ORECA’s new LMP2 contender has met performance expectations right out of the box, according to technical director David Floury.
The French-built prototype completed a successful shakedown at Paul Ricard on Wednesday, which saw longtime development driver Nicolas Lapierre complete the first laps in the Gibson-powered Oreca 07.
“It’s one phase of the program, but an important and really positive one” Floury said. “We haven’t come across any trouble which has enabled us to work well.
“The level [of] performance reached during these test days is exactly the one we hoped [for] during simulation. So the car’s potential is extremely interesting.”
Floury, who was also headed the design and development of Oreca’s previous-generation LMP2 cars, including the open-top Oreca 03 and Oreca 05, which the 07 is based from, has called its new-for-2017 model the “furthest-developed prototype to date.”
“[The] quality is there too,” he said. “We’ve really leaped forward from the Oreca 05. It’s only the beginning and there’s some more time before the first race in Daytona but it’s a first reward to everybody.”
Ex-Toyota LMP1 factory driver Lapierre, who currently leads the FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 drivers’ standings, said he’s already seen a significant step forward in the Oreca 07.
“A while ago, engineers shown me a really beautiful car, improved on all aspects,” Lapierre said. “And I could just really feel that concretely from the moment I started testing it. I’m loving it already.
“We’ve just kept on running without any trouble and that was a really good working session, really calm. It actually makes me want to get back to the track again. The Oreca 07 really ushers in a new era for the LMP2 class.”
Additional testing and development is planning over the next two months, leading up to the car’s final homologation in December and its race debut in January’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“There’s always a bit of pressure before a first shakedown,” Floury said. “This date had been in our diaries for a long time now, so everyone in the crew should be proud of the work accomplished. Now, moving on to the next phase.”