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ORECA Taking Challenge of New Projects “Day-to-Day”

ORECA navigating its way through gloabl supply chain disruption as new projects come online…

Photo: MPS Agency

ORECA is taking the challenge of having several new sports car racing projects and the construction of a new manufacturing plant on a “day-to-day” basis amid industry-wide supply chain issues and shortages, according to the company’s technical director.

French firm ORECA is developing the spine for the Acura and Alpine LMDh cars, debuting next year and in 2024 respectively, as well as building orders for the Ferrari 296 GT3.

It is also constructing an expansion to its Signes headquarters that is due for completion mid-next year and continues to build examples of the Oreca 07 LMP2 car.

Technical chief Remi Taffin told reporters at Le Mans last weekend that ORECA, like most automotive companies, is faced with supply-related challenges that regularly impact how it executes projects in the short term.

“It’s really a day-to-day,” Taffin explained.

“You plan everything that you may plan, but the plans we make are to be changed. The real challenge is the number of changes we have along this plan.

“It is clear that the current situation is making us review our planning every single day. It does not mean that we are pushing back everything, but it is a matter of making priorities.

“That’s what makes us uncomfortable sometimes, because we have to speed up some of the work and slow down.

“We haven’t got four teams: we have one good team. You just have to play with that, and also ensure that you still have a lot of support from your partners and suppliers who have problems too.

“In the end, you can call it teamwork. We have to ensure that we stay together to make sure these things happen. That’s the most difficult thing we have to deal with at the minute.

“Making sure that everyone is taking these new challenges into account, and we make it all together.”

Some of the materials relevant to ORECA’s work that are impacted by global supply chain disruption and shortages include computer chips, semiconductors, carbon, composites, aluminum and other metals.

Taffin noted that demand for racing has not subsided since those global issues arose during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We often forget that, for some reason, when we thought we would get out of this period, we would be calm and it would ramp up very gently,” he said.

“But actually it was like a step. It’s also the fact that everyone wishes to race. There are some drivers not in cars because there are no cars for them to race.

“There are people who want to make new projects, but there is simply not enough bandwidth within our suppliers and our hands.

“We have a kind of double effect where everybody wishes to make more, and at the same time we are suffering some shortages and supply issues.

“All in all, it makes the situation very stressful. It’s not one thing.”

It is not known how many orders have been placed for the 2023 Ferrari 296 GT3, but the car has generated substantial customer interest according to the Italian manufacturer.

The new Ferrari, which replaces the 488 GT3 model, is projected to debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona with Cetilar Racing already confirmed as one of the customers.

The first ORECA-based LMDh to hit the market, the Acura ARX-06, is also poised to debut at Daytona in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s new GTP class.

Two other important dates are the IMSA sanctioned tests for LMDh cars at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (Oct. 3-5) and Daytona International Speedway (Dec. 6-7).

Taffin declared that ORECA is on-schedule to enable the Ferrari and the Acura to race for the first time in January, however intermediate deadlines are harder to define.

The Acura is yet to complete its first rollout, while the Ferrari turned wheels for the first time in April.

“We are on schedule for racing next year,” Taffin said.

“This is our main problem: we have no other choice but [to] go racing. So we are working on schedule to go racing at Daytona next year, whether it is the Acura or the Ferrari.

“Are we comfortable with the planning? No. Because we have to push every single day.

“Will we be on time? Yes. Will we be in Daytona? I hope we will be competing to win. Would we like to get cars on track sooner? Yes.

“But we have a plan and we are trying to get along with our plan, but we know we must judge with this whole situation.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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