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ORECA actively working on the ORECA 03 LMP2…

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After a 2011 full of success, including the constructors championship in the Le Mans Series with Nissan and the teams championship in Intercontinental Le Mans Cup won by Signatech-Nissan, ORECA is not resting on its laurels in 2012. In fact, the ORECA 03, which performed so brilliantly in its first outing in LMP2, will be receiving several updates.  And true to the spirit of the category, the costs will be managed.

With several victories – at Spa, Estoril and Zhuhai – multiple podiums and pole positions, as well as the fastest race lap at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ORECA 03 made a mark on last season’s races. Nonetheless, ORECA-Manufacturer is raising its ambitions for 2012, with the objective of taking the LMP2 category win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the teams that will be running the ORECA 03.  As a result, the off-season has been very busy. « We wanted to improve the car on all levels, » confirms Christophe Guibbal, Director of the Design Bureau at ORECA. « A lot of work has been realized to improve reliability and to optimize the car.  Most notably, this means the redirection of the exhaust system, and also several mechanical elements such as the suspension. »

As the rules and regulations of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Le Mans series have changed, the look of the ORECA 03 has evolved as a consequence. « These rules changes aren’t without consequences, notably with top line performance, » explains Christophe Guibbal. « The openings on the front and rear covers lead to a loss of finesse : it means more drag and more downforce.  Logically, the first goal was to rediscover the aerodynamic balance by introducing new aero pieces and we were able to find more stability.  Visually, the new development that is most striking is certainly the shark fin. But we have solutions that are perhaps less visible than they are effective.  For example, the splitter has been particularly redesigned. »

Despite these various evolutions, ORECA wished to stay within the LMP2 philosophy, as the Director of the Design Bureau underlines : « We looked out for our customer teams’ best interests rather than commercial interests. We could have redesigned a completely new aero package and an entirely new car around our monocoque.  But that wouldn’t have made sense compared to the spirit of the category. »

The ORECA 03 in its 2012 configuration should take to the track at the end of January.  To date, six teams will be running the prototype designed in the Signes bureau, in both the World Endurance Championship (WEC FIA) or the European Le Mans Series.