ORECA have put out a press release saying they will run Toyota’s Le Mans effort next year:
“After announcing its participation in several races of the 2012 World Endurance Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) has partnered with ORECA to provide operations support for this project. The French team will therefore bring its experience in sportscars, and specifically of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it has competed for several seasons.
“In recent years, ORECA has shown its qualities, rivaling the two official constructors, Audi and Peugeot. Most notably, Hugues de Chaunac’s men won the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 2011, and finished 2nd in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta a few weeks ago.
“The LMP1 chassis that will be entered in 2012 has been designed, developed and built at TMG’s technical centre in Cologne. The prototype will be powered by a petrol engine equipped with hybrid technology, provided by Toyota Motor Corporation.
“ORECA will support the TMG track operations team and this partnership will begin in the coming weeks.
“Hugues de Chaunac, President of Groupe ORECA: ‘It’s a very big day for ORECA. To be
chosen by Toyota Motorsport GmbH is a huge reward for the work we’ve done in recent years. ORECA has proven its worth at the highest level of endurance racing, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2011 and finishing three straight times in the top 5 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Thanks to its know-how, ORECA now has the opportunity to work with the biggest automobile manufacturer, and on a project that’s particularly interesting. We are proud to support Toyota Motorsport GmbH in this challenge and we’re looking forward to an exciting future.’
“Rob Leupen, Director Business Operations, Toyota Motorsport GmbH: ‘This is clearly good news for TMG. ORECA’s competence and track record are well known, which is why we were very keen to develop a relationship with them. They will enhance our track operations team as we make progress in the world of endurance racing.”
That’s a good choice by Toyota. ORECA are a very solid team who do show up the factory Pugs and Audi’s from time to time.
The only thing that is a bit odd about Toyota’s entry is that they will be running a petrol powered car. I’d assumed that they would run a diesel, based on the fact that the rules seem to be so heavily in favour of diesels.
Cool news, ORECA’s Loic Duval is my favourite Le Mans driver. Hopefully these changes will give them opportunities to fight for victories more often as so far they haven’t been able to match the pace of the factory Audi & Peugoet.
I don’t think it’s the budget that gives them the advantage, I believe it’s the nature of diesel engines and how lightly they were restricted in the first place. Every year the ACO has put further restrictions on them to even the field, but it hasn’t done much good. The only car that came close to challenging the diesels outright was Aston Martin, and they flubbed it this year. However, I do hope Toyota can bring Audi and Peugoet down a few pegs and ,hopefully, Aston Martin can get they’re problems sorted because I would love to see all four of them battling for the win!