Oreca has announced that its all-new FIA R4 Kit has undegone a successful first test, following reliability tests being undertaken on gravel for the first time.
Official development driver Stéphane Sarrazin was behind the wheel of the Etios R4 for the test; undertaken a short distance from Oreca’s Paul Ricard base.
“From the outset, it felt right, I instantly noticed the car was easy to drive and handles fantastically,” explained Sarrazin. “For a first run, the balance is already there, even in the fast stretches. We can go ahead and begin working on the kit’s settings which is the most interesting part of the developmental phase. Between the chassis and the engine, it’s truly the ideal compromise for young drivers hoping to go from two wheels to four. That was the missing link in rally racing. As the owner of my own team, what is highly attractive is the ability to buy the kit and build one’s own car, it’s a significant challenge for the teams but it offers real freedom in running the car. It’s an additional step that allows drivers to improve. What is certain is that the car is nicely designed and performs well immediately, and that’s the most important thing.”
“We experienced no problems whatsoever during this first day of testing and I couldn’t be more pleased,” added Matthieu Bassou, FIA R4 kit project manager. “Meanwhile, there is still plenty of work to be done, we need to put some kilometers behind us, stabilise and optimise the kit, particularly with Stéphane to ensure performance level and help all the teams benefit from reliable and enticing starting points. This first day has shown great promise in terms of what’s to come and is a positive response for all the teams and the work they accomplished over the last several months. I joined ORECA for this project, with a design office, a new team and the detachment of the engine block. It was a real challenge and to see the car run so well from the first session confirms that we pulled it off.”
With 131km accumulated over this first day of testing, Oreca states that its next goal is to continue with reliability testing of the kit to provide potential client teams with what it refers to as ‘a solid starting point’ for the 2018 season. Three testing sessions are scheduled in the coming weeks, on asphalt and gravel, ahead of the kit being made commercially available by ‘the end of 2017/start of 2018’.