ORECA founder Hugues de Chaunac’s customer P2 cars have been among the most popular choices in Europe since the French constructor began supporting the class. That popularity has yet to take hold in America, but with a debut win for the ORECA 05 P2 coupe at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, de Chaunac says interest has grown within IMSA’s Prototype category.
Whether it’s in the form of a customer team or ORECA assisting a team in some capacity, at least one 05 chassis should be on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship grid early next season.
“I can say it’s definitely our target to have an ORECA 05 in the U.S. next year to showcase the car,” de Chaunac (RIGHT) told RACER. “We would not like to have a works car because our strategy is not to compete against our customers, but we are discussing with some teams to see what’s possible to be done in 2016. We feel it’s necessary, either way, to be there with the car.”
Timing for the 05’s introduction is currently being explored.
“We’re not sure if it will be for Daytona, but we at least want to start at Sebring,” de Chaunac added.
Pitted against a class filled with fast Daytona Prototypes, Onroak Automotive’s Ligier JS P2 has been incredibly quick this season in the hands of Michael Shank Racing’s Ozz Negri, but the Honda-powered No. 60 entry has been the only P2 car capable of challenging the more powerful DPs.
With the current lack of P2 chassis diversity at the front of the field, not to mention IMSA’s Prototype category headed for an all-P2 future in 2017, it appears ORECA’s 05 has caught the attention of American team owners as a worthy P2 option.
“We have a lot of new interest, but you know, interest and sending a deposit is different…” de Chaunac said with a gentle laugh. “The U.S. teams we have talked to feel two things: Our motivation to compete in IMSA and to see our car on top at every race, and second, everybody is aware of the high level of performance from the car.
“After taking pole position and winning Le Mans, I think everyone is convinced about the car. I am confident we will see at least one or two 05s in America in 2016.”