why does Oreca 07 dominate LMP2 so much?

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Do you know many race cars produced in 100 copies? At the end of May the tricolor brand Oreca delivered during a small ceremony the hundredth chassis of its 07, queen of the LMP2 category*. The machine will participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2022 for the Cool Racing team. By comparison, the Porsche factory produced 93 units of its legendary 962, which, however, was ubiquitous on the planet of resistance in the second half of the 1980s.

This figure is all the more remarkable as Oreca is a young manufacturer: the brand only designed and assembled its first vehicle in 2009, after the acquisition of the know-how of the craftsman Yves Courage. “We hadn’t expected so much enthusiasm for Oreca 07,” says Hugh de Chaunac, founder and head of Oreca. Initially, in 2017, we were four manufacturers designated by the Western Automobile Club and the International Automobile Federation to manufacture cars used in LMP2. Assuming that everyone could share a quarter of the cars produced, our goal was to have a market share of 30-35%.

The prototypes were fixed for five years by regulation, this represented a potential of about thirty chassis 07. Five years later, Oreca has a virtual monopoly.

Origins of LMP1

At first, there was a somewhat urgent order. In late 2013, the Swiss Rebellion team, which competed in the royal LMP1 category, had just lost its chassis supplier. The former British house Lola had gone bankrupt. The phone rang in Signes, where Oreca 03 had already been created, a very convincing LMP2 boat. ” We have designed and developed the Rebellion R-One in six months rewinds Christophe Guibbal, director of the design office. This prototype finished fourth in its first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014.

At that time, the men and women of the builder of the Var were also working on the creation of a new closed body LMP2. “We managed to negotiate the use of the tools to make the 05,” explains Christophe Guibbal. The budget for creating the new car is tight. “There were many bring of the Rebellion R-One at 05, then at 07 ″, confirms the engineer. He The helmet of rebellion is still present in the current LMP2, eight years later. The 05 was a success: the KCMG team won its category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2015.

In 2017, the most powerful Gibson V8 prevails over all competitors. This is how the current Oreca 07 was born. He was the last of the new generation LMP2 to take to the track for debugging, led by Nicolas Lapierre, at the Paul-Ricard circuit. Worrying? “He volunteered,” says Christophe Giubbal, with an Aveyron accent. We focused on the aerodynamic part rather than the mechanics. We thought that was where we had the best return on investment. “

Homogeneity

The recipe works. “At that time, in endurance racing, there was a fashion for high muzzles, open front hoods … explains the father of the machine. We have most of them he wanted to make a homogeneous car, comfortable in traffic, not very sensitive to wind and not concentrating all its features in a straight line.“. The most observant spectators of Le Mans can remember the exceptional maximum speeds (up to 347 km / h), but also the unpleasant character of the rival Dallara P217. A real problem in a category where experienced professionals, young aspirants and drivers coexist. “One of the great strengths of this car is that it has one wide window of operation and use, sums up Christophe Guibbal, author of 07 with David Floury. Reliable from the outset, the car was also imposed on the teams for the accessibility of the parts to be replaced and the care of the wiring …

Orders arrived quickly. After Signatech or Jota, Oreca even prevailed over Ligier’s favorite team, United Autosport. At Signes we had to strengthen ourselves. Right next to the kilns that produce the carbon parts, the assembly workshop brings together a handful of specialists. Allow 300 hours of work to assemble a 07.

“Generally, during the last week, we bring one or two mechanics from the customer’s team, including the car manager“This allows us to advise and supervise,” explains Julien Bardon, responsible for the assembly of the LMP2 unit. Oreca can “go out” one chassis a month and the order book is full. If you sign the check today, you will receive your car in twelve months. And as we are talking (big) below: “the selling price of the new, complete car, without the single engine or all approved electronic equipment, should not exceed € 483,000“, Specifies the article 1.2 of the technical rule LMP2 published by the International Federation of Automobile. Air conditioning is optional, with a limit of 7,000 euros for the same text.

Last strong point of 07: after-sales service. “In the circuits we have a truck to supply parts, but it is a minimum,” says Hugues de Chaunac. We always have 6 to 8 people working in our customers’ boxes. know the needs, anticipate, keep in touch. This customer service is costing us money and would be easy to reduce, but we don’t want to reduce it. In short, we know that for the same car they will prefer to work with us than with another manufacturer ”.

A strategic point. Because a the new LMP2 category will be launched in 2025. Like its competitors, Oreca will start from scratch for a new certification cycle … with the advantage of reputation. “It’s like in football, when you always finish in the top six of your championship,” said Hugues de Chaunac. This car gave Oreca a critical size and legitimacy. We are at the forefront of motorsport. Builders come to us because they know what they will find here. ” What if this was Oreca 07’s best victory?

A remarkable career

  • 100 frames built
  • Undefeated since 2017 in the World Endurance Championship
  • Victory in LMP2 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017, 18 *, 19 *, 20 and 21
  • 2nd place overall in 2017 (Jackie Chan DC Racing / Tung-Laurent-Jarvis)
  • 24-hour podiums for LMP1 derivatives (Rebellion R13, Alpine A480)

* under the name Alpine

Technical file

  • Oreca 07 (since 2017)
  • Chassis: carcass and carbon body
  • Length. (m): 4.74 x 1.89 x 1.04
  • Wheelbase (m): 3.00
  • Weight (kg): 930
  • Suspensions: double arms with pushbuttons
  • Brakes: ventilated carbon discs, 6-piston monobloc calipers
  • Engine: Gibson GK428 90 ° V8, naturally aspirated, limited to 9,000 rpm, 4,200 cc
  • Transmission: rear wheels, transverse X-Trac gearbox, paddles on the steering wheel, pneumatic controls, 6 gears + reverse
  • Power (cv): 603
  • Pair (Nm): 555
  • Deposit (l): 75

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