Last week saw the new ORECA 03 on track for their time as the team turned manufacturer shook down the LMP2 design at Paul Ricard.
Nicolas Lapierre and Sohiel Ayari, both regular drivers in ORECA's LMP1 entrants, shared 1000km of testing around the French test track. The two day test saw the squad work on aerodynamic settings for the car and well as working on chassis set-up and tyre testing on both long and short runs.
“To see a new ORECA prototype take to the track is always a very special moment,” said ORECA boss Hugues De Chaunac. “This was already the case with the ORECA 01 [the team's LMP1 car] and it is the same now with the ORECA 03, which shows our growth as a constructor. This is the first car designed specially for customers running in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Le Mans series. We were excited about it and I'm happy to say that the first tests were very conclusive.”
The two days of testing was blessed with near perfect conditions, Technical Director David Floury describing the track conditions as “ideal”.
“The data is positive and quite close to the simulations we did,” he explained. “These first indicators make us feel confident about the direction we are heading. The drivers are satisfied with the balance and with the Michelins, while the integration of the Nissan motor went very well.”
Lapierre, who was also the first man to drive the ORECA 01 when it was introduced in 2009 compared the new Nissan V8 engined car to its big brother. “On one hand,” he said, “you find the same qualities that made the ORECA 01 such a strong petrol-powered competitor. On the other, you can feel that the ORECA 03 is a brand new car. The weight balance is different and this gives a very agile car. It handles very well in tight, medium and quick corners. To find such a good balance in the car's first laps is very good for the future.”
The team will return to Paul Ricard for further testing later this month.