French constructors ORECA are unveiling the all-new, never-seen-before Formula Le Mans sportscar at Autosport International. It will be used by all competitors in the new-for-2009 Formula Le Mans Cup, which will support the Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES). The new Formula Le Mans car only broke cover in November, testing at Paul Ricard in the south of France, so the show, held on 8-11 January, at the NEC in Birmingham will be a world-first public appearance for the car.
The new Formula Le Mans will run alongside the LMES endurance series next year, with two one-hour races per race weekend. The cars will be identical Courage-ORECA LMP2 sports prototypes, with 430bhp engines and six-speed sequential gearboxes, as well as carbon brakes. Costs are kept to a minimum by limiting engine, tyre and brake changes; one engine should last a whole season.
“Formula Le Mans is a completely new championship being run with the assistance of the ACO, who also organise the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said ORECA spokesperson Vincent Fourets. “The series will finish with a three-hour endurance race, with up to 220,000 euros in prize money available.”
ORECA are one of the most experienced and successful teams in sportscar racing, having previously won the FIA GT Championship, as well as winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991 with Mazda. ORECA also constructed the Renault Clio Super 1600 for rallying, and the Renault Megane Eurocup touring cars. ORECA also run SEAT’s Leon TDi touring cars in the World Touring Car Championship.
“ORECA are an incredibly respected constructer and race preparation company, and it’s very exciting to have them launch a new series for up-and-coming sportscar racers,” said Haymarket Exhibitions Show Director Ian France. “Sportscar racing has seen a real revival in the last decade, so this is another example of Autosport International keeping abreast of the motorsport industry.”
Notes to editorsThe 2008 Autosport International Show attracted over 84,000 visitors, including 28,000 trade buyers. Over 1,000 media representatives were present throughout the event, covering the show’s numerous live displays and 850 exhibitors.
Autosport International will be open to the public on Saturday 10 to Sunday 11 January 2009. Adult tickets start at £29 per day, with children’s tickets costing £19, and include a 34-page souvenir brochure. To book, visit autosport-international.com or call 0044 (0) 844 579 3188 .
Paddock passes are available for £35 per adult and £25 for children. In addition to standard admission, visitors will have access to the Driver Signing Area as well as fast-track entry to the Live Action Arena and a great viewing position at the centre of the grandstands.
A Platinum Club pass, at £100, includes all the benefits of the Paddock Pass plus exclusive access to the VIP enclosure at the very top of the Live Action Arena grandstand, complete with champagne and canapés. You will also receive complimentary parking, cloakroom at the NEC plus a goodie bag.