OAK Racing has signalled it’s intentions to step up and become a manufacturer after putting the necessary infrastructure including a new base in Le Mans which includes a design office.
The team are currently based in Magny-Cours and will retain the facilities there alongside the new presence at the Le Mans Technoparc, team President Jacques Nicolet explain the decision was due to the need to “be as close as possible to the main event of our sporting programme, the Le Mans 24 Hours, is a good strategy for the team.”
The new design office was formed at the beginning of August with four engineers who between them have a vast amount of knowledge designing prototype cars.
“My initial aim was always to become a manufacturer,” explained Nicolet. “The implementation of the new 2011 ACO rules offers an interesting opportunity which must not be missed. This is a turning point which meant it was necessary to move up a step. The next generation LMP1s will be very close to the current LMP2s and the new generation of LMP2 car is heading in the direction of cost reduction.
“We strongly believe in this 'low cost' concept for the class and we are developing a customer strategy in order to offer the new generation LMP2s to the market. Our 2010 Pescarolo chassis has demonstrated its reliability and performance on a regular basis and is the ideal base for the new LMP2 and LMP1 cars. In fact work has already begun! For the LMP2, the design office has started to adapt parts with our suppliers in order to reach the cost reductions expected. The 2011 LMP2 will not be dedicated to one specific engine supplier but will be able to run on any type of powerplant.
“For the LMP1 car, we have started to adapt the current LMP2 chassis. Specific work has been done on the drive trains and the aerodynamic works has also started.”
The team also confirmed it will continue its racing activities and will enter at least one LMP1 car for the seven round 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.
“The 2010 season is far from over,” said General Manager FranÃ§ois Sicard. “OAK Racing will compete in the three rounds of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup this year at Silverstone, Petit Le Mans and Zhuhai with two LMP2s in the USA and probably one in China due to the heavy logistics involved and the development tests we already have planned. We are also looking to conclude the Le Mans Series season on a high at the Silverstone 1000kms.”