Chrysler to enter new car at Le Mans

Chrysler and long-term partners ORECA have announced that a new sports-prototype will be jointly developed by the American car giant and the French team, and will race at La Sarthe in 2001

Chrysler to enter new car at Le Mans

Yannick Dalmas, a four-times winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours, has been signed to lead the ORECA challenge, according to a press release from Chrysler on Tuesday.

The team is entering two Reynard 2KQ prototypes in the famous race this season, but it emerges that this is just part of the build up to a full-blown factory assault in 2001.

The ORECA team will design and build a new open top sports racer for Chrysler, to be called badged after the fashion of the car maker. It will be powered by a version of the engine being used by ORECA in their Reynard chassis, which is currently dubbed a Mopar.

The tie-up deal between the two concerns is for three years, culminating in 2002. General Motors has committed to entering its Cadillac Northstar prototypes for the next three years also, making this the first time two major US manufacturers have gone head to head with bespoke cars at Le Mans since the beginning of the race.

ORECA has proved phenomenally successful in recent years with the Chrysler Viper GT cars. Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlinger have been plucked from the GT programme to take part in the top class assault on Le Mans alongside Dalmas.

"This is the first of a three year project for the prototype," confirmed ORECA boss Hughes de Chaunac. "It is to be treated as a learning one with a view to victory in the following years."

Playstation has signed a three year sponsorship deal to support the Le Mans effort.

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