Forty years after its very first entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, ORECA has managed to achieve remarkable outcomes, while also triumphing with one of its cars for the third consecutive year. Amongst those outcomes: to have a new prototype win on its first entry and to monopolise the three steps of the podium. Even better: to have led such a ruthless challenge, for both men and machines. A winning trio achieved by Chinese team Jackie Chan DC Racing first and its Swiss rival Vaillante Rebellion just behind.
Following on KCMG’s success back in 2015 with the ORECA 05 and Team Signatech’s last year with the Alpine A460, ORECA has more than ever shone in the most famous and prestigious endurance race in the world this year.
With a delegation comprising fourteen cars on the starting grid, the best lap time in the Test Day, then the pole position achieved on Thursday eve, the French manufacturer proved that it had what it takes for this 85th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Yet figures and performances over one lap are sometimes very little facts compared to the reality of how demanding this long and complex race is.
At no point during the race, and under a scorching weather, did the chassis manufactured in Signes’s workshops fail. Some race incidents led to several withdrawals, but what’s to keep in mind is that eleven of the fourteen chassis crossed the finish line. A great performance for a very first entry in this great classic!
But the greatest of all performances is obviously the final result, with a whole group of ORECA chassis in the lead of the LM P2 standings, at the end of the race. After a Homeric fight between Vaillante Rebellion’s two ORECA 07s and Team Signatech Alpine Matmut’s Alpine A470, Jackie Chan DC Racing – co-owned by famous actor Jackie Chan – finally got the last word, in style. The Chinese team delivered an almost entirely flawless race – with the supervision of British team Jota Sport, based in Tunbridge Wells – taking control of the class at the end of the night. During three hour, crew Jarvis-Laurent-Tung even saw itself sealing a first place overall. Heads in the clouds: probably a nod made to the ‘ming’ clouds on the bodyworks of the #37 and #38 ORECA 07s.
For its 10th year participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rebellion brand through squad Vaillante Rebellion was also on it to clinch the laurels at the end of the challenge, up until half-way through the race at least. Having raced in the first two positions since the start, both of the Swiss team’s cars had a difficult morning. Senna/Prost/Canal’s #31 lost all chances to win after a contact overnight. Though the ORECA 07s racing under the colours of Michel Vaillant finally had to give way to Jackie Chan DC Racing’s “leaders” (1st and 3rd), the Swiss squad can still celebrate a second place in LM P2 with the #13 ORECA.
Defending the title, Team Signatech Alpine Matmut arrived in 5th place overall with the #35 and crew Panciatici-Negrao-Ragues, completing the ORECA chassis winning quartet in this challenge. A whole group of ORECA chassis finished in the Top 10, amongst which Graff Racing completed, a real success as they were returning to the 24 Hours of Le Mans 24 years after their last entry. They clinched the 6th place in class, just in front of CEFS Manor TRS Racing’s #24 ORECA 07. For its first entry in La Sarthe, DragonSpeed crossed the finish line within the top fifteen places, despite a technical stop this morning.
Having manufactured LMP prototypes for ten years, ORECA achieved a historical result today, by clinching a one-two-three-four win in the LM P2 class, as well as the 2nd and 3rd places overall. Alongside this accomplishment, thanks to the ORECA 07, on its very first entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, teams were also very proud to have raced against the factory teams of the LM P1 class.
Hugues de Chaunac – ORECA’s CEO
“I’m thrilled. This outcome achieved by our chassis is simply exceptional. Everybody knows how much endurance and particularly the 24 Hours of Le Mans mean to us. Emotionally, it’s a very special race for me because I’m really attached to it. What our cars have achieved in this challenge is a fantastic reward for all the work that tour teams have done throughout the last years, and particularly since last year with our new car. Already it was such a joy to see fourteen of our cars on the starting grid. No other manufacturer had ever achieved such a performance. But now, to imagine that an ORECA, all the more on the year of its first entry, would be leading the race in front of the LM P1 cars, just about one hour away from crossing the finish line and winning, a one-two-three win, that’s even better, totally magical. I’m immensely proud of ORECA as a company, this pays tribute to all of the experience we have acquired throughout the years. I want to dedicate this historical win to all of those who have worked on this project as well as all our collaborators. They’ve crafted this victory. ORECA’s history is full of beautiful chapters such as this one and we’re planning on keeping it going. Motorsport is ORECA’s passion and it doesn’t weaken. This kind of achievement actually makes our passion even stronger.”
Source. Oreca/Photo. DPPI