ORECA outlined its future LMP2 customer projects Tuesday by announcing that it will buld a new closed-top prototype for 2015, the Oreca 05, while also providing an upgrade kit to its existing championship-winning Oreca 03 model.
Speaking with Sportscar365, ORECA technical director David Floury (pictured) confirmed they began discussions with the FIA and ACO in September on the creation of the new Oreca 05.
“For sure the FIA is happy that we’re doing a closed-top car,” Floury said. “On safety grounds, it’s clear that the 2014 [LMP1] regulations will bring some new safety rules. It’s a good step forward for safety.
“Bringing a closed-top car also opens the door to more potential customers. With the Oreca 03, we had discussions with some customers but they couldn’t race it because it was an open-top car. It didn’t match with their insurance policies or contracts.”
While the French constructor, in conjunction with Rebellion Racing, will be rolling out its new Rebellion R-One LMP1 car next year, Floury is not expecting much carry over between the two platforms, although confirming ORECA has an agreement with Rebellion to use the same tub.
“The LMP2 will not be a copy of the Rebellion car,” he said. “In LMP2, you’re allowed to use the 2014 LMP1 tub, but the rest of the regulations are pretty different.
“The engine is air restricted in LMP2, where in LMP1, it will be [fuel flow] restricted. The width of the car and rear wing is also different, as well as the aero in the front. It’s a completely different car and type of package.”
While the Oreca 05 won’t begin on-track testing until the end of next year, an updated version of its open-top LMP2 car, now called the Oreca 03R, will debut this spring.
“It’s more or less an upgrade kit,” Floury said. “It will be a new homologation. As the Oreca 03 is performing quite well, it’s very reliable, so the target is to keep the reliability and not change the mechanical side of the car, but to make [aero] improvements.”
Floury expects most existing Oreca 03 teams to purchase the upgrade kit, which he estimates will cost roughly the same as its previous update. However, this time, the focus will be primarily on aerodynamics, which is currently in the design phase.
“Clearly, also we’re taking into account teams’ budgets,” he said. “We’re doing it in the spirit of the cost-capped regulations. So the kit will not be massively expensive to make the Oreca 03 into a 03R.
“We want teams to keep racing the car next year and not [turn them] away because the price package is too expensive [to run].”
Floury confirmed ORECA is also building a few brand-new Oreca 03Rs for next year, although admitted it’s not fully clear yet if one will be headed to a team in America for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.