Just a few weeks after the publication of the FIA R4 regulations, French constructor Oreca – the official exclusive kit supplier for this class – released the names of the three drivers responsible for developing the kit in the upcoming months.
For the first dynamic test of the kit, Oreca has chosen ‘three seasoned and complementary drivers’ to carry out the development work during various testing sessions scheduled to begin this summer. Stéphane Sarrazin, Raphaël Astier and Teemu Suninen will call upon their cumulative experience in rally to serve Oreca during the next few months to validate the decisions made relative to the FIA R4 kit.
The R4 category comes from the FIA identifying what it deemed ‘too wide a gap’ in the World Rally Car hierarchy, between the FWD categories represented by R2 and R3 and the 4WD R5 category. The R4 category cars will be R4 category vehicles will be positioned to perform on average one second per kilometre slower than the R5 class. The universal kit to be develop will consist of a 1.6-liter turbo engine, 5-speed sequential gearbox, 4WD and long suspension travel, in order to be ‘competitive on gravel and tarmac’ in accordance with the FIA regulations. .
The R4 kit will be adaptable to all kinds of mass-produced vehicles, thereby effectively giving control of the preparation to smaller companies, and opening the doors of competitive racing to a variety of new brands, concessions and importers from around the world through a model of their choice.
“Everyone is aware of my interest in rally and strong connection with Oreca,” explained Sarrazin. “I am happy to play a part in this new endeavor! The R4 class looks promising with a top-notch performance level and proper approach. I will contribute as a driver but also a bit like a team owner. I cannot wait to start testing. It is always interesting to play a role in the development, for both circuit and rally racing, especially at the wheel of a car that will compete all over the world as well. I will try to make use of all my experience and I think that with Teemu and Raphaël we will form a good trio.”