This past weekend was a sad weekend in the world of racing for many reasons, one of which was the fact that the world lost veteran driving ace Guy Ligier. It’s hard to find an endurance race today that doesn’t have at least one of his namesake prototypes. Per Sportscar365, he passed away Sunday at the age of 85.
Ligier was a man of many talents: a rower, a rugby player, a racing driver, a racing team owner, and later, a maker of purpose-built race cars and microcars.
According to Formula One, Ligier started motor racing on two wheels, winning motorcycle championships before diving into four-wheel racing. He gradually made it up to Formula One, competing in 12 grands prix in 1966 and 1967 with a best result of sixth place.
Sportscar365 notes that Ligier also participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans eight times, with his highest result being seventh place.
After starting the Ligier car company, Guy bought the remnants of Matra’s Formula One team to move into F1 competition in 1976. Equipe Ligier won their first F1 race in 1977.
The contribution he may be most known for among modern sportscar fans, however, is the Ligier sportscar company, which was resurrected in 2013 in a partnership with Onroak Automotive and Jacques Nicolet.
Nicolet shared his respects in an Onroak press release:
Guy Ligier passed away yesterday. Today “his men” and the Onroak Automotive teams feel very sad and grief stricken. Guy was a great sportsman driven by an enormous desire to win and an unbending determination to move forward. He commanded respect and admiration among those who worked for him. He knew how to transmit his enthusiasm to the teams who followed him with undying faith.
Our first meeting in 2006 led to a real friendship, one of those that expresses itself through a certain restraint, but runs very deep. It’s both an honour and a source of pride to continue his work. At the age of 85 Guy was still motivated by several projects and we’ll do everything in our power to bring them to fruition.
We’ll remain faithful to his demanding, pugnacious sportsmanlike temperament to show we are worthy of the confidence he placed in us and the task he set us.
The company’s JS P2 is a common sight among classes that have adopted LMP2-spec cars, including United SportsCar’s P2 class. The newer JS P3 is intended for the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s new LMP3 class.
Ligier’s legacy will be remembered across many different branches of motorsport for many years to come.
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