The start of the 2011 season and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup is just around the corner and the No. 10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP arrived on U.S. soil at the beginning of the week. With a trio composed of Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval and Olivier Panis, the Team ORECA-Matmut is preparing for its come back to American racing. The team is entered in the 12 Hours of Sebring for the first time since 2000: in the middle of the Viper era, Hugues de Chaunac’s men had scored a one-two-three in GTS. It was a victory that jump-started the team’s quest for a second consecutive American Le Mans Series title.
“My memories are of spectacular and passionate races, but also very approachable fans,” said Hugues de Chaunac. “ORECA shined there and wrote one of the most important chapters in its history. We experienced two incredible years. We discovered a whole new universe; a new concept of racing. We truly appreciated this adventure and that is why we chose to carry the message 'I Love US Racing'.”
To show its passion for American racing, the Team ORECA-Matmut has written the message "I Love US Racing" on the front of its Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. There are several reasons for this decision: the American philosophy in general, the history of the team and obviously the competition.
“The approach is very different from Europe, especially through the application of the rules,” said David Floury. “The safety car is out more often, leading to strategic opportunities under yellow. This maintains the suspense and interest. You usually see closely contested races and it’s always a pleasure.”
Beyond the competition, the Team ORECA-Matmut is excited to rediscover the atmosphere of American tracks since the Petit Le Mans in 2009.
“The ambiance in the paddock has allowed for a closer contact with the public,” continues the technical director. “A lot is done with the fans in mind, notably with entertainment, facilities, and of course the manufacturer clubs. It’s an atmosphere that were really appreciate, whether it’s as a team or as fans.”
The Team ORECA-Matmut will take to the track at Sebring on Monday, March 14. Nicolas Lapierre, Loïc Duval and Olivier Panis will drive the No. 10 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. Although it will be their first experience at the track, the three men are determined to shine in a world they already love.