Oreca Attacking 2014 On All Fronts

by James Charman
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing will run a Oreca-Nissan in the 2014 season (Credit: Nissan)

Oreca is preparing for an intense 2014 as it competes on multiple fronts at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Based in Magny-Cours, the Oreca engine department will see involvement in almost every form of motorsport possible. The department remains as a partner to Skoda, preparing engines and offering support to the 2013 European Rally Championship and Asian-Pacific Rally Championship winners. Engines will also be supplied to teams in the new World Rallycross Championship as well as working with SMG buggies, Great Wall and the Ford Ranger in rally-raid, kicking the year off with two stage wins on the Dakar Rally – one with Great Wall Haval and one with Red Bull Team SMG.

Oreca will also make an appearance in the world of tin-top racing, developing the 1.6-litre power plant for James Thompson, Rob Huff and Mikhail Kozlovskiy‘s Lada Grantas in the World Touring Car Championship. The engine department will partner Renault in the French brand’s assault on the Formula 3 European Championship as well as developing engines for hill climbing, the Andros Trophy and the one-make series overseen by Oreca.

The main focus for the team, however, remains its sportscar presence. Alongside competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series, the most successful prototype in 2013, the Oreca 03 LMP2, moves to America with the dawn of a new era of American sportscar racing. Two-time defending American Le Mans Series champions Muscle Milk Pickett Racing have taken on the 03 in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

“This was a shakedown test for our new Muscle Milk ORECA/Nissan package and I think we can be very pleased with what we achieved,” said Muscle Milk driver Klaus Graf after preseason testing at Daytona. “The Pickett Racing car ran without any problems, very reliable, which can always be a big question mark in the beginning with a new car and a track like this. We did a lot of laps, gathered a lot of data and learned a lot about the Continental tires. All in all, we’re going away from here with a good spirit for the 24 hour race.”

Since hitting American tracks in 2010, the Oreca-FLM09 has been attracting a multitude of teams and drivers, with its presence getting stronger each year. Having enjoyed much success in the ALMS, the Prototype Challenge car will take on a new challenge as it forms the one-make PC class in the inaugural USCC season.

Finally, a dedicated team has been working closely with Rebellion Racing on the design and construction of the R-One LMP1, with two cars slated to compete in the 2014 WEC season. Conformity tests are scheduled for the end of January. Meanwhile, work continues on the development of a new closed-top LMP2 chassis, the Oreca 05, set for its competition debut in 2015, while the Oreca 03R, an evolution of the current Oreca 03 will make its racing debut in 2014.

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