Ex-Formula 1 driver Alliot to race Ligier JS11 in historic events
|By Gary Watkins||Thursday, August 1st 2013, 11:20 GMT|
Ex-Formula 1 driver Philippe Alliot will return to the wheel of a Ligier grand prix car in historic racing later this year.
The 59-year-old Frenchman, who contested 23 grands prix for the French squad in 1986 and 1990, has purchased a Ligier JS11 from team founder Guy Ligier together with two friends.
He will race the car for the first time at the invitational historic F1 event on the new Baku street circuit in Azerbaijan in October.
The car, which raced as a JS11 in 1979 and a JS11/15 the following season, has been restored in 1980-specification by the second incarnation of the Ligier team, which took over Martini Automobiles in 2004 and is best-known today for building Group CN prototypes.
Alliot, who has raced Ligier Group CN cars for fun since calling time on his professional racing career, told AUTOSPORT: "I know Guy very well and he had the car, which was in very bad condition, at Magny-Cours.
"The car, which is so beautiful, has been very nicely rebuilt. It is better than new and we have a brand new Nicholson-McLaren Cosworth DFV."
"I am very excited to race it at Baku. It will be the first time I have driven an F1 car since my last GP [with Larrousse in Belgium in 1994]."
Alliot described the Ligier as a "very historic car" because it is the chassis, #2, which Laffite used to win the opening two grands prix of 1979 in Argentina and Brazil.
It was subsequently raced by Didier Pironi in four races in 1980, finishing third in the United States GP at Watkins Glen (pictured).
The car will be run in Baku by a team involving Springbox Concept, which was founded with Alliot's help by personnel form his Force One Racing GT squad of 2001-04.
The organisers of the Baku event, which is headlined by the final round of this year's FIA GT Series on October 19/20, are putting together a field of 15 cars and are already oversubscribed.
Alliot started 109 grands prix from 1984-1994 for RAM, Ligier, Larrousse and McLaren, scoring seven points.
FACT OR FICTION?
Legend suggests that the downturn in Ligier's form after its flying start to the 1979 was the result of the loss of its set-up data - written on the back of a cigarette packet by designer Gerard Ducarouge.
The official line is that the JS11's glass fibre venturi sections deformed over time courtesy of the massive forces the ground-effect aerodynamics were producing.