French firms en­lists help of Rad­i­cal founder to aid with de­sign and de­vel­op­ment

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey, Mick Walker By Rob Lad­brook

French sportscar gi­ant Ligier will launch a new range of club rac­ing ma­chines for 2018, with de­vel­op­ment led by Rad­i­cal Cars founder Phil Ab­bott.

Ligier’s par­ent com­pany, On­roak Au­to­mo­tive, has be­gun work on two new car­bon­fi­bre-tubbed mod­els, which are de­signed to act as a step­ping stone into LMP3 and LMP2 ma­chin­ery.

The en­try level model is an­tic­i­pated to have 200bhp, with a larger chas­sis de­sign set to boast 400bhp. En­gines have yet to be de­cided, but MN un­der­stands that ei­ther a 1.6-litre turbo or a two-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated unit are most likely.

Ligier’s ex­pan­sion has come about af­ter both Phil and Amanda Ab­bott joined the com­pany re­cently af­ter leav­ing Rad­i­cal.

The Ab­botts will now over­see the de­sign and de­vel­op­ment of the new club rac­ing Ligier range, with Phil Ab­bott say­ing he hoped the brand could spawn sin­gle-make series the way Rad­i­cal had be­fore it.

“This is a tremen­dously ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity, and to work with a com­pany like On­roak is amaz­ing,” he said. “I hit an im­passe at Rad­i­cal where I couldn’t see any steps for­ward and de­cided I needed a change, that’s when I got talk­ing to [On­roak pres­i­dent] Jac­ques Ni­co­let and this con­cept came about.

“We’ve al­ready be­gun work on two new mod­els, and while they won’t be for sale un­til 2018, they’ll be out test­ing early next year. Our job is to plug the gap below LMP3 level.

“I took Rad­i­cal as far as I could, and see­ing On­roak’s fa­cil­i­ties I know there’s scope to cre­ate some­thing truly spe­cial here.”

New ma­chines will fall be­tween P2 and P3 cat­e­gories Ex-rad­i­cal head Ab­bott is in­volved

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