French manufacturer ORECA has today revealed its new-for-2015 LMP2 coupe that will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series.
The ORECA 05 is the company’s first closed-cockpit LMP2 car, and will act as a preparatory step ahead of the 2017 regulations overhaul that could include 1900mm car widths and a spec engine.
Two customers will campaign the new car this season, with Hong Kong-based KCMG entering one car in the FIA World Endurance Championship, and Thiriet by TDS Racing forging a single-car effort in the European Le Mans Series. In total, seven ORECA chassis will compete in the ACO’s two major sportscar championships this season.
Aesthetically, the ORECA 05 takes inspiration from the LMP1-spec Rebellion R-One, which the French manufacturer also designed, although the ride width has been significantly reduced from the standard 2000mm to 1900mm to coincide with the impending regulation changes. The car’s weight has also been specifically tailored to be lighter than any other LMP2 car this season, thus giving ORECA’s customers a handling advantage.
Traces of the car’s predecessor, the ORECA 03, are also apparent in the new car’s design. ORECA’s design experts have installed updated versions of the 03’s power steering system and starter. Concurrently, several brand-new aspects have also been fitted to the new car, including a new compact gearbox that has already undergone extensive testing.
In terms of safety, the ORECA 05 features several new components that both comply with the ACO’s current rules and look to the sport’s future. The chassis has been reinforced by a set of zylon anti-intrusion panels that prevent debris from penetrating the chassis. ORECA’s specialists have also installed a non-mandatory crash box in the rear of the car to provide the driver with an extra safety boost.
While the ORECA 05 is a new car in its own right, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it represents a transition point between the current and future renditions of the LMP2 class. By utilising and modifying ideas from the highly successful ORECA 03, as well as looking to the future, ORECA is offering something that provides a crucial ‘leg-up’ to the post-2017 era that customer teams will want to receive.
“The ORECA 05 fits into the line of ORECA’s strategy of development as a manufacturer with an operational plan spread over many years” explained David Floury, ORECA’s Technical Director. “The ORECA 03 has been so successful and its history has not come to an end yet. The aim is for the ORECA 05 to maintain that momentum… and to win Le Mans. We’re on a mission ! This is an ambitious programme, on all levels, but Le Mans is clearly a priority for us, just like the United States of America in early 2016.”
“Technically, we’ve made decisions for the future, and not only in terms of safety. Choices regarding the width of the car for instance also illustrate that. Generally speaking, the study consisted in conducting an important work on details. We’ve looked to optimise as many things as possible. In terms of the car’s weight for instance we think that our approach is a radical one compare to our rivals. We’ve paid attention to the team’s observations and feedback, as we wish to establish solid relationships while strengthening existing bonds.”
“We’re embarking on a project that will take us up to 2020, that goes to show how important it is.”
The ORECA 05 will make its first test run in the next few days. It will make its public track debut at the Paul Ricard ELMS test on March 23-24, before making its first race appearance at the ELMS 4 Hours of Silverstone on April 11.