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Oreca looking to make big splash at Petit LeMans
If anyone doubts the stature of Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6, ORECA team boss Hugues de Chaunac is quick to point out what it means to his team and why he is entering the Road Atlanta classic. Simply put, he told SPEEDtv.com’s John Dagys, it’s one of the world’s premiere endurance events and worthy of the global praise and adulation it annually receives.

“There’s two main reasons,” began de Chaunac, who will send Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Panis to drive the AIM-powered ORECA LMP1 into the 12th running of the 1,000-mile/10-hour classic on September 26. “One, we feel we’re going to learn much more in this type of race, being longer than 1,000 kilometers on a difficult track and with stronger competition from Peugeot, Audi and Acura. All of this helps us learn much more than just doing a normal European event. It better prepares us for Le Mans next year.

“The second reason is the event itself,” he continued. “We feel it’s important to participate in the top races worldwide, such as Sebring, Le Mans and now Petit Le Mans. This is where you have major TV and media coverage, many spectators, etc. They’re all big events. We’re doing ‘good’ events in Europe, but the Petit Le Mans is the third biggest sports car race in the world. We want to be part of that.”

He also added that he will have news about a third driver for Petit Le Mans soon and that plans already are developing for an entry to Sebring to open 2010.

The next round of the 2009 American Le Mans Series is the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 on Saturday, September 26. The Series’ cornerstone event at Road Atlanta in Braselton Ga., is a 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic. The green flag is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. ET with SPEED airing live television coverage starting at 11 a.m. ET. American Le Mans Radio presented by Porsche and Living Timing & Scoring will be available on Racehub at americanlemans.com. Live coverage also can be heard on Sirius 126 and XM 242. You can follow the Series on Twitter (almsnotes).

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