Oreca is no stranger to Le Mans, as one of the few privateers that's managed to mount a serious challenge against factory efforts from Audi and Peugeot.
Its services have also been solicited by automakers looking to challenge various racing classes, including development and production of the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe and the successful campaigning of the Mazda 787B at Le Mans in 1991. Oreca also worked with Toyota to prepare of the Corolla that Alain Prost drove in the Andros Trophy ice racing series.
Toyota isn't looking for help from Oreca to build or develop its new hybrid LMP1 racer – that's being done in-house. Instead, the automaker is soliciting Oreca's services to actually field the car at Le Mans and other races in the new FIA World Endurance Championship starting next year. Follow the jump for the official announcement.
After announcing its participation in several races of the 2012 World Endurance Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) has partnered with ORECA to provide operations support for this project. The French team will therefore bring its experience in sportscars, and specifically of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it has competed for several seasons.
In recent years, ORECA has shown its qualities, rivaling the two official constructors, Audi and Peugeot. Most notably, Hugues de Chaunac's men won the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 2011, and finished 2nd in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta a few weeks ago.
The LMP1 chassis that will be entered in 2012 has been designed, developed and built at TMG's technical centre in Cologne. The prototype will be powered by a petrol engine equipped with hybrid technology, provided by Toyota Motor Corporation. ORECA will support the TMG track operations team and this partnership will begin in the coming weeks.
Hugues de Chaunac, President of Groupe ORECA: "It's a very big day for ORECA. To be chosen by Toyota Motorsport GmbH is a huge reward for the work we've done in recent years. ORECA has proven its worth at the highest level of endurance racing, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2011 and finishing three straight times in the top 5 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Thanks to its know-how, ORECA now has the opportunity to work with the biggest automobile manufacturer, and on a project that's particularly interesting. We are proud to support Toyota Motorsport GmbH in this challenge and we're looking forward to an exciting future."
Rob Leupen, Director Business Operations, Toyota Motorsport GmbH: "This is clearly good news for TMG. Oreca's competence and track record are well known, which is why we were very keen to develop a relationship with them. They will enhance our track operations team as we make progress in the world of endurance racing."