As European Le Mans Series champion, LM P2 chassis with the most wins in the FIA World Endurance Championship and a podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ORECA 03 shined in 2012. Once again in 2013 the car will be on all fronts, with big ambitions. In order to reach these goals – the victory – the ORECA design office took advantage of the off-season to refine their prototype.
« A 2013 kit focusing on reliability, safety and mechanical intervention… »
After a convincing first year in 2011, the ORECA 03 took another step in 2012: it was on at least one step of the podium in every race it competed in, six wins, three poles and a finishing rate of 87%. The statistics of the ORECA 03 place it as a top reference in the LMP2 class, a status that it will be defending using several mechanical evolutions for this year. « Conforming to the rules, which excludes any work on performance for 2013, we developped a kit focusing on reliability, safety and mechanical intervention » explains David Floury, ORECA Technical Director. « We worked on several different points noted last year, things that we went over during debriefings with our customer teams to have the best results. It’s fair to say that change continues. The ORECA 03 is taking on its third season: we are now getting into the details. The reliability has been relatively good, but we can always improve that. We’ve made evolutions to the car as a result, while keeping in mind the ease for mechanical intervention. We don’t want to change everything to the point of disrupting the teams’ work, who now know the car well. »
Eight ORECA 03 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 3 in FIA-WEC, 6 in ELMS!
ORECA will be well represented in the endurance world. Eight ORECA 03, of which seven are powered by the ORECA engine department at Magny-Cours, are part of the 24 Hours of Le Mans entries: Boutsen Ginion Racing, Delta-ADR, G-Drive Racing, Murphy Prototypes, Pecom Racing, Sébastien Loeb Racing, Signatech and Thiriet by TDS Racing. Three more ORECA 03 are part of the supplemental entries: Race Performance, Signatech and Delta-ADR. « The LMP2 field is simply superb and we are happy to be the most well-represented manufacturer, and that our engine department is also highly visible, powering a total of 10 autos » admits David Floury. « It’s a very nice well to celebrate ORECA’s 40 years. I’m hoping to see a ninth chassis at the start, with Race Performance being the first on the list of reserve cars: they are a team that have been loyal to the Le Mans series for several years. Everytime they have competed at Le Mans, they have finished and they deserve to be at the start. With six ORECA 03 in ELMS and three in FIA-WEC, the season is looking promising. We will have a triple objective: win, win and win ! »
Alonside these customer teams, ORECA will be attempting to do one better than 2012, where the results included numerous victories. « Because of the results from last year, the teams have placed the bar very high » the Technical Director continues. « Delta-ADR and Pecom won in the FIA World Endurance Championship and finished the season in the top three, while Thiriet by TDS Racing was ELMS champion and we had two cars on the Le Mans 24 Hours podium. For our constructor and engine preparation activities, the goal is to keep progressing. We just missed victory as a constructor at Le Mans and today it’s one of our priorities. »
An eye toward the United States!
In addition to the ORECA-FLM 09 cars entered in the American Le Mans Series LM PC class, one ORECA 03 LM P2 could take part in the 12 Hours of Sebring. A first step before a more important engagement for 2014? « That’s our hope» admits David Floury. « The merger between the ALMS and Grand-Am offers the prospect of a very good championship that will combine three legendary races – Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans – and classics like Laguna Seca. It’s very attractive and ORECA wants to be in a position to battle for the overall win in this series, whatever the type of cars, LM P2 or Daytona Prototypes. »
After the 12 Hours of Sebring (USA, 13-16 March), the opening round of the European season will be at Silverstone (England, 13-14 April) with both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series holding their first races at the meeting.