Chrysler LMP makes debut at Donington

Chrysler Team ORECA will debut its Le Mans Prototype racecar in the third round of the American Le Mans Series at Donington Park in the UK, on April 14. The Chrysler prototype will race in it's all new livery of silver and blue. The Donington ...

Chrysler Team ORECA will debut its Le Mans Prototype racecar in the third round of the American Le Mans Series at Donington Park in the UK, on April 14. The Chrysler prototype will race in it's all new livery of silver and blue.

The Donington event, which is also the second round of the European Le Mans Series that started at Sebring last month, will be used by Chrysler as an early test for the Le Mans 24 hours which takes place on 16/17 June, in which three Mopar 6.0-litre V8-powered Chrysler LMPs will race. The team has not raced at Donington since 1999 (in the FIA GT Championship), when Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlinger won in the Chrysler Viper GTS R/T.

At Donington the entry is made in the name of Team Playstation, in appreciation of a principal sponsor which will also support Chrysler team ORECA at Le Mans.

Four-time Le Mans winner Yannick Dalmas will share the Chrysler LMP with Monegasque Olivier Beretta. The pair have shared much of the workload in developing the new car and its revised engine from that which raced at Le Mans last year. The remaining drivers for the Le Mans 24-hours will be announced at a later date.

The team has recently completed a successful test at Jerez, Spain, last week, completing more than 750 trouble-free kilometres with the new engine and chassis package. "It was a good first step, and the second is coming," said Beretta after the test.

"It is very early days and we are a little bit in the unknown," says team director Pierre Dieudonné. "We are not coming to the race with a real ambition. We have a target, which is Le Mans, and racing is the best proving ground. After three days of testing everyone was quite pleased but it is a little unusual to go to your first race after just one test with the new engine. We are not realy comparing ourselves to the opposition at Donington, as our whole project is geared towards Le Mans."

Dalmas, who last raced at Donington in 1998, added: "The test was very positive but we still have a lot of work to do. Donington is a little bit early for us but it is important that we get a lot of mileage with the new Mopar engine and it is better to race than to test. I think that the Dallara chassis with the Mopar will be a very good package, but I don't want to make a comparison with the other cars immediately, just start to work on the new engine, the aerodynamics and the chassis development."

The two-hour, 45 minute race is scheduled to start at 12:10 on Easter Saturday, April 14. Thirty cars have been entered for the race, more than half of them spectacular Le Mans prototypes that will be aiming for overall Le Mans victory in two months.

-Chrysler Motorsports

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Yannick Dalmas , Karl Wendlinger , Olivier Beretta , Pierre Dieudonné