Olivier Panis believes that ORECA can challenge for outright victory in this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its customer Peugeot.
The former grand prix driver is sharing the French team's No. 4 908 with Nicolas Lapierre and Loic Duval the trio finished Wednesday night's opening qualifying session in fourth place, only losing out to the three works cars.
Lapierre held the provisional top spot for more than an hour of the session with a 3m21.192s lap, before the factory cars all improved their times. But the ORECA car remained just 1.4sec behind provisional pole and Panis is confident that it can take the fight to them.
"We know that we have a car capable of winning," he said. "Le Mans remains a complicated race but we have the weapons to win. The Peugeot 908 is the reference point for sports car racing. It's a great opportunity – we need to seize it."
Team boss Hugues de Chaunac added: "We wanted a car to fight for the podium at Le Mans and we have it. It's an exceptional opportunity – the collaboration is going very well, above and beyond what people could think."