One of the most successful prototype constructors has thrown its hat into the ACO’s newly announced class.
Sportscar365 has learned that ORECA is considering building a car for the LMP3 category, which will launch in the European and Asian Le Mans Series beginning in 2015.
The French manufacturer, which offers customer prototypes for LMP2 and LMPC and recently announced plans to build a new closed-top P2 car, is looking to expand into the new cost-capped platform, but has yet to pull the trigger.
“We are waiting for the rulebook,” ORECA technical director David Floury told Sportscar365. “The ACO is working very hard on this at the moment. We are obviously involved in the process and the ACO knows we are interested in entering the category as a manufacturer.
“They’ve asked us some questions about the project, but at the moment, as long as we don’t have a final rulebook, it’s too early to say what our plans will be.”
Floury said one of the big factors would be the economical side, as the proposed rules stipulate that a turn-key LMP3 car cannot sell for more than 150,000 Euros ($202,000).
It’s a similar price point to the current CN formula, which will be adopted in the Asian LMS next year.
While having announced plans earlier this year to build a CN car (pictured, above), Floury said that’s now been put on hold as they wait on likely regulation changes.
“Obviously as this is a cost-capped category, it’s quite tough from an [economical] recovery point of view,” Floury said of the LMp3 platform. “You have to make sure the market is big enough to balance your investment.
“As a company, we clearly have to weigh this. We don’t have a multi-millionaire backing all projects. We have to make sure we reach an economical balance on any project we’re doing.”
ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil said he expects between two to four manufacturers to commit to the LMP3 formula for its launch year.
While the final rulebook has yet to be released, Floury believes that a “big part” of its CN design, which is 90 percent complete, could be transferrable to LMP3, should ORECA decide to go that route.