GT stars Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor will make their 24 Hours of Le Mans débuts this year with OAK Racing.
The pair will drive the #34 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda alongside LMPC regular Chris Cumming.
Both drivers are best-known for their GT racing exploits, with Estre currently under contract at McLaren and Vanthoor racing as an Audi works driver. OAK Racing Team Principal Philippe Dumas has close ties with Estre in particular, having selected the Frenchman for his Hexis Racing squad for the 2013 Blancpain Sprint Series finale.
Meanwhile, Vanthoor’s in-demand reputation and stellar performances in the Blancpain Endurance Series last year prompted Dumas to approach the 23 year old for the coveted Le Mans drive.
Despite being a newcomer to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, Estre’s La Sarthe experience stems back to 2010, when he finished second in the Porsche Carrera Cup curtain raiser. He then tested an IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3RSR ahead of the 2012 event, before returning to the Porsche Carrera Cup in 2014 and coming within a lap of winning the race.
Having enjoyed success at almost every other major endurance race in the world, including 24 hour race wins at Daytona, Spa-Francorchamps and the Nurburgring, Estre is now ready to take on the most famous event of all.
“OAK Racing and I have been talking since last year and they knew I wanted to do Le Mans,” said Estre. “I get on well with this team, in particular with Philippe Dumas. 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.”
Vanthoor, meanwhile, is quickly becoming one of the most sought after drivers on the planet. The 2013 FIA GT Series champion sampled a Sebastien Loeb Racing ORECA LMP2 car at last year’s test day, before winning the Spa 24 Hours and Blancpain Endurance Series title.
44 year old Chris Cumming completes the line-up, having already driven the Ligier JS P2 Honda at NOLA in September. The experienced Canadian was the first driver to be announced for OAK Racing’s extra Le Mans entry when the official entry list was revealed in February.
“I wanted to have a good line-up in this car,” commented Dumas. “Like Laurens Vanthoor Kevin’s a future star and he needs to do Le Mans for his career. It’s great for them 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,” he added.