 outright victories to its name, attempts to regain territory since lost to French tyre giant Michelin, and re-establish its winning presence within the sportscar community.

OAK Racing will continue to utilise Pescarolo chassis and, in accordance with 2011 ACO technical regulations, will likely compete with an overhauled version of their current LMP2 Pescarolo-01 package. Technical details have not yet been announced.

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LMS: Pescarolo; The Triumphant Return.

 

Pescarolo, Nicolet, and Rivière at yesterdays liquidation sale.

Pescarolo, Nicolet, and Rivière celebrate the rebirth of the Pescarolo squad. - Image Courtesy lemans.org

In an era where war, famine, financial downturns, and crippling misfortune are all part of the average person’s daily news intake, occasionally ‘something has to give’. Having never been a firm believer in karma, this writer can only label the events covered in this article as poetic justice.

After months of public misfortune at the hands of investors, and the eventual loss of the team that not only bore his name but, in many ways epitomised the very spirit of Le Mans, one would have forgiven Le Mans legend Henri Pescarolo for adopting a pessimistic mindset. Having been placed under Administration earlier during the year and, subsequently heading into receivership, the assets of PescaroloSport were due to be auctioned yesterday in the Le Mans TechnoPark.

What was expected to be the depressing final chapter of a motorsport legacy, turned out to be (to the surprise of all) the blossoming of a new and uplifting chapter in the Pescarolo story. During yesterday’s liquidation sale, OAK Motorsport team owner Jacques Nicolet and Joel Rivière, owner of Prestige Racing, secured the purchase of vital PescaroloSport assets. The joint venture saw the pair acquire both Pescarolo P01 chassis, in addition to an array of assorted technical support equipment (valued at over US $550,000) crucial to team operations.

What happened next, is nothing short of remarkable. To the surprise of all in attendance, Nicolet and Rivière revealed their intention to return the purchased assets to their prior owner. By the close of the auction, Henri had already received the keys to the workshop. As a testament to the spirit of Le Mans, Nicolet has also vowed to ensure Pescarolo is supplied with all necessary equipment upon his return to competition. This includes required aerodynamic chassis development in order to allow the P01 to comply with 2011 ACO technical regulations. The reborn Pescarolo squad will now run under the name ‘Pescarolo Team.’

Pescarolo later made the following comments to Endurance-info:

“I’m amazed and somewhat reconciled. We’ll have to get back to work to allow the restart of the team. It’s a big responsibility but we cannot disappoint the trust that has been placed upon us.”