ORECA is aiming to find an OEM partner for its targeted FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar program by the end of this year, according to its president Hugues de Chaunac.
The French constructor, which is already active in LMP2 and has ties to the Rebellion Racing LMP1 squad, has been a long-time observer of the new formula, which is set to debut in 12 months’ time.
De Chaunac told Sportscar365 in June that the company was hoping to reach an agreement with an OEM manufacturer to develop a car for the new regulations, and has been in discussions with prospective partners since then.
“Before the end of the year, we need to be in a proper position, because time is becoming shorter and shorter,” said de Chaunac, when asked how long ORECA can wait before committing to hypercar during last weekend’s 4 Hours of Silverstone.
“For the moment, we will see depending on when we are ready, we will see when we can start. It’s not easy to be ready anywhere for September 2020, but we will see.”
De Chaunac confirmed that ORECA is currently talking to two OEMs about forging a technical partnership, while the company “is about to start” discussions with a third.
He suggested that these potential partners vary in size, but all have motorsport pedigree including prior experience in sports car racing.
“I can say that with the summer it was not easy to have some discussions, but we have the same target to try to find a partnership with an OEM,” he said.
“I think it’s important, not only for us but also for the championship because at the moment there are only two car manufacturers in Toyota and Aston Martin.
“We are working on it, but it takes time. We have to convince an OEM to know if we have a chance, but I am confident.”
When asked about what guarantees OEM companies want from ORECA in order to commit to an agreement, de Chaunac said: “They don’t want guarantees from ORECA, but they need to be convinced by the quality of the championship.
“They know that ORECA is a very good technical partner for them to do it. From our side, we do not have to prove anything. It’s more to help the championship.
“But I think it’s a good investment for them to be in such a championship.”
Rebellion Working to Earlier Deadline
Rebellion Racing wants to sign off a technical partnership for its Hypercar program even sooner than the end of the year, according to the Swiss team’s CEO Calim Bouhadra.
Rebellion, which currently receives support from ORECA to run its WEC LMP1 program with the Rebellion R13 Gibson, has been evaluating its Hypercar involvement in recent weeks.
“We have put the deadline to the end of September. We have no choice because we are already late for the 2020 season,” Bouhadra told Sportscar365.
“To be realistic [a Rebellion Hypercar entry] is 2021-22. You need a year and a half to make a car happen. We have no choice that we have to take a decision very quickly.”
Bouhadra suggested that the decision to reduce Rebellion’s LMP1 entry for the current 2019-20 season from two full-time cars to one was partly made to free up resources for a possible Hypercar project.
“It is simply because of financial parameters,” he said. “We want to spend less money on this season to prepare for the new regulations because it’s going to cost us to have the new car and for lots of other things.
“We need to be efficient, and to be efficient is to spread the resources and priorities.”
Last month, Bouhadra hinted that the team could use 2020-21 as a development season for a potential Hypercar program, with a grandfathered LMP1 chassis mated to a Hypercar powertrain.