With eight hours of testing, the Test Day for the 24 Hours of Le Mans is traditionally a busy day with multiple objectives.
Nine ORECA chassis will be on track Sunday, June 9 for the official Test Day for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Seven ORECA 03 and two Alpine A450s, built and developed by ORECA, will take part in the final test before the twice around the clock classic.
The ORECA 03, coming off three consecutive wins (Silverstone, Spa and Imola) will be in full preparation mode for the biggest race of the 2013 season, marking the 90th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 40th year for the ORECA Group.
"The teams have to give the drivers time to readjust to a track that has evolved from one year to the next, and/or give driving time to rookies who have to complete their minimum laps to be eligible to race. All this while beginning the set up work on the car. On the technical side, we’re introducing a new Le Mans kit in line with the rules and regulations.
The Test Day allows us to validate the data from simulations and to gain as much experience with the new package for both this race and next season. Also, several teams will be running Michelin tires, something new in LM P2 for this year, so these sessions will give teams a chance to test them in real conditions."
Three representatives from the FIA World Endurance Championship… Among the teams representing ORECA at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, two teams enter three ORECA 03s in the FIA World Endurance Championship on a regular basis: two for G-Drive Racing by Delta-ADR and one for Pecom Racing.
These two teams will not only be preparing for the toughest endurance race of the season, but also the third round of the 2013 championship.
Pecom Racing are the current leaders after winning at Spa with Luis Perez Companc, Pierre Kaffer and Nicolas Minassian. DelaADR, winners at Silverstone, are in fourth and fifth positions in the title chase.
Usual driver Tor Graves will return to the No. 25 cockpit, but will be joined by Shinji Nakano and Archie Hamilton. For the No. 26, Roman Rusinov, John Martin and Mike Conway will handle driving duties, joined by reserve driver James Walker.
Four teams from the European Le Mans Series… Four season entrants in the European Le Mans Series will also be taking part in the 24 Heures du Mans and consequently the Test Day.
Thiriet by TDS, leading the championshp fight after their victory at Imola, will entrust their ORECA 03 to Pierre Thiriet, Ludovic Badey and Maxime Martin. Meanwhile, Michel Frey and Patric Niederhauser, second in the championship, will be joined by experienced driver Jeroen Bleekemolen at Race Performance.
Boutsen Ginion Racing will have a foursome on hand for these preliminary tests, with Thomas Dagoneau, Bastien Brière, Matt Downs and Rodin Younessi. Finally, at Murphy Prototypes, Brendon Hartley and Mark Patterson will share seat time with Karun Chandhok.
For their 40th anniversary, ORECA is the most well represented constructor in Le Mans Prototype (LM P1 and LM P2 classes combined). Including the two Alpine A450s, no fewer than nine chassis built in the ORECA workshops in Signes, France, will be on track for the Test Day.
That’s more than Ferrari in the GT class, without counting the ORECA-FLM 09 cars who will be on hand testing for Team Endurance Challenge.
Six of the seven ORECA 03 will be powered by a Nissan V8 prepared in the ORECA engine department at Magny-Cours. The two Alpine A450 will also be powered by this engine, as will a Lola.