A few weeks ago, DSC met GRAFF Racing team manager Pascal Rauturier. The Frenchman revealed that his team would probably expand to the LMP2 category.
It is now confirmed that GRAFF Racing purchased an LMP2 ORECA 07 chassis. “It seemed logical to have an LM P2 program in 2017,” says Rauturier. “The LM P2 class has always been a dream for us. We would love to be at the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017, for which we are going to submit an entry application.”
GRAFF Racing has become the second team after Dragonspeed to publicly disclose its acquisition of an Oreca 07, a chassis built precisely for the new 2017 LMP2 set of regulations.
The team’s desire to return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and race in the LMP2 category has been public knowledge since 2014. Two years ago, the team even tested a Morgan Nissan to that effect, but the project never materialized.
Many fans will be surprised by the choice of the ORECA 07, given the French team’s current ties to Onroak (GRAFF Racing already races JS53 CNs and JSP3s in various championships). Their choice seems to have been dictated at least in part by the availability of the ORECA chassis. “Once we had made our decision to move up to LM P2 and to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017, we contacted two French manufacturers: OnRoak and ORECA,” says Rauturier.
“After several meetings and interviews, we concluded that both of them had a quality service and high-performance cars to offer. The collaboration with Ligier is going very well. We had the LM P3 before anybody else in the world. That’s what allowed us to be competitive this season. That’s also why we opted for the ORECA 07: we shall have the car early enough to be able to discover it properly.”
Rauturier has not yet taken his decision regarding the championship in which his ORECA 07 will race. Yet he gave us a hint about his intentions last month. “Although our presence in the ELMS is probable next year, we are still looking at opportunities in the WEC,” he said at the Red Bull Ring. “We should also remain in the CN category of the VdeV championship while keeping one or two Ligier LMP3s in the ELMS.”