Intersport Racing has purchased an ORECA-Courage FLM09 for the American Le Mans Series' new Le Mans Prototype Challenge class. The team will run alongside Intersport's IMSA Lites program with the Elan DP02, and the AER-powered Lola B06/10 that competes in the American Le Mans Series' LMP1 class, as the team aims to create an in-house development ladder for sports car drivers.
“As a privateer team, our commitment to IMSA and the American Le Mans Series is not only unwavering – it is stronger than ever,” said team owner and driver Clint Field. “It is their continued effort to grow sports car racing in North America that wins our confidence to continue to invest our racing dollars here.”
The ORECA-Courage FLM09 Prototype Challenge car is intended to offer an affordable “value engineered” entry to Le Mans prototype racing. It is features a full carbon fiber chassis, carbon brakes and an Xtrac sequential gearbox with paddle shifting. All LMPC cars will race on single-supply tires.
The prototype was originally introduced earlier this year as part of the Le Mans Series in Europe. It was also showcased as part of the 24 Hours of Le Mans weekend through the collaborative efforts of the ACO and ORECA/DPPI. The car has a minimum weight of 900 kg (1,984 lbs), similar to its LMP brethren, but its horsepower is 450hp, which is considerably less than the LMP cars which range from 500-700hp.
In 2010, LMP1 and LMP2 cars will compete as a single LMP class with exception of the two endurance events at Sebring and Road Atlanta. Those races will continue to adhere to the ACO technical rules for LMP1 and LMP2.
“The new Challenge classes show us the series is listening,” added Field, the 2005 LMP2 champion. “We see the LMPC car has the perfect addition to our LMP1 program and an extension of our IMSA Lites program. Our program can now provide a true path of growth for drivers who want to succeed in sports car and endurance racing. With the addition of the LMPC car we now provide fully supported programs in three steps… IMSA Lites, LMP Challenge, and our flagship prototype, LMP1.”
The team campaigned the full season in 2009 with a Lola B06/10-AER, with the father-son combination of Clint Field and his father Jon serving as the primary drivers. The Fields recorded six podium finishes on the season.