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ORECA Responds To LMP2 ‘Joker’ Upgrades

'We disagree with these decisions and contest their legitimacy'

LMP2 constructor ORECA has released a public response to the ACO’s decision on LMP2 ‘Joker’ upgrades for the 2018 season, which will see Ligier, Dallara and Riley/Multimatic all able to update their sprint and Le Mans aero packages, with Riley permitted to upgrade its Mk.30 chassis as well.

“ORECA Group acknowledges ACO and FIA’s decisions, and though we’ve been informed, more dialogue and consultation would have been appreciated,” said Hugues de Chaunac, President of ORECA Group.

“We disagree with these decisions and contest their legitimacy, considering the detailed analyses conducted and provided by ORECA. Only European Le Mans Series races were looked at – four rounds to start with, then five. As for IMSA races, they haven’t been taken into account, which we think is regrettable.

“Contrary to technical regulations, these decisions regarding performance adjustments are not based on data evaluating performance deficits.

“As the only manufacturer not allowed to develop its car, ORECA finds itself unfairly penalised today, together with all the teams which have put their trust in us and have successfully entered the ORECA 07. We would like to express our support to them. In the early days of the project, all LMP2 players had agreed on the idea of an open competition between four chassis manufacturers sharing the same rules, with the same engine too.

“Less than a year in, we are now moving towards a balance of performance system which has nothing to do with this original idea. Originally, performance evolutions were possible and clearly intended to make sure that no manufacturer facing difficulties would be left by the wayside. Only one of us is in this situation today.”

In conversation with DSC last weekend, the ACO’s technical director Vincent Beaumesnil stressed that the upgrades will not allow the three chassis to exceed the performance of the ORECA 07, and instead level the playing field.

“ORECA has done a very good job, it’s a good car,” he said. “We don’t want to penalise that, so in the rules the LMP2 manufacturers can ask for a performance evolution, if it is demonstrated that there is a performance deficit. Dallara, Ligier, Riley and Multimatic made the request, ORECA didn’t because they have the best chassis.

“We did analysis to get a clear vision on who was competitive and who was not. We will grant these three manufacturers specific changes, they can’t develop the car outside of what we allow. We will be very strict and strong on this as we don’t want ORECA to be penalised for having the best car at the beginning.

“If (the upgrades) it doesn’t comply with what we’ve asked then we need to make another technical solution.”

The updates to the three LMP2 chassis will be tested at the Wind Shear wind tunnel in the USA, before they make their competitive debut at the start of the 2018 season.