ORECA has ruled out a DPi program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, although revealing a significant level of interest in the prototype platform for the future. (En Français)
The French constructor is set to focus entirely on its Gibson-engined Oreca 07 next year, with at least a dozen of the global-spec cars anticipated to be sold, according to ORECA President Hugues de Chaunac.
“We decided in July not to be present with DPi in 2017 given the timing,” De Chaunac told Endurnace-Info. “But we’re discussing with three manufacturers for 2018.”
De Chaunac said an effort is underway to debut its new LMP2 car in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, and potentially a full-season program with a customer team.
“Two options are being considered [for Daytona], to either run with an American team or a European team,” De Chaunac said. “If we do, it will be a team to play a leading role.
“Being in Daytona remains a goal but not a requirement. Sebring is also on the radar.”
The first Oreca 07 will not begin on-track testing until mid-October, in what De Chaunac stresses is not a delay but rather additional time to optimize further components.
Nicolas Lapierre has been tabbed as the development driver, with the constructor also set to utilize a gentleman driver in parallel, to ensure the car is well suited to all skill levels.
In terms of sales, De Chaunac expects at least 12 cars, either brand-new Oreca 07s, or teams purchasing the upgrade kit for its existing Oreca 05, for next year.
“Things are looking good from a construction schedule that’s being respected,” he said. “We’re entering the period of car sales.
“For an order placed right now, deliveries can be made in late December or early January.”
ORECA is expected to be the only LMP2 constructor without a DPi effort next year, with Dallara building the Cadillac DPi and Multimatic-Riley behind Mazda’s program.
It’s understood that Onroak Automotive is working on DPi projects with both Nissan and Honda, although the latter may not debut until 2018.