Hallyday/Prémat/Kraihamer behind the wheel of the ORECA 03!
Winner of the 12 Hours of Sebring with the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, Team ORECA-Matmut will also be at the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in LMP2. The team will enter an ORECA 03 powered by Nissan for David Hallyday, Alexandre Prémat and young talent Dominik Kraihamer.
David Hallyday returns to the 24 Hours of Le Mans!
David Hallyday has been defending ORECA’s colours for several seasons already. After a few appearances in 2009, he competed in full the French GT Championship in 2010 with Hugues de Chaunac’s team – finishing third in drivers points. “Last year, I felt privileged to be driving for such a team,” explains David. “I learned a lot and I’m very happy to continue the adventure. On one side, their method of working is very professional. On the other, the atmosphere is like a family. ORECA is a bit ‘Made in USA.’ That’s also how I work: it’s everything I like!”
The Frenchman will be competing in his fourth twice around the clock classic in la Sarthe. “It’s a race that is unique and one that you have to go into with a certain amount of wisdom. To do so with Team ORECA-Matmut, is knowing that you’ll have a perfectly prepared car. ORECA is a factory.” David Hallyday will be making his return in prototypes, at the controls of the ORECA 03. He first discovered the car in February during a test session at the Circuit Paul Ricard HTTT. “The ORECA 03 took me by surprise,” he admitted after the first few laps. “She doesn’t have any faults. Firstly, I had to get my marks and gain confidence. And I started at night: that’s a bit different! The learning curve went well. I must say the car is so good that it encourages progress. The more you drive, the quicker you get…and the more you want to drive!”
Alexandre Prémat, the leader of the pack…
After four years with Audi as an official driver, Alexandre Prémat will also be making his return to Le Mans. “I’m very happy be returning to the 24 Hours, an event that is very difficult for man – both drivers and mechanics – and for machine. The goal is clear: win the LMP2 class! We have the potential. The team has the ability to shine in LMP1 and LMP2.”
With such experience in the top class – he was 2008 Le Mans Series champion – Alexandre will logically take the role of team leader. Team ORECA-Matmut will also count on the Frenchman’s speed, who has succeeded in prestigious F3 events (Macau and Zandvoort) and holds three victories in GP2 in addition to his three podiums in DTM.
“After several discussions with them, I’m thrilled to be involved with a team such as ORECA,” notes Alexandre. “It’s an important team: for me there are Audi, Peugeot and ORECA. I’m excited to work with the technicians! I’ve only heard good things about the ORECA 03. With Michelin tyres and the lap times already posted by customer teams since the start of the season, everything is in place. I can’t wait to discover the car.”
Dominik Kraihamer, from Formula Le Mans to Le Mans…
The French tandem will be joined by Dominik Kraihamer, only 21 years old. Team ORECA-Matmut is continuing its goal of promoting new talents. The Austrian driver first discovered sportscar racing through Formula Le Mans, a series serving as a stepping stone to high categories as designed. He competed in the single-make class in 2009 and 2010, where he showed well, before making his debut in LMP2 this season behind the wheel of an ORECA 03 with Boutsen Energy Racing.
“Every driver dreams of having such an opportunity,” said Dominik. “I’m young and I don’t have an enormous amount of experience, but Team ORECA-Matmut is giving me an incredible chance. It’s a top team and I know I’m in good hands with a team that has but one goal: win!”
The young driver has already driven on the Circuit de la Sarthe when FLM visited in 2009, but this will be his first 24 Hours. “It’s my favourite track. There are a lot of different sections and the sensations are really impressive. I’m not putting any specific pressure on myself: I know I’ll have to be consistent and avoid mistakes. I want to do good work, just as I do everytime I’m on track. Having run in Formula Le Mans taught me quite a lot, both in terms of driving and the technical side of things. It was the perfect preparation before driving the ORECA 03, which is a very good car. The aero is incredible and the cornering speed is exceptional. It goes very fast! I can’t wait to drive it at Le Mans!”
David Hallyday and Alexandre Prémat each have three Le Mans participations under their belts while Dominik Kraihamer will be the ‘rookie’ at la Sarthe. The three men will share the No. 48 ORECA 03 during the Test Day. David Hallyday will only drive in the morning session, before flying to Nogaro where he will race in the second round of the GT Tour.
INFO: Oreca The Motorsport Company.