"It's a real racecar!" Those were Gunnar Jeannette's first words in Sunday's test session at Road Atlanta for the American Le Mans Series' new LMP Challenge class car – the ORECA-Courage FLM09."I raced a Courage P2 at Le Mans in '04 and this is pretty similar," Jeannette said. "It's a real prototype comparable to a P2."
“The aero is great,” continued Jeannette, chosen to be the first driver out to give the FLM09 its proper North American shakedown. Unofficially, the former factory Panoz driver was in the 1:17 range during his laps. “I raced a Courage P2 at Le Mans in '04 and this is pretty similar. It's a real prototype comparable to a P2 – a little pointy but not twitchy. I got a real good feel from the car. I really think the American Le Mans Series has got this right.”
A total of 14 drivers tested the FLM09 that will comprise the American Le Mans Series' new prototype class for 2010. It represents an affordable “value engineered” entry to Le Mans prototype racing. It is a highly sophisticated race car with 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 race car has a minimum weight of 900 kilograms 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 series' two endurance classics – the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida and Petit Le Mans. Those races will continue to adhere to the ACO technical rules for LMP1 and LMP2.