Successful first outing for the ORECA 03!

The new prototype designed by ORECA Racing Car Manufacturer completed its first laps. Two positive days of testing accomplished.

Only a few months after the drawings were presented, the ORECA 03 took to the track for the first time this week. The new LMP2 ran on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit, first driven by Nicolas Lapierre, then by Soheil Ayari. The pair completed more than 1000 kilometres in two days making it more than just a shakedown for the ORECA 03, motorised in this case by a Nissan V8 engine.

"To see a new ORECA prototype take to the track is always a very special moment," said Hugues De Chaunac. "This was already the case with the ORECA 01 and it is the same now with the ORECA 03, which shows our growth as a constructor. This is the first car designed specially for customers running in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Le Mans series. We were excited about it and Im happy to say that the first tests were very conclusive."

On Tuesday, after beginning the morning with a systems check, the technical team began their development program of the ORECA 03 in earnest. Important work was completed on the aero package, where several different configurations were tested. At the same time, chassis settings for mechanical grip were also explored. For Wednesday, Nicolas Lapierre and Soheil Ayari continued along the same vein and also took advantage of testing to fine-tune the new Michelin tyres as the two men completed both short and long runs.

Nicolas Lapierre, who had been the first to drive the ORECA 01, was delighted with the ORECA 03 : "Its a very positive first outing. On one hand, you find the same qualities that made the ORECA 01 such a strong petrol-powered competitor. On the other, you can feel that the ORECA 03 is a brand new car. The weight balance is different and this gives a very agile car. It handles very well in tight, medium and quick corners. To find such a good balance in the cars first laps is very good for the future." Soheil Ayari echoed these first impressions : "The ORECA 03 showed itself to be perfectly reliable and very well balanced. Its very good under braking with a front end that is particularly efficient. I didnt have any surprises: Im finding similarities with its ,,bigger sister. As for the tyres, they did well and we did long stints without any problems."

After these two days at the Castellet, David Floury offers some conclusions. "The track conditions were ideal for a first-time run," said the Technical Director. "Without wind, we were able to play with the aero configurations which allowed us to establish a good base setup for both twisty and quick tracks. The data is positive and quite close to the simulations we did. These first indicators make us feel confident about the direction we are heading. The drivers are satisfied with the balance and with the Michelins, while the integration of the Nissan motor went very well. Weve also found some interesting solutions for our next outing."

The drivers and engineers will now debrief before returning to the track in the second half of February with the ORECA 03.

-source: oreca