The much-anticipated debut of KC Motorgroup Ltd’s (KCMG) new ORECA 05 coupe at the Le Mans 24 Hours official Test Day proved a great success yesterday after the Nissan-powered LMP2 concluded its only pre-event outing at La Sarthe with positive results. The #47 ORECA 05 displayed competitive pace in mixed conditions and was fourth fastest in class after setting a best time of 3m42.453s over the two four-hour sessions.
The practice runs on Circuit de la Sarthe’s complex 13.629km layout provided the Hong Kong-based squad with an opportunity to evaluate and improve their machine’s set-up ahead of the grueling French endurance classic that takes place on June 10-14. More so, the pre-event test offered the team valuable insight on how to effectively use the new Dunlop tyres in various track conditions.
Held under overcast skies, the morning session allowed Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Nicolas Lapierre to sample the ORECA prototype with its Le Mans-modified aerodynamic configuration for the first time. True to form, the #47 LMP2 logged impressive lap times and finished the first practice run in third place, with Howson posting the team’s best time of 3m42.453s.
The afternoon session saw weather conditions worsen at La Sarthe, cutting the team’s track time short during final practice. But despite the drivers’ limited running, significant data was still gathered with 21 laps completed and the #47 ORECA posting the eighth fastest LMP2 time.
Richard Bradley: “It was a productive test for us and the results that we’ve gained clearly show that we have a very competitive car in the ORECA 05. The tricky circuit conditions at La Sarthe this weekend shortened our running time but have definitely helped us gain more understanding of the car and the new Dunlop tyres. Returning to Le Mans for the second time is something truly special for me and I’m looking forward to being back for race week!”
Matt Howson: “Its always a special feeling heading along the Mulsanne for the first time each year, but you quickly get down to business and work on the set-up for the real challenge that lies ahead. Conditions were mixed but the ORECA 05 performed well in the dry, damp and wet conditions, which is important for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We will focus on carrying the momentum into race week, and can leave this test feeling confident for the challenge ahead.”
Nicolas Lapierre: “It was quite a good feeling with the low downforce package that was run for the first time on our car. We had the opportunity to test the new tyres from Dunlop and the data gathered will certainly be important for the race. I can’t wait to be back again for race week.”
Erich Kolb, KCMG WEC Team Manager: “Overall we’ve produced encouraging results with the ORECA 05 this weekend. The data that we’ve collected gives us more understanding of how the package will efficiently run for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The entire team has done an outstanding job in providing Richard, Matt and Nico with a competitive car here at La Sarthe and we now head into race week feeling confident.”
To find out more about the 24 Hours of Le Mans, visit www.24h-lemans.com.
For more information about KCMG please visit www.kcmg.com.hk. To keep track of all the latest updates ‘Like’ KCMG’s Facebook page or follow @KCMotorgroup on Twitter and Instagram.
Image from Jakob Ebrey