AIM Team ORECA Matmut: in the same vein as 2009... Fifth in last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ORECA 01 will again aim for reliability and consistency. Experience will be an advantage. Twelve months after making its first appearance in the...
AIM Team ORECA Matmut: in the same vein as 2009...
Fifth in last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ORECA 01 will again aim for reliability and consistency. Experience will be an advantage.
Twelve months after making its first appearance in the Sarthe, the ORECA 01 is returning to familiar soil: the trio of Panis/Lapierre/Ayari finished fifth in the endurance classic, among the factory teams. Since then, the prototype designed in the Signes workshops has had a good year: two pole positions in Le Mans Seris, a victory at Silverstone, a fifth place finish at the Petit Le Mans and two podiums in Asian Le Mans Series. Still powered by AIM, but now fitted with Dunlop tyres, the car will be driven by Soheil Ayari, Didier Andre and Andy Meyrick.
The AIM Team ORECA Matmut will tackle these 24 Hours of Le Mans with a clear objective: replicate last year's performance. "We must keep in mind what we did in 2009," said Hugues de Chaunac. "The directions are simple: to be perfectly reliable and not commit the slightest error. Consequently, the goal of the ORECA 01 will be to finish first among the prototypes with petrol engines."
To realise this goal, the AIM Team ORECA Matmut will rely on a known aero package, as underlined by David Floury: "Last year, we received the new aero kit at Spa and we tested very little before Le Mans. Since then, we have progressed well, most notably in our understanding of the car. We are able to get the most out of its potential. Now we know the car very well and we have a solid base to work from. We also have the experience from last season which is a good thing for a race like Le Mans." The team knows the recipe to getting a good result in the Sarthe, and will be following it to the letter. "We will aim for wisdom," the Technical Director continues. "It's not during one lap that we will make the difference. We know it will be difficult to finish in the top five. Among the petrol cars, the competition will be fierce, but we'll have things to say about that!"
After finishing the 8 Hours of the Castellet, which served as a preparation race, in fifth place, the AIM Team ORECA Matmut will take advantage of the practice sessions and qualifying to start the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the best conditions possible. "We have new tyres and, unfortunately, the winter tests were interrupted by the weather," states David Floury. "After recent tests at Paul Ricard HTTT, we will once again work on this during the week. The sessions will allow us to continue evaluating the rubber's performance and also give some track time to the drivers."
Practice will start on Wednesday, June 9, after the traditional scrutineering in downtown Le Mans.
Soheil Ayari: "A good looking package..."
Soheil, how do you feel a few days before the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
"Very good! We have a good looking package. We have an excellent car, an experienced team that knows the car from top to bottom and a cohesive driving squad. All the elements are in place to have a good showing."
The AIM Team ORECA Matmut completed its preparations with testing at the Castellet. How did that go?
"It was a very fruitful session. We did tyre testing with Dunlop and we found some interesting things during the development; notably for front grip. We clocked a lot of laps and we worked well. The potential is there and since I love participating in this type of testing, I really had fun!"
How well do you think the evolution of the ORECA 01 has gone in the past 12 months?
"The present car has nothing to do with the car I drove at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2009. It has evolved well since last June, whether it be in aerodynamics or tyre wear. I also think the team knows the car a lot better. The car is quick, but at the same time very good to drive. That's what you need for Le Mans!"
Last year's fifth place, is it possible to repeat this performance?
"On paper, I'd be tempted to say no. But the reality of things is a different story! You have to remember that we had a perfect race last year. I don't think you can understand the amount of work that went into it. The wish is the same in 2010: run consistently and be able to fight with Aston Martin, which is the car to beat for us."