Team ORECA-Matmut has a lion's hunger! With the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP and a driving squad made up of Olivier Panis, Nicolas Lapierre and Loic Duval, the team looks ambitiously to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After using the beginning of the season...
Team ORECA-Matmut has a lion's hunger!
With the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP and a driving squad made up of Olivier Panis, Nicolas Lapierre and Loic Duval, the team looks ambitiously to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
After using the beginning of the season to discover its new weapon, the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, the Team ORECA-Matmut is getting ready to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the third consecutive year in the top class. Although staying humble, the team from Signes is cautiously ambitious, with a talented trio and the car that won in the Sarthe last June. Hugues de Chaunac's men are ready to roar!
"We wanted a car to fight for the podium at Le Mans. We have it," said Hugues de Chaunac. "It's an exceptional opportunity that we've been given and obviously a great responsibility. The responsibility is to give a podium finish to Peugeot at Le Mans! ORECA represents one of Peugeot's four chances at winning and for us, it's an honor. We have two objectives, one tied to the other: the first is to be at the finish without committing any errors, whether from the drivers or the team. The second objective is reliant upon the first since we have to finish in order to reach the podium!" For this, Team ORECA- Matmut will be able to count on Peugeot Sport's support. Hugues de Chaunac confirms: "The collaboration is going very well, above and beyond what people could think!"
A little more than three months after taking delivery of the "Lion," Team ORECA-Matmut takes the direction of the Sarthe. Since February, the drivers and technical team have mixed tests and races, with the 8 Hours of the Castellet and the 1000km of Spa, to prepare. "We have been a bit unlucky in our preparation," explains David Floury. At Spa, our "rehearsal" was shortened due to a racing incident, but that's not what will stop us! It's up to us to be ready, and to be good. We were already in the running last year with a smart race. We must duplicate that performance this year, knowing that we have the car to battle against the best. We have a solid driving squad, with experience, youth, and we showed at Spa that we are competitive."
Team ORECA-Matmut will be able to refer to a well-run race last year after finishing in fifth place. "The philosophy is identical to that of 2009," continues the Technical Director. "We're also integrating into the Peugeot offensive, on a particularly unique track. We will work hand in hand with Peugeot to gain the maximum from the practice sessions."
The practice sessions start Wednesday, June 9.
Olivier Panis : "We have the weapons to win!"
Olivier, what are your thoughts going into your third 24 Hours of Le Mans?
"I'm impatient, of course! We know that we have a car capable of winning. But Le Mans remains a complicated race. Consequently, I think we will have to base ourselves on last year's performance: that the mechanical reliability and race management be perfect and also only stop for fuel and tyres. In 2009, fifth place was in itself a great result, but this year, we have the weapons to win."
Does this change your approach?
"A little, obviously. To drive the car that won last year is a mix of pride, joy, and serenity. The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP is the reference point for sportcar racing. It's a great opportunity. We need to seize it to the max and not put too much pressure on ourselves."
The start of the season was not easy. How did you live this?
"At the same time, with objectivity and with philosophy. We've gathered information from tests and races since we've had the Peugeot. We've only encountered one problem that never happens and we have now fixed that! But I don't dwell on the accident at Spa. We have run many kilometres since we took delivery of the car and the team and drivers are ready to go. We will use the practice sessions to make final adjustments."
The team is discovering the 908 HDi FAP. Can this be an advantage?
"I think so, yes! It's good to have a big of freshness. We don't have a routine, and to be honest, we're all here with our eyes wide open. Like kids in front of a toy. It feels good...especially when that toy could lead us to a podium at Le Mans!