Duqueine Engineering has confirmed its intention to enter the 2018 European Le Mans Series. The French run team will the popular ORECA 07 chassis, as confirmed by French news site, Endurance Info.
“The plan is to run an ORECA 07 in the European Le Mans Series,” said Yann Belhomme. Belhomme cited his connections with ORECA and Hugues de Chaunac in the French national FFSA GT series as the reason for the chassis choice.
The full European Le Mans Series campaign is not thought to be accompanied with a Le MAns entry for 2018. Instead the team will use 2018 to get up to speed with their new LMP2 car.
Duqueine began the 2017 ELMS season with a pair of Ligier JSP3s (and another running in the Le Mans Cup). After two races they switched to the Norma M30, which saw a podium later in the season. Shortly after the season ended, Duqueine Mobility purchased Norma Auto Concepts.
The purchase is the reason for Duqueine moving out of the LMP3 class, up to LMP2 for 2018. The company does not wish to compete against the customers it supplies cars to, for obvious reasons. The purchase could end up being a great business decision – the LMP3 class is booming, and the Norma M30 certainly raised eyebrows in 2017.
The choice to not file for a Le Mans entry for 2018 may actually be a good thing for everyone involved. We’re facing the prospect of too many cars, especially from LMP2, and not enough space to put them as LMP1 and GTE-Pro grids grow.
Some will be unhappy that it’s another ORECA 07, but at least ELMS already had good representative of Ligier and Dallara – although not always at the very front.