The chassis manufacturers are present at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where they provide technical support to the teams fielding their cars. Here’s how things work at Oreca.
Twelve Oreca 07s and two Alpine A470s took to the start of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans 2017, fielded by nine teams in the LMP2 class. Oreca has its own premises in the paddock, occupied by around fifteen technicians, mechanics and engineers from its customer support department.
In racing jargon, we say that Oreca supplies the chassis, but that actually means the chassis and the bodywork. "Each team has its own set of spare parts, but we also have our own stock,” explains Olivier Loisy, head of communications at Oreca. “We have everything we need to take care of everyday issues and we can reproduce parts on-site as and when they are used by the teams. Of course, we only have a limited number of larger parts such as the car’s rear end, which costs €40-50,000."
Oreca’s technicians keep in touch with one another by radio, so they are able to get to the teams quickly in an emergency. “In addition to the engineers, there’s at least one technician assigned to each team. That’s crucial because although the team mechanics are fully familiar with their car, Oreca actually built it and its staff provide additional expertise. No joke, if they find an Oreca bolt on the ground, they know exactly where it came from!" Sometimes damaged parts can be repaired on the spot and that’s also part of Oreca’s job.
Four manufacturers were selected to supply LMP2 prototypes for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and all the cars in the class are powered by the same engine, a 4.2-litre Gibson V8. The maximum price of the prototypes — €490,000 — is also stipulated by the regulations.
Photo (ORECA): The #13 Vaillante Rebellion, one of 12 Orecas competing at the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans.