2011 ORECA 03 Pilots: F. Mailleaux, L. Ordoñez, S. Ayari Team: Signatech Nissan Race: 9th overall (2nd in LMP2 class) at Le Mans in 2011 Ixo - LMM 215 (diecast)
The ORECA 03 was a LMP2 car built by ORECA specifically to comply with ACO’s 2011 regulations. That meant that the chassis + gearbox couldn’t cost more than €345,000 and that engines had to be production-based. The basis of the 03 was a light carbon fiber monocoque chassis with an open top bodywork. Basically, the same body and aero package used in ORECA’s LMP1 works car of 2009 and 2010. Suspension is provided by double wishbones and push rods on all four wheels, while stopping power comes from carbon-ceramic disc brakes. The engine was Nissan’s 4494 cm³ VK45DE, a naturally aspirated V8 with DOHC and 32 valves that delivered 460 hp.
In total ORECA built 24 03 cars, and at La Sarthe in 2011 there were four ORECA cars on the grid (though one was an older ORECA 01). This is chassis #5, the only car fielded by Signatech Nissan. The ORECA 03 #26 here finished 2nd in the LMP2 class and 9th overall, the best place for all Oreca cars that year.
Being honest, ORECA is not exactly high on my Cool Cars list. What caught my eye on the ORECA 03 #26 was the PlayStation graphics. Though currently I’m having a blast with Forza 7 on my XBox One, I have found memories of playing Gran Turismo 6 on my (defunct) PS3. So a cheap LM car with very cool graphics? Thus, hard to resist. And I hit a home run with the purchase – this is an absolutely solid model by Ixo. Honestly, I would be very happy if all my Le Mans cars were as good as this one. AND, for such a bargain price. Unfortunately, I have this tendency to always prefer the higher-end Spark model. But, in all honesty, I don’t really need anything better than this. Hence, you should always buy the model, not the brand .