5. Ligier JS27

S3970 Ligier JS27 No.25 4th British GP 1986 -Rene Arnoux

The glory days of Ligier were already over for a while. The glamour of the late Seventies and early Eighties was faded in the workshops in Magny-Cours. Nevertheless the team came back one more time in 1986. On one hand, it was due to a Renault engine, on the other hand due to a very experienced driver pairing. Jacques Laffite (42 years at that time) and René Arnoux (38) had 80 years together. For comparison: Toro Rosso will start the next season with two drivers (Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen) who will be 37 years together. The experience of the two French Oldies was gold worth a mint during the first half of the season. At the first race in Brazil Laffite was third, while Arnoux finished in fourth place.

This excellent team result could be achieved due to a really solid construction. The JS27 had a lower center of gravity than its predecessor. The Renault engine rotates 1500 times per minute more than in the previous year, an improvement that could be reached because of a simple trick: The EF15-engine was working without valve springs. Furthermore the distributor was waived.

In Monaco the two Ligier scored again. And in Detroit both of them could lead. For Laffite the race was finished at P2. Arnoux was out after a collision. At the time of the Grand Prix of Brands Hatch the Ligier has already lost his role as the giant killer. The car was mostly not changed since the season opening.  During the race in England, Laffite had an accident directly at the start. The 176 times GP-participant got serious leg injuries and it put an abrupt end to his career. In consequence of this incident the cars were modified (for the season 1988). The drivers’ feet had to stay behind the front axle. As from the Hockenheim race Philippe Alliot was piloting and replaced the injured Laffite in the race car. But Arnoux / Alliot collected only 4 more points in the remaining seven races what was nevertheless enough to achieve place 5 in the constructors’ championship.

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