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Promising Ligier European Series debut for Logan Hannah

Logan Hannah returned to competitions and made her prototype debut in Ligier European Series and, without prior experience of the car and track, made good progress throughout the Barcelona weekend, showing particularly encouraging pace in her second race.


Logan Hannah, Nielsen Racing, Ligier European Series, 2024 Barcelona
Photo credits: Ligier European Series

Logan Hannah returned to competitions in a full time program and made her prototype racing debut at Circuit de Catalunya, which hosted the opening round of the 2024 Ligier European Series.


The championship is a single-make series which represents an entry to the world of sports cars racing; it features two categories, one dedicated to prototypes and one to GT cars. With a calendar aligned to the European Le Mans Series, the Ligier European Series has established itself as one of the main stepping stones for young talents aiming to climb the ladder of endurance competitions.


A record number of three female drivers were present on the grid of the first round at Barcelona; among them was young Scot Logan Hannah, who returns behind the wheel after last competing full time in the 2022 GB4 Championship, where she collected a race win and two podiums. With a background in single seaters, the JSP4 category was therefore a natural step for Hannah, although her limited track time in the last year - let alone in the Ligier - meant that the first round effectively represented a weekend to familiarize with the car and with the new challenges of endurance.


The 22 year old shared the futuristic-look prototype with former Radical Cup UK front runner Ben Caisley, in an entry by top team Nielsen Racing.

The duo got up to speed in the first practice session, then climbed the order to eighth in FP2, having significantly reduced the gap to the top. Hannah and Caisley's time were also not far off each other - which would give the team more strategic freedom in the races.


Caisley qualified eighth for the first race of the weekend, having set a 1:45.559. In Q2, it was then Logan Hannah to take over driving duties - and the Scottish racer was soon up to fourth during the first run. She couldn't improve on her second run - and a red flag in the final minutes brought the session to an early end, relegating the driver of the #4 Nielsen Racing prototype to ninth on the grid. Nevertheless, Hannah proved she could run for the top five in the top class of the Ligier series.


On a sunny Saturday morning, the first race of the season went underway under safety car conditions after two separate incidents in the formation lap; Cindy Gudet's car was retrieved from the gravel, while the #16 JSP4 prototype of Yuki Tanaka grinded to a halt on the back straight.


Action finally got underway with 52 minutes to go, with Ben Caisley in eighth place in the JSP4 class. Caisley had to defend from Team Virage's Lucas Medina, and the two traded positions on lap 8 and 9, with Caisley holding his own with a clean defense.


JS2 R class leader Pianezzola suddenly slowed down and parked his car with a technical issue, bringing out the safety car on lap 12 - and with the pit window approaching, the Nielsen Racing prototype dived into the pitlane as Caisley handed over to Logan Hannah as soon as the pace car was deployed, one lap earlier than most of the field.


The strategy paid off for Nielsen Racing, as Hannah had now rejoined in the overall lead, ahead of Moreno and Favre. The green flag flew with 18 minutes to go and Hannag had a great restart - but also had traffic from the GT-derived JS2R pack ahead and got shuffled down the order in the first corners, as she tried to navigate traffic.


The Scot eventually settled in sixth overall, with Ivo Segret's ANS Motorsport prototype right behind. Moreno made a mistake under braking at turn 1 and went off in the gravel, triggering another neutralization. Logan Hannah had unfortunately just dropped behind Segret and Fulga.


In the final laps, Logan Hannah held eighth place and crossed the finish line to complete her first ever stint in sports car racing, having also battled at the front at the penultimate restart. Intereuropol Competition took overall victory, holding off the attacks of the two Team Virage cars on the final lap.


The second race on Saturday afternoon was another chance to collect more experience in racing conditions - but an unfortunate technical issue in the formation lap saw Logan Hannah having to pit just before the start. The prompt assistance of the Nielsen Racing crew allowed her to eventually rejoin the race, albeit two laps down.


Logan settled in her rhythm, now focusing on maximising the track time behind the wheel; while in a rather lonely stint, Hannah showed significantly improved pace - almost on par with some of the drivers in top five. She handed over to Ben Caisley on lap 14, midway through the race.


The sole safety car of the race was deployed with 6 minutes to go when the #66 Team Virage JSP4 came to a halt after a recurring technical hiccup. Caisley survived a hectic restart and a quick trip to the gravel, crossing the finish line in seventh place overall.

The Nielsen Racing duo completed both races and showed potential despite the lack of track time with the car prior to the race meeting; despite the unfortunate start, Hannah's pace in race 2 was a particular highlight, as she also set the cars' fastest lap on lap 11 in 1:47.044.


"A clean race one and a problem on the formation lap hindered our race 2 but progress still made with the track time!" - Hannah commented.

"Really enjoyed my first weekend with Ben Caisley and Nielsen Racing, getting to grips with the car and circuit! Looking forward to Paul Ricard in a few weeks time."


The Ligier European Series will in fact return to the track for its second round of the 2024 season on May 3-5, at Circuit Paul Ricard, in the south of France.

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