In a partnership with TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH bringing its endurance racing experience and operational support to the two TS030 HYBRID entries, ORECA actively participated in the resulting 2nd and 4th place finishes in the event. As constructor and engine preparator, the Technology department was heavily involved in the LM P2 class, including eight ORECA chassis at the start. In addition, Oreca-Store.com was on hand with several boutiques, while the Events department held several events, with close to 1000 invited guests in the hospitality area. Hugues de Chaunac, President of the ORECA Group and recent winner of the 26th Spirit of Le Mans trophy, offers his thoughts after a week in La Sarthe.

« The legend of the 24 Hours of Le Mans once again delivered a portion of its story. It’s a story that is some times cruel and terrible like the death of Allan Simonsen, and some times superb like our second place finish with TOYOTA Racing and another podium for the ORECA 03. Before the 90th anniversary of the race, I had spoken of pressure, expectations, excitement, redemption and exuberance, as well as the human adventure that is without equal…I think we experienced it all during this 2013 edition. Welcome to the new chapter for ORECA at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Pit stop for #49 Pecom Racing Oreca 03 Nissan: Nicolas Minassian, Luis Perez-Companc, Pierre Kaffer
Pit stop for #49 Pecom Racing Oreca 03 Nissan: Nicolas Minassian, Luis Perez-Companc, Pierre Kaffer

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

« ORECA was involved at different levels during these 24 Hours of Le Mans and the emotions felt were many. As partner with TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH in TOYOTA Racing’s Le Mans project, we experienced a race that I won’t soon forget. The two TS030 HYBRID held their own against the Audis, who we know have a lot of experience in endurance racing, particularly Le Mans. The team’s performance was excellent and I’m proud that ORECA was able to contribute. For TOYOTA, it’s a very good result and the emotions were strong. First, the moment the two cars crossed the finish line, with the joy of the team, but then a certain sadness for Nicolas Lapierre. He is a driver whom I very much appreciate and was the first to challenge the R18. His determination to bring the car back to the pits shows the strength of his character..

Then the moment during the post-race ceremonies. With the poignant words from Jacky Ickx and the applause from the fans honoring Allan Simonsen, the Danish driver who tragically passed away at the start of the race. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and members of the Aston Martin Racing team, and David Richard, who showed great courage and their result in category is a strong symbol.

« As is often the case, the podium was very emotional. With Stéphane Sarrazin, Sébastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson on the second step…but also Loïc Duval on the first. This lovable driver began his endurance career with ORECA and won the 12 Hours of Sebring with us, as well as made a stop by our workshops a month ago just to say hello. And the two « Mister Le Mans » united, Tom Kristensen and Jacky Ickx…

TOYOTA Racing can savor this podium after months of work. And it was with a tear in my eye that I congratulated the entire team, but also « my » guys, who gave so much since the start of this project. They proved such devotion and passion. Bravo to everyone. Bravo to TOYOTA.

« I know that one team manager was close to tears, Simon Dowson, of G-Drive Racing by Delta-ADR. His team gave the ORECA 03 its third podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But, as a constructor, we were aiming for the win, and so were Simon’s men. An improperly illuminated number would prove otherwise, while the drivers had a flawless drive. That’s Le Mans : everything hinges on a detail. In any case, none of the teams ever gave up the fight, such as Thiriet by TDS Racing who had to rebuild their car, or the impressive climb through the leaderboard by Murphy Prototypes. We can be proud of these teams who fly our colors and who were carrying special stickers marking our 40th anniversary.

« Six ORECA chassis were at the finish : one on the podium, two in the top 5 and five in the top 10. These results push us already to work even harder for 2014 with one mission : to even better support our customer teams to reach this common goal. I know that our customer racing program members, including the engine department, were a little disappointed, but there are many positive things to come, I know it.

« 2013 was the 90th year for the Le Mans 24 Hours and the 40th year for ORECA. That will remain unique. We’ve attained many marks in our history as a company, but this one is and will always be very special. It was also the first time that ORECA, either directly or indirectly, on the podium in two different classes - LM P1 and LM P2 – in the same edition. We’re not finished being « Le Mans Addicts ». Actually, we’re already looking forward to going back, always with new and ambitious goals in mind. »

Groupe ORECA