L'Equipe – On ORECA & Audi
Last Sunday, immediately after the French team’s superb win at Silverstone, the French sports daily L'Equipe considered the future of Oreca and Audi – writes David Legangneux.

As happens year after year, the decision about Audi Sport's future programme is expected to be taken in October, then announced at the Essen Motor Show, starting on 25 November.

dailysportscar.comSporting Director Wolfgang Ullrich suggested in L'Equipe that, on the technical front, "We've made the choice," and it will be a diesel engine in the next Audi prototype, the R10.

The first versions of the engine have been running on the test bench for several months, but also on the track, in a laboratory chassis.

But which team will run the new Audi R10s?

"Historically, when we have made a new car, it has completed its first year of racing with our official team," says Herr Ullrich, in L'Equipe.

So Oreca won't continue next year with Audi, unless it becomes the official team. "It doesn't seem easy for us, considering our newness in the Audi system," said Hugues de Chaunac.

So continuing the partnership between Oreca and Audi seems more likely for 2007.

"The short term is more difficult but there is still (the possibility of) an opening with Audi," said de Chaunac. "While awaiting their final decision, I have in mind two other possibilities for Le Mans 2006. One in prototypes, one in GT."

For each, it would be with constructors not currently involved in endurance racing. But if Oreca starts a new program, it wouldn't be for a single year only, so a partnership with Audi would be difficult the following year. "It's all a brain-teaser," said de Chaunac. "My goal is to have a top team in endurance racing. I must determine exactly with which constructor we must be associated."

So time will tell if the partnership between Audi and de Chaunac will continue. For the Nürburgring, the choice of the drivers is scheduled to be announced soon. David's image was timed at 21.58 (and a bit) last Saturday evening. Allan McNish was presumably dancing a highland jig at the time.

 

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