Hugues de Chaunac was as busy as usual when DSC caught up with the ORECA founder and owner, with commitments to customers in LMP1 Hybrid, LMP1 non-hybrid, LMP2 and in the Road to Le Mans with LMP3 this weekend!
Top of the list of questions for Hugues though was to catch up over the company’s newest ‘baby’, the ORECA 07 based Rebellion R13 non-hybrid LMP1 – already quick, the #3 car split the Toyotas at the Test Day, how much more is there to come?
It seems Oreca has got it right again with the Rebellion R13, the car looks to be the LMP1 non-hybrid car to beat?
“We have built the car in a very short time. That was a big challenge. We have tried to create the best car possible in this period of time, and that means that, if we can have more time, we can do better.
“But the target is really easy for us. This year we are mainly focused on reliability, not on performance.
“This year I think the regulation favours the hybrid car, but you just have to be there, and if there is an opportunity, you have to be there on Sunday at four o’clock. For that, reliability is the key point.”
We know you’re a man of passion with this. There must be a thought in the back of the brain of Hugues de Chaunac that asks, what if? What if the Toyota’s hit problems, how much would a Rebellion overall win mean to you?
“For us, I think this is really a preparation for the next two years.
“We have to prepare for 2019, and if something is to happen in 2018, it’s not from our pace, it’s not because we have a fantastic car, it’s because something happens on the Toyota side.
“But, for the moment, that’s not our target. For me, the only thing that’s really important is that we are there to take the opportunity if it arises. That means reliability and no driver mistakes. That’s all we ask of the team.”
In terms of the current programme, is there going to be the opportunity for thorough development of the R13? Is there a plan, in the future, for an evolution.
“It could be, but at the same time, this car is new. We are going to continue to develop this car. The car is going to get better, in three months, four month, just because we will understand it more, but that’s normal.
“It’s a new car, and that’s what happens. Then we will see if we want to do an evolution, but now is too early to say.
“For now, it is important to understand that we are here to learn the maximum in 2018 to be ready in 2019.”
What has gone into the preparation of the R13?
“I think, mainly, the focus has been on the detail. When you are in a hurry, sometimes you forget the details.
“It is different when you say to the engineers, to the mechanics, to the drivers, we don’t want to beat the best time. We want to have all the details, perfect, so no mistake on the pitstop, no mistake on the driver, no mistake in the preparation of the car. That’s our philosophy.
‘Within the design, It’s the progression from the 07, which is a P2 car, to the R13, which isn’t the same, but it is related.
“ It’s not the same car. The R13 is around 80% different from the P2, but it’s in the detail. It’s not one component, not one suspension, new aero. It’s in the detail.
“We have worked on the weight, and on any small things which, when you add them all together, make the difference.”