2016 may be a promising year for the already consolidated European Le Mans Series, as a relatively good number of entries may be on track. As if the good news weren’t enough, another team will join the LMP2 grid with two big names from France on it, as revealed by the French publication L’Equipe.
Ex-France national soccer team goalkeeper Fabien Barthez will joins forces with the former Formula 1 driver Olivier Panis to create the Panis-Barthez Competition squad. The machine of choice is also a French one, the successful Ligier JS P2 with Nissan power on it, which will be developed by Tech 1 Racing, a common name in World Series by Renault scenario, which is understood that will also be in charge of the team operation.
Panis and Barthez have experience in ACO-sanctioned competitions, but lately both were active on GT3 spec racing, as Barthez was racing for AKKA-ASP in the Blancpain Endurance Series while Panis was driving in the FFSA GT Tour championship for the same team. But even though Panis’ previous LMP1 experience with Onroak Automotive market rivals of ORECA, where he ran alongside the likes of Marcel Fässler, Nico Lapierre and Loïc Duval, would be a huge addition on track to the new team, it is expected that the 49-year old Frenchman will be in the pit wall as a team boss, giving advice to the GT guy Barthez and the other two currently unnamed drivers.
It is also understood that Panis-Barthez Competition also requested an entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the next year.
PHOTO: FFSA GT Tour