ESM to switch to Ligiers in WEC and will run old car at Silverstone

Extreme Speed Motorsports has shelved its new HPD coupe and is buying two Ligiers for its attack on the LMP2 class of this year's World Endurance Championship

ESM to switch to Ligiers in WEC and will run old car at Silverstone

The decision means that ESM will revert to the open-top HPD ARX-03bs that it has raced in the US for the past two seasons at the Silverstone WEC opener on April 12, prior to the arrival of the Ligiers in time for round two at Spa at the start of May.

ESM and Honda Performance Development have decided that the new-for-2015 HPD ARC-04b, which made its debut in January's Daytona 24 Hours (pictured), requires further development before it is homologated for the WEC.

Homologating the car at this stage would mean freezing its specification for three years.

ESM team boss Scott Sharp told AUTOSPORT: "This is a disappointment for all of us, but given that the homologation date was today it was something we had to do."

Sharp explained that the decision was made after full-size wind-tunnel testing at the start of March followed by five days of running with the ARX-04b at Sebring last week.

The team subsequently ordered a pair of Ligier JSP2 coupes, which will be powered by HPD's twin-turbo V6 when they come on stream at Spa.

Sharp said that Onroak Automotive, constructor of the Ligier had "an established relationship with Honda and have a proven P2 chassis that will allow us to carry on with our planned WEC LMP2 campaign".

He explained that skipping Silverstone was not an option for the team.

"We cannot afford to miss a race: the straights are not too long at Silverstone, so the car should be competitive enough for us to pick up some decent points," he continued.

Sharp ruled out reverting to the HPD, which has been designed and developed by Wirth Research in the UK, during the 2015 season.

"It would be asking too much of the team to swap back and forth between the cars," he said.

The purchase of the Ligiers means that ESM will run its ARX-03bs in the Sebring 12 Hours round of the North American Endurance Cup on March 21.

The cars will then be shipped straight to France in order to take part in the official WEC test days at Paul Ricard, which starts on the Friday of the following week.

ESM's two entries are to be raced in the WEC by Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and David Heinemeier Hansson, and Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek and Jon Fogarty.

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