24 Hours of Le Mans Race Report
June 15, 2015 by Honda
Circuit: Circuit de la Sarthe (8.47-mile road course), Le Mans, France
Weather: Scattered showers, mild, 73 degrees F
Solid Runs for Honda-Powered Teams at Le Mans
•Top-10 finishes for Tequila Patrón ESM in first appearance at Le Mans
•Seventh-place result for Brown, Fogarty and van Overbeek
•OAK Racing Ligier-Honda contends in early hours
A strong early run for Honda-powered OAK Racing and a solid debut for Tequila Patrón ESM in its first appearance at the Circuit de la Sarthe highlighted the efforts of Honda Performance Development this weekend at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
After qualifying seventh in a strong, 19-car LMP2 field, the OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda of Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor and Chris Cumming moved up to third in the opening hours, and later second place behind the eventual class winning KCMG entry. But a spin and resulting unscheduled pit stop in the sixth hour dropped the OAK Ligier-Honda two laps off the lead. The team fought back through the night, eventually recovering to fourth in LMP2, before gearbox issues with less than two hours remaining ended its race.
Making its first appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Tequila Patrón ESM team set – and achieved – the goal of getting both of the its entries successfully to the finish. With a mostly trouble-free run, the #31 Ligier-Honda of Ed Brown, Jon Fogarty and Johannes van Overbeek soldiered home to finish seventh in LMP2, and 15th overall after starting 26th in the 55-car starting field.
The sister #30 Ligier-Honda of Ryan Dalziel, David Heinemeier-Hansson and Scott Sharp encountered early difficulties, including contact with another LMP2 machine in the first hour, and minor mechanical delays that dropped the trio to the back of the field. But the team persevered through the night, regaining ground as other LMP2 entries encountered problems of their own, and took the checkers 10th in LMP2.
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Jon Fogarty (#31 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier JS P2 Honda): 'We were just trying to race as clean as possible. It looked like everybody had their share of issues this weekend, but we had a handful fewer than some of the other teams. We drove our own race. My comfort level with the Ligier-Honda and at Le Mans has definitely improved. It's amazing because a full stint is only 10 laps. In eight miles of track, there is a lot to learn. Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown, co-drivers both had a great race and we finished seventh. It was a great effort by the whole team. When we come back here again, it will be a massive improvement from this year.'
The three Ligier chassis fielded by Tequila Patrón ESM and OAK Racing all utilize the production-based 2.8-liter Honda HR28TT V6 engine, developed for competition by HPD from the Honda 'J35' series of passenger vehicle V6 engines, with improvements including twin turbochargers. Key production-based components include the block and cylinder heads, direct-injection fuel system, valve train components, drive-by-wire throttle, alternator, sensors and fasteners. The engine even features a stock Honda oil filter.