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For Sale: 1980 Ligier JS11/15

Submitted by on February 23, 2012

Ligier JS11

With drivers like Jacques Laffite, Patrick Depailler and Jacky Ickx behind the wheel, Ligier’s JS11 was a competitive force in the 1979 Formula One season.

Jacques Laffite got off to an immense start, taking pole position, fastest lap and victory at the Argentine and Brazilian Grands Prix, before the Ferraris of Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve and the Williams of Alan Jones took off and owned the top of the podium for the rest of the season.

The team brought the JS11 back for the tumultuous start of the 1980 Formula One season as the JS11/15. The car sported improved aerodynamics and ground effects and Didier Pironi was sublime in it. He won at Zolder and came very close to winning at Monaco and Brands Hatch, where he dropped from the lead to last due to a slow pit for a deflating tyre, charged back up the field to fifth and then suffered another deflating tyre that forced his retierment.

Another win for Jacques Laffite at the Hockenheimring, ten visits to the podium and strong finishes when they could finish put Ligier second in the constructors’ title despite their struggles with reliability.

JS11/15 chassis 004 is up for sale at Fiskens and is just as gorgeous as ever. Head to their website here for more info and read on for the official word from Fiskens

Images via Fiskens

Ligier first entered Formula One racing in 1976, filling the slot left by Matra’s departure two years earlier. As France’s most prominent racing team, Ligier had significant financial backing and also benefited from exclusive use of Matra’s hugely successful V12 engines. They would run a one-car team in their first season in Formula One with Jacques Laffite as their sole driver, the Parisian scoring an impressive 20 points – enough to claim fifth place in the constructor’s championship. In 1977, only their second season, Ligier recorded their first Formula One win when Laffite triumphed at the Swedish Grand Prix.

1978 was a struggle, sponsorship troubles providing a major distraction, a cause not helped by Matra announcing its departure from motor racing at the end of that year. However this turned out to be a blessing in disguise: Ligier replaced their Matra powerplants with Ford Cosworth DFV units, which were better suited to ground effect cars due to the narrow nature of the engine. The JS11 was the first Ligier to be fitted with this new engine, and helped the team to secure 3rd overall in the 1979 season. This success was then built upon as the JS11/15 became a title contender in 1980, the new car boasting increased rear-end aerodynamics and competition-leading ground effect.

Campaigned throughout the 1980 season by Didier Pironi – his team mate and pilot of the sister car for the season was Jacques Laffite – chassis 004 saw its championship dreams scuppered with bad luck, as is often the case in motorsport, getting in the way of success. A victory at the Belgium Grand Prix was the highlight of the season, with four further podiums in South Africa, France, Canada and America. Ultimately Ligier finished as runner-up the constructor’s title.

Forming part of the famous“Musée Ligier” in La Nièvre, France, 004 has recently been restored by ARA Engineering to include a fresh Cosworth DFV engine. Seen exciting the crowds at last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, this Ligier was a key player in the early days of ground effect and proudly carried the French motorsport flag.

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