Following a lengthy summer break, the FIA World Endurance Championship resumes in Britain this weekend (August 25/26) with the 6 Hours of Silverstone marking the start of five races across three continents in just two months.
OAK Racing will enter a pair of its Onroak Automotive-designed and built Morgan 2012 LMP2s. Both cars (#24 and #35) will be powered by the Nissan VK45 engine and sport the legendary blue and orange racing livery of Gulf Oil International. To recap, #35 has replaced the team’s #15 OAK/Pescarolo LMP1 from Silverstone onwards as work continues to solve the engine reliability problems that have been apparent since the start of the season. The car is expected to be back in WEC action before the end of the year.
In the absence of Guillaume Moreau, who is continuing to recover from injuries sustained during his Le Mans 24 Hours Test Day accident, the remaining two thirds of the LMP1 driver line-up move over to the #35 machine. Both have experience of the car with Bertrand Baguette recently claiming ELMS victory at Donington Park and Dominik Kraihamer having begun the season behind the wheel at Paul Ricard.
Accomplished gentleman driver David Heinemeier Hansson completes the trio having gained much experience of the Morgan-Nissan package as part of Conquest Endurance’s ALMS programme. As well as scoring multiple podiums and two victories – the most recent at Road America last weekend – the Dane has also made two appearances for OAK Racing, at the Le Mans 24 Hours and 6 Hours of Spa earlier this year.
Opposite them in the garage will be OAK Racing’s regular #24 WEC driver crew of silver graded gentleman and team owner Jacques Nicolet, Donington race winner Olivier Pla, and Matthieu Lahaye who scored the first prototype pole position of his career at Donington.
Sébastien Philippe, Team Principal: “It’s great to be back at the circuit where we achieved our first overall podium with the LMP1 in 2011. England also seems like a happy hunting ground for us if the recent result at Donington is anything to go by. I must also add that we are racing on Morgan Motor Company’s home turf, so naturally we are eager to demonstrate both the ability of our Morgan 2012 LMP2 and its crews. Our goal is to win, although the level of the competition is very high.”
Matthieu Lahaye, #24 Morgan-Nissan 2012 LMP2: “After scoring victory at Donington in the ELMS, our goal is to record our first WEC win. The 6 Hours of Silverstone will be the last race of the season held on a track that we know, which has its benefits. In addition, this circuit is ideal for fully exploiting the qualities of our car, as we showed with the LMP1 in 2011. I am particularly pleased to be joining up with the usual WEC crew and slipping back into the same habits.”
David Heinemeier Hansson, #35 Morgan-Nissan 2012 LMP2: “I’m really excited to be back behind the wheel of OAK Racing’s #35 Morgan-Nissan 2012 LMP2. I cherish my memories of the Le Mans 24 Hours in the very same car and am thrilled to be contesting the 6 Hours of Silverstone as part of a crew consisting of Bertrand Baguette and Dominik Kraihamer. I think we have every chance of scoring a very good result. It would be an honour for me to help the team maintain the momentum of their Donington victory.”
6 Hours of Silverstone schedule (local time):
Friday 24 August
11:30 – 13:00: Free Practice 1
16:00 – 17:30: Free Practice 2
Saturday 25 August
11:00 – 12:00: Free Practice 3
15:20 – 15:40: Qualifying (LMP1 & LMP2)
Sunday 26 August
08:55 – 09:15: Warm-up
12:00 – 18:00: Race