Equipe Ligier

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Post by Admin on Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:16 am

Equipe Ligier is a motorsport team, best known for its Formula One team that operated from 1976 to 1996. The team was founded in 1968 by former French rugby union player Guy Ligier as a sports car manufacturer.


Following the acquisition of the Matra F1 team's assets, Ligier entered Formula One in 1976 with a Matra V12-powered car, and won the 1977 Swedish Grand Prix with Jacques Laffite. This is generally considered to have been the first all-French victory in the Formula One World Championship.

The deal with Matra ceased in 1979 and Ligier built a Cosworth-powered wing-car, the Ligier JS11. The JS11 began the season winning the first two races in the hands of Laffite. However, the JS11 faced serious competition when Williams and Ferrari introduced aerodynamically modified cars. The rest of the season was less successful for the French marque.

The JS11 and its successors made Ligier one of the top teams through the early 1980s. Despite substantial sponsorship from Talbot and public French companies - mainly SEITA, Gitanes and Française des Jeux[8]) - the competitiveness of the team began to decline around 1982. Around this time, they were testing a Matra V6 turbocharged engine, which never raced.[9] Thanks to the political support of Ligier long-time friend François Mitterrand, in the mid-1980s, the team benefitted from a free Renault turbo engine deal. This, along with sponsorship from companies such as Loto and Elf Aquitaine, made the team more competitive, though not a frontrunner. When Renault left the sport in 1986, Ligier was left without a bona fide engine supplier. An abortive collaboration with Alfa Romeo (due to René Arnoux's harsh criticism on the Alfa Romeo engines) was followed by customer engine deals with Megatron (who provided them with rebadged BMW M12 engines), Judd and Cosworth and then works contracts with Lamborghini, Renault and Mugen-Honda.
Between 1987 and 1991, the team struggled, failing to score points in 1988, 1990 and 1991, and at the 1988 San Marino Grand Prix neither René Arnoux nor Stefan Johansson qualified for the race, the first time in team history that neither car made the grid. In 1990, when fellow team Larrousse were disqualified after claiming their chassis was built by themselves, while in fact it was built by Lola Cars, Ligier moved up into 10th place in the Constructors' Championship, which gave them subsidized travel benefits, despite actually not being classified due a to lack of points.
In 1993 the team enjoyed an upswing when Guy Ligier sold the team to Cyril de Rouvre after a disappointing 1992 season when they once again failed to fulfil their potential despite being supplied with the same works Renault engines as the dominant Williams team. Surprisingly, the team was somewhat more competitive during this period, in part due to the talents of aerodynamicist Frank Dernie and engineer Loïc Bigois. They scored eight podium finishes over the next four years, contrasting sharply with their failure to secure a single top three position between 1987 and 1992. In the last years Ligier had little public support and lacked funds.
In 1995, de Rouvre sold the team to Flavio Briatore and Tom Walkinshaw. The Mugen Honda-powered JS43 turned out to be a well balanced car, if not on par with the Williams entries. It became a surprise winner as well, with the team taking the chequered flag with Olivier Panis at the Monaco Grand Prix, albeit in a race of heavy attrition, with only three cars finishing. It was the first "all-French" victory at Monaco since René Dreyfus in Bugatti in 1930. This ended a nearly fifteen-year-long winless-streak for the Ligier team, the longest of any uninterruptedly existing team between two wins (some teams like Honda or Mercedes had much longer periods between two wins, but did not exist as a grand prix team for most of their period between two wins).
In 1997 the team was sold to Alain Prost and became Prost Grand Prix in 1997. Prost GP, despite substantial financial backing by large private French companies, failed to make the team competitive and went bankrupt in 2002.
The team traditionally used numbers 25 and 26.


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