Image credit: pro-photos-sports.com.
Fresh from a strong showing in the Pirelli World Challenge this weekend, French driver Kevin Estre has today been announced to partner Laurens Vanthoor and Chris Cumming at the wheel of a prototype Ligier JS P2 Honda entered by OAK Racing for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours.
The McLaren GT works driver is a vetren of endurance classics such as Daytona, Spa, Dubai, and Nürburgring 24-Hour races: in the latter he set pole as well as the fastest lap. He has also put on stunning performances in the Sebring, Bathurst and Abu Dhabi 12-Hour events, and the Petit Le Mans. It only a matter of time for him to add the most legendary of all the long-distance races, the Le Mans 24 Hours, to his tally.
“OAK Racing and I have been talking since last year and they knew I wanted to do Le Mans,” says Estre. “I get on well with this team, in particular with Philippe Dumas.
“We met up again at the Daytona 24 Hours. I’m happy that OAK Racing was able to reach an agreement with Chris Cumming, a Canadian driver with whom I shared a Porsche at Daytona and Sebring in 2012.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me, and I’d really like to express my sincerest thanks to Philippe Dumas for putting his trust in me once again.”
Dumas added that he too is very happy with the driver line-up in the no. 34 Ligier JS P2 Honda Dunlop. “I knew that Kevin was wondering how he could do Le Mans as the places are pretty scarce. The whole world wanted to race in this car!”
“I wanted to have a good line-up in this car. Like Laurens Vanthoor Kevin’s a future star and he needs to do Le Mans for his career. It’s great for him to be able to take advantage of such a competitive package, one of the best and most reliable LM P2s, a Honda engine and Dunlop tyres that are the benchmark in the category.
“Although we’ll have three rookies in this car we’ve got a good hand to play provided we approach the race with a certain humility.”
However, a rookie team of drivers is no obstacle to the French team who won the LMP2 class in the Le Mans 24 Hours as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP2 Trophy in 2013.