ORECA is celebrating its 40th anniversary, in the same year the 24 Hours of Le Mans celebrates its 90th year. It is a special double anniversary for the Team ORECA who, although it has competed in all the disciplines, has fallen in love with the La Sarthe twice around the clock classic.
A logo and a diary…
During the race week, several ORECA 03 chassis entered by customer teams will carry a special sticker « Le Mans Addict ». The Customer Racing Program mechanics and engineers will also wear the logo on their firesuits.
In addition, several thousand giant foam hands will be distributed to fans during the Le Mans week. Hugues de Chaunac will also keep a daily diary on www.oreca.fr in which he will tell personal stories of his 24 Hours of Le Mans experience.
ORECA has become a Le Mans « addict » through the challenges
The love story between Le Mans and ORECA began in 1977, the first of 18 participations for the Group. « Such a number, it’s an exceptional achievement and I never would have imagined it » admits Hugues de Chaunac. « It means that we have been at Le Mans one year in two. I remember well my first time as team manager. I was living a dream. I was walking on air because I was so happy. It was nothing but joy !”
Through the challenges taken on, ORECA has become a Le Mans « addict ». From the Alpine A442 that caught fire to the TOYOTA TS030 - entered by TOYOTA Racing with on-track support from ORECA - taking the lead of the race by putting two wheels on the grass.
Or Bernard Darniche’s last lap with the BMW M1 and capturing the fastest race lap in the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, without forgetting of course the glorious sound of the winning Mazda 787B, the fabulous Chrysler Viper era, fan favorite Dallaras, and the ORECA 01 decorated in Mondrian colors.
There are many anecdotal stories and strong emotions for not only Hugues de Chaunac but also the mechanics and engineers when they remember previous editions.
In June, the whole group lives at the legendary Le Mans pace : the pressure, the anticipation, the excitement, the effort and reward. And always that human adventure without equal…
During all of these years, like a passionate romance, there have been highs and lows. Moments of joy and moments of disappointment.
But as Hugues de Chaunac so rightly puts it, « the attraction is strong and there’s no question about missing an edition. In the years that
ORECA was not present, there was something missing and we quickly returned. Le Mans is a race that seduces you, but often deprives you as well. That’s what makes it magical I’ve had the chance a few times to be on the podium and to be a little lost in the myth and legend. That sensation is so thrilling that all you want to do is feel it again and again. »
Many chapters have been written, but there are many more to come – notably as a constructor. Seven ORECA 03 will be present in the LM P2 class, not forgetting the Alpine A450, built and developed by ORECA. Seven of the eight prototypes are powered by a Nissan V8 prepared by the ORECA engine department based at Magny-Cours.
ORECA at Le Mans
- 19th participation in 2013
- More than 40 cars entered / 5 cars entered in 2000
- 1 overall win in support of Mazdaspeed (1991)
- 3 class wins as Viper Team ORECA (1998, 1999, 2000)
- 1 fastest race lap (2010)
- 6 overall top fives in the last 9 participations (2001, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011)
- 10 marques with which ORECA has competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours: Alpine (1977), BMW (1981), Mazda (1991-1992), Chrysler (1996-2002), Reynard (2000), Dallara (2001-2002), Audi (2005), Saleen (2007), Peugeot (2010, 2011),Toyota (2012, 2013) - 73 drivers have competed for ORECA at the 24 Hours of Le Mans