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Dunlop Le Mans

OREX Gears Up For The Season
Strong Package Coming Together

Newcomers to the European LMP2 sports-prototype scene, OREX Competition, are well in the process of putting together all the components to make them a serious contender in this year’s ELMS.

OREX will be using the HPD-ARX of LMP2 stalwart, Mike Newton, which has been fully rebuilt and updated to an HPD 03b spec for the 2013 season. OREX, Dave Beecroft’s Cheshire-based organisation, is now relishing the chance to race what is widely regarded as the most successful chassis and engine combination in LMP2.

Whilst Mike enjoyed success with the car he was unable to race it last season due to his many business commitments and so the vehicle remained in storage, until recently, with RML. Mike has decided to concentrate his efforts in 2013 racing his AD Tiga CN sports-prototype cars in the SPEED EuroSeries. As Mike was either going to sell the chassis or find a way of racing it, Beecroft, who also runs and manages Mike's Tiga Team, said he’d relish the chance to run the car in the ELMS.

Roger Griffiths, Technical Director at Honda Performance Developments over in California, agreed to supply the team with the latest direct-injection 2.8-litre twin-turbo HR28TT engine, to endorse the programme and make available a customer support package.

Based upon their success last year in LMP2, where the HPD-ARX 03b won the ALMS with Level 5 and the WEC LMP2 title with Starworks, including memorable wins at Sebring and Le Mans, the HPD chassis, designed by Wirth Research in Bicester, has proven itself at the highest level.

The current car is essentially a derivative of the original ARX, a multi-million dollar investment by Honda to promote the Acura brand starting off in LMP2 by contracting three teams – Andretti-Green Racing, Highcroft Racing and Fernandez Racing – to race from the start of 2007 ALMS under the Acura banner. The AGR and Highcroft teams, in conjunction with Wirth Research, developed their original Courage LC75 chassis to such an extent that it soon was re-homologated as an Acura ARX 01a by the ACO and made its race debut at the 2007 Sebring 12 Hours where the AGR car finished second six laps behind the winning LMP1 Audi R10 TDI.

Having already been engaged by Mike to help develop the ‘reborn’ Tiga CN2 in last year's AD Tiga SPEED EuroSeries programme, 26 years old Dean Stirling was selected as one of OREX Competition’s LMP2 drivers. He was the natural choice based on both his speed and the fact that he is a ‘silver’ graded driver. It is a requirement of all LMP2 teams contesting the ELMS that they must have one ‘silver’ or ‘bronze’ rated driver in the driver line-up.

Stirling, from Godalming in Surrey, started racing Cadet karts at the age of eight in the UK. He then progressed into car racing at the age 17 and on into Formula Renault at the end of 2003. He then went on to compete in Formula Renault for the next two years, finishing third in the 2005 Formula Renault BARC championship including his first win at Snetterton. Following a one-off race in an LMP1 Creation CA07-Judd at Petit Le Mans in 2008, he decided he wanted to focus on sportscar racing with the goal of winning Le Mans.

He’s raced for two seasons in the SPEED EuroSeries (finishing second in 2011) as well as a one-off drive for Status GP in their Lola-Judd at Paul Ricard last year where, partnering Alexander Sims and Yelmer Buurman, they finished third. Stirling – son of former Nasamax LMP1 driver Robbie – also did several ALMS races in 2012 co-driving with Kyle Marcelli in an LMPC Oreca-Chevrolet.

“I’m delighted to have this opportunity to race such a competitive car in the ELMS and with a team who I know well from racing in the SPEED EuroSeries,” he said.

“LMP2 has developed in leaps and bounds in over the last two years and I know it’ll be tough and exciting racing against many established teams, but we’re ready for the challenge.”

Joining Beecroft, who will act as Team Manager and Technical Director, will be Chris Witty, who last year helped Zytek Motorsport with their LMP2 customer programmes. Chris has been involved in pretty much every facet of motor sport from Formula 1 to the WRC for close on 45 years after originally starting out as a journalist with Autosport and Motoring News. He will act as OREX Competition’s Sporting Manager.

“We have the basis of a great team with an exciting challenge ahead but with a realistic attitude and that’s what appeals to me” said Witty. “By focusing solely on the ELMS we have the car and engine that can win races. As a team new to LMP2, we are able to bring a fresh, new and exciting challenge to the series. My responsibility now is to find a driver who will complement Dean and give us the right balance within the team. Both Dave and I agree on what kind of driver line-up we’d like to have and we are already getting interest from some exciting drivers. However I am available to discuss our programme with anyone who thinks they can help us win races.”

"I'm really excited to be working with Chris and Dean in 2013” said Dave Beecroft. “Dean is an excellent driver and team member. I value his input in all areas of the car's development.

“We have an amazing car and I see no reason why we can't be mixing it at the top from the start of the season.  Finding the right driver to complement the team is an exciting time, and it's great to see the whole team coming together for a fabulous ELMS season in 2013"

Further details on the team’s 2013 LMP2 programme can be obtained from Dave Beecroft on +44 (0)7970 919371 or Chris Witty on +44 (0)7531 381995.