Derived from the Courage LC75 chassis, and used predominantly as a cost-capped chassis in IMSA and the Le Mans series, the ORECA FLM 09 proved to be a mainstay in multi-class sportscar racing from 2009 to 2017, finishing its final season in IMSA competition earlier this year at Petit Le Mans.
Built by ORECA, with simplified LC75 aero and a restricted GM V8 engine. The FLM09 was originally planned to be the sole chassis eligible for Formula Le Mans, an entry-level series which only lasted a single season in 2009. From there, FLM was merged into the Le Mans Series as a spec-class, later adopted by the ALMS and IMSA Tudor and WeatherTech series, where it became tremendously popular with the industry for multiple seasons.
While not always praised for the consistency in driving standards by many who raced them, particularly in IMSA competition, it was a platform which introduced many up-and-coming pro and amateur drivers to prototype racing on a grand stage.
In particular, the LMPC class in the ALMS and WeatherTech series provided some memorable battles and qualifying shootouts over the years featuring drivers such as Johnny Mowlem, Colin Braun, Tom Kimber-Smith, Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande.
It also introduced many teams to sportscar racing which have since moved into either LMP2, DPi or GT competition. CORE autosport, BAR 1, Performance Tech, JDC Miller and PR1 Mathiasen just a few outfits who used the car as a springboard to bigger things in the USA.
In Europe, where privateer and pro/am numbers over the years in LMP2 have been generally stable, the FLM 09 didn’t really catch on, the FLM/LMPC class often featuring very small fields. It nevertheless helped the Le Mans Series through some tough times, when the overall grid numbers were low before being removed from the series after 2013.
Now, in a world in which LMP3 has become a global formula and major success, the time has arrived for the FLM 09 to be retired from IMSA competition too, the final Prototype Challenge class awarded to Performance Tech this year. From 2018 onwards, for the IMSA Prototype Challenge series for LMP3 and small prototypes, as well as the budding DPi/LMP2-based Prototype division in the main championship, it’s onward and upward.
The FLM 09 is no more.
2009: Formula Le Mans Champions – DAMS – Nico Verdonck, Gavin Cronje
2010: Le Mans Series FLM Class Champion – DAMS – Andrea Barlesi, Gary Chalandon
2010: American Le Mans Series Prototype Challenge Champions – Level 5 Motorsports – Scott Tucker
2011: Le Mans Series FLM Class Champion – Pegasus Racing – Julien Schell, Mirco Schultis, Patrick Simon
2011: American Le Mans Series Prototype Challenge Champions – CORE autosport – Ricardo Gonzalez, Gunnar Jeannette, Eric Lux
2012: European Le Mans Series LMPC Class Champion – Boutsen Ginion Racing – John Hartshone
2012: American Le Mans Series Prototype Challenge Champions – CORE autosport – Alex Popow
2013: European Le Mans Series LMPC Class Champion – Team Endurance Challenge – Paul-Loup Chatin, Gary Hirsch
2013: American Le Mans Series Prototype Challenge Champions – CORE autosport – Mike Guasch
2014: IMSA Tudor SporsCar Championship Prototype Challenge Champions – CORE autosport – Jon Bennett, Colin Braun
2015: IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge Champions – CORE Autosport – Jon Bennett, Colin Braun
2016: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge Champions – Starworks Motorsport – Alex Popow, Renger van der Zande
2017: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge Champions – Performance Tech Motorsports – James French, Patricio O’Ward