JANUARY 15, 2002
FRENCH motor racing has been in the doldrums for some years following the government's decision to ban tobacco and alcohol sponsorship. It has been a struggle for most teams but one man who has been successful despite everything is ORECA boss Hugues de Chaunac-Lanzac. At the New Year de Chaunac was named as a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, the French equivalent of a knighthood.
De Chaunac founded ORECA in 1972 to run a works team for the Martini company. The team was immediately successful, winning the 1975 European Formula 2 title and in 1978 it entered F1 with the ill-fated Martini team and driver Rene Arnoux. After that setback de Chaunac went back to Formula 3 and in 1979 took Alain Prost to the European Formula 3 championship. The team went on to win nine French F3 titles in 11 years and helped develop the careers of an entire generation of French drivers, including Jean Alesi. The team also ran teams in rallying, touring car and desert events. It was ORECA which gave Mazda victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1991. Since then the team has concentrated on sportscar and touring cars while also building up a successful fabrication and distribution business for racing parts, a public relations firm and a racewear company.
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