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The Ligier JS31 was a Formula One car designed by Michel Tétu and Michel Beaujon for the Ligier team for use in the 1988 Formula One season. It was powered by the new, normally aspirated, 3.5L Judd CV V8 engine and, like the rest of the F1 grid in 1988, ran on Goodyear tyres. Drivers for the team were French veteran René Arnoux in his 3rd season driving for team boss Guy Ligier, and Swede Stefan Johansson who had finished 5th in the World Championship with Ferrari in 1986 and 6th with McLaren in 1987. Johansson joined the team late in the off-season in place of Christian Danner, who had originally signed to drive but was unable to fit the car comfortably[2].

Ligier JS31
CategoryFormula One
Designer(s)Michel Tétu (Technical Director)
Michel Beaujon (Chief Designer)
Technical specifications[1]
ChassisCarbon fibre and kevlar monocoque
Suspension (front)Double wishbones
Suspension (rear)Double wishbones
Axle trackFront: 1,790 mm (70 in)
Rear: 1,662 mm (65.4 in)
Wheelbase2,865 mm (112.8 in)
EngineJudd CV, 3,496 cc (213.3 cu in), V8, NA, mid-engine, longitudinally mounted
TransmissionLigier 6-speed manual
Weight525 kg (1,157 lb)
Competition history
Notable entrantsLigier Loto
Notable drivers25. France René Arnoux
26. Sweden Stefan Johansson
Debut1988 Brazilian Grand Prix
Constructors' Championships0
Drivers' Championships0

Many drivers were considered and held discussions with Ligier for the 1988 season. Among them were Philippe Streiff, Olivier Grouillard, Paolo Barilla and Michel Ferté[3].

The JS31 was the first non-turbo car produced by Ligier since the Cosworth DFV powered JS21 used in the 1983 season and it proved to be very uncompetitive. The car's major failure was a lack of downforce, with Johansson in particular reporting several times during a frustrating season that he had to drive the car as if on a wet track. Johansson, a frequent podium visitor in the previous three seasons, failed to qualify six times and never finished above 9th while seven-time Grand Prix winner Arnoux failed to qualify twice (San Marino and France) and never finished a race higher than 10th. Neither driver qualified for the San Marino Grand Prix, the first time in team history that neither of its cars made the grid.

The French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard proved to be the lowest point of the season for the French team. On the eve of Arnoux's 40th birthday (celebrated the day after the race), neither Arnoux nor Johansson qualified for the team's home Grand Prix, something that did not please the team's owner Guy Ligier.

Ligier did not score a point during 1988, their worst season since 1983, when they also failed to score. On several occasions both Johansson and Arnoux struggled to outqualify the equally uncompetitive EuroBrun. In an effort to optimise the weight distribution of the car, it was designed with an unusual and heavy arrangement of fuel tanks: there were two cells either side of the driver, another between the driver and the engine and a fourth between the engine and gearbox.[4]

Ligier only had both cars qualify for a race on 10 occasions in 1988. On 5 of those occasions both cars failed to finish.


Complete Formula One World Championship resultsEdit


Year Team Engine Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Pts. WCC
1988 Ligier Loto Judd CV
René Arnoux Ret DNQ Ret Ret Ret Ret DNQ 18 17 Ret Ret 13 10 Ret 17 Ret
Stefan Johansson 9 DNQ Ret 10 Ret Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret 11 DNQ Ret Ret DNQ 9


  1. ^ Ligier JS31 @ StatsF1
  2. ^ "Tank battle | Motor Sport Magazine Archive". Motorsport. Motorsport. 2014-07-07. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  3. ^ Unknown, Unknown (16 March 1988). "Les dessous de la Ligier JS31" [The insides of the Ligier JS31]. AutoHebdo (in French). France: AutoHebdo.
  4. ^ Hodges (1990) p.134


  • Hodges, David (1990). A-Z of Formula Racing Cars 1945-1990. Bay View Books. ISBN 1-901432-17-3.
  • Roebuck, Nigel (ed.) (1989). Grand Prix World Championship 1988-89. Garry Sparke & Associates. ISBN 0-908081-59-6.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)

External linksEdit