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ORECA Eyeing LMP1 Project for 2018; Seeking Regulations Clarity

ORECA targeting LMP1 non-hybrid project for 2018, seeking rules clarity…

Photo: Alexis Goure/ORECA

ORECA is working to potentially provide a LMP1 option to customers for the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship season, although it is waiting on key elements of the non-hybrid regulations to be clarified before giving the green light, according to technical director David Floury.

The news comes in the wake of the WEC’s decision to consolidate LMP1 hybrid and non-hybrid prototypes into a single classification next year, through an Equivalency of Technology formula, although few details have emerged on how it will be exactly achieved.

Customer options for LMP1 have been limited thus far, with only Ginetta and Dallara/BR Engineering making its new-for-2018 car publicly available.

“Clearly, as a race car constructor, we’d like to do it. But we have to tick a few boxes before we can really commit,” Floury told Sportscar365.

“The main issue is the timeframe. If you are talking about 2018, the timing is very challenging already.

“We have many requests from potential customers to look into that. Obviously we are also involved with Toyota, so we need to see carefully how we approach this.

“But it also depends on what’s going to happen generally next year. At the moment there’s a lot of uncertainty. One of the main points is that we don’t have technical regulations.”

With a proposal for upgraded LMP2 cars, dubbed LMP2+, having been shot down, Floury said the only realistic option of being on the LMP1 grid next year would be with an all-new car, but utilizing existing components.

Time constraints would not allow ORECA to build an all-new tub, for instance, with the monocoque from its Oreca 07, which is built to LMP1 regulations, to be used for the proposed project.

While having designed and built the Rebellion R-One, which ran from 2014-16, Floury indicated they wouldn’t necessary use components from that car.

“For sure it doesn’t leave the time realistically to do a complete new car,” he said.

“On the other hand, we already have a baseline and don’t need to redesign everything. It’s a matter of building a new car with some of the components carried over from existing cars and projects, along with some new components.”

Floury said they’ve already been in discussions with potential engine suppliers and said the LMP1 project would only feature a single powerplant option, also because of the timing.

A decision on whether or not to go ahead with the car, which could be called the Oreca 09, would need to be made by the end of the month.

“I think it’s going to be difficult to have confirmed customers [at the time of committing to the project] but for sure to go ahead, we need to have a good understanding of [what] the market could be,” Floury said.

“I don’t think we can wait until we have firm orders to go for it, otherwise we wouldn’t have any time to do a proper project.

“The idea is not just to do a car to fill the grid. If we do it, we’ll try to do it in the proper way.”

The biggest holdup so far, Floury said, has been the lack of information on the revised LMP1 regulations.

While FIA and ACO tech chiefs have indicated that the non-hybrid regulations would remain unchanged for next year, questions remain how the cars will be made to match the performance levels of LMP1 hybrids, which will reportedly remain untouched.

“We cannot commit if we don’t have more visibility on where the future will be,” Floury said.

“There’s also a question mark on how long this car would be eligible. Is it only 2018/19, is it longer term? Depending on who you discuss with, you have different answers. It doesn’t help committing to it.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Slicks in the wet

    September 18, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Of course Oreca would find further ways to profit from the poor ACO/FIA decision making process.

    Purely coincidental.

    • TT

      September 18, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Yeah, it’s not like they are in the business of building and selling racing cars. /s

    • Mike S

      September 18, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Business take advantage of opportunities. Stamp collecting, airplane manufacturing, widget making etc. Racing isn’t exempt.

      • Slicks in the wet

        September 19, 2017 at 12:42 am

        True. Just very neat how ACO has torpedoed IMP2 competiton, which helped Ligier, and now their handling of LMP1 could help Oreca. The French connection of it all stinks of extra cronyism.

  2. AudiTT

    September 18, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Very good to see so much interest from constructors and privateers in LMP1. Took a bit of a shockwave to get us here, but it’s for the better long-term.

    I personally expect Rebellion and JOTA/DC racing to go with ORECA. Manor seems to be close to the Roberts camp. Incidentally Dallara/SMP are making their chassis available to customers too.

  3. Carefull with that Eugene, Axe.

    September 18, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Of course, they will use the R1, everybody knows it. It just needs a name change and some design tweaks because Rebellion owns the project.

  4. Anonymous

    September 18, 2017 at 10:46 am

    This might give Alpine their opportunity to enter LMP1, just use the Oreca chassis, stick a Renault? Engine in it and change the aesthetics. Alpine can’t stay in LMP2 once their new A110 enters production because then they’ll be a car manufacturer, which isn’t permitted in LMP2. And I can’t see them going to IMSA and entering DPi as I don’t think Alpine have any presence in the United States.

    • Mike

      September 18, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      > Alpine can’t stay in LMP2 once their new A110 enters production because then they’ll be a car manufacturer, which isn’t permitted in LMP2

      It shouldn’t have even ben allowed this season. The second they announced the marque’s production return that should have been it. Now not only do they get the free marketing for the production car this season, they also ever so conveniently announced a spec race series with the car. Completely in violation of the spirit of the rule, but they’re French so…

  5. Mike

    September 18, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    It would also be easy enough to have Toyota take a step back from the hybrid for just the super season: have Oreca build cars with a Toyota engine for them’ while they design and build the next hybrid contender to take on Peugeot in 2020. Imagine all the cars that might show in P1 if there were 0 hybrids in the field.

    • David Chaste

      September 18, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      What miss a chance for a sure shot lemans victory against minnows just to wait to face another giant ?

      Victory is victory. Audi wasnt holding back in 2006 when they beat Pescarolo. It counts as a legit victory.

      • Mike S.

        September 18, 2017 at 7:03 pm

        For marketing a Toyota victory at Le Mans (even without any competition) would be a legit victory. Based on the utter crushing defeat they have faced there the last 2 tries it isn’t a certainty by any means. They have had advantages and still reliability crushed them in the last 5 minutes and as night fall came for both cars within 15 minutes of each other in the 2017 edition of Le Mans.

        • John

          September 18, 2017 at 8:44 pm

          To be fair, one of the retirements came as a result of a collision.

          The other a pit lane anomaly that exposed a vulnerability in their design, so they do have to own up for that one.

          But Toyota does have a strange knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

          There are no guarantees; teams have to compete for all 24hrs. That’s what makes the race great.

          No matter what happens, it’s clear that ’18-19 is going to be transitional period. The powers that be need to get ’20 and beyond right.

  6. guest

    September 18, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    LOL, another constructor…”We’ll have a P1 car, anyone want to buy?”

    ..insert crickets sound clip here…

    • Steven

      September 18, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      Considering ORECA knows there stuff. A lot of the major LMP2 teams would commit to the chassis if they wanted to move up.

    • David Chaste

      September 19, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      Bar a built by a manufacturer, this is the P1 car to buy if anyone wanted to chance it.

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