New Le Mans Prototype designed by ORECA Technology for the LM P2 class, the ORECA 05 is now ready to take to the track. Entered by KCMG and Thiriet by TDS Racing in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series, the ORECA 05 will take its first steps in a couple of days. Designed around a closed cockpit, the car integrates some new concepts, safety wise as well. But most importantly, it does not merely settle for the required limits. Its philosophy is not only to go faster than its rivals but also further: its DNA is all about future.
ORECA now enters a new era with the ORECA 05. Alongside the ORECA 03, open-cockpit prototype which has been greatly successful since its launching in 2011, this closed-top prototype will make its debut in competition in April, in Silverstone. As an outcome of the in-depth work lead by ORECA Technology's design bureau, this car sets itself apart from the many contestants it will face as part of this particularly competitive class.
From the ORECA 05 emerges a vision of the future, on all levels, including safety. Thus, some zylon anti-intrusion panels have been integrated to the chassis. In case of an accident, they prevent any mechanical components from coming into the chassis. Though this technology is currently not a mandatory one in LM P2, it stands as a real asset safety wise. Similarly, the car also comprises a rear crash box that has been homologated via a rear crash test. That feature is not imposed by the regulations neither but the design office decided not to simply make do with the current requirements.
Furthermore, the ORECA 05 also differs in its size. Engineers have opted for a 1900mm-wide car, whereas most of the other LM P2 are 2000mm wide. A choice that meets the needs of the future 2017 rules and regulations. Although body parts will probably have to evolve by that time, the car as it is today will be easily updatable to the next regulations. That global decision was a way to take teams' budgetary issues into account: that investment will not be limited to a two-year period (2015-2016) but potentially spread over six years. That also means that teams will be able to benefit from a higher resale value.
Some other elements, such as weight and centre of gravity, have required specific research. Weight reduction was one of the main objectives on the agenda: engineers have done their best in order to significantly set the car apart from its rivals on that level. Consequently, mass distribution has been seriously optimised.
Mechanically speaking, the ORECA 05 also embraces innovations and comprises numerous updates. Different elements which were regarded as weak points on the ORECA 03 have been modified, namely the power steering system, now electric, and the starter. As for the gearbox, it features a more compact, latest-generation gearbox casing. In order to minimise risk taking due to the fact that the car is new, some already well-tried and tested, reliable solutions have been decided on. The suspension parts for instance are new but both concepts and technology have been verified and certified with a panel of cars manufactured by ORECA Technology.
Finally, some important work has been done on the ORECA 05 aerodynamics. Performance was a priority, as always, and the design bureau went one step further in its research, refining the slightest details. Besides, the car's pitch-sensitivity was one of the focus points, allowing customers to easily make the most of a whole range of settings. Once again, that demonstrates how engineers have paid much attention to the teams' feedback.
'The ORECA 05 fits into the line of ORECA's strategy of development as a manufacturer with an operational plan spread over many years' explains 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 ÚSA 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 teams 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 stands as one of ORECA's showcases, but not the only one. Because it's ORECA's most recent project, it is also the most talked about, together with the Rebellion R-One in LM P1 for which we are currently supervising the integration of a new engine. Those are two very important projects actually.'
Source - Nissan / Oreca
Five ORECA chassis will take part in the European Le Mans Series, one of which will be entered by Thiriet by TDS Racing. Two ORECA chassis will be on the starting grid of the FIA World Endurance Championship : KCMG's ORECA 05 and Signatech-Alpine's A450b.