Olivier Pernaut is the team manager of Orhes Racing, a French-based team competing in various modern and historic sportscar championships across Europe. They also build and restore old and new race cars. With the racing scene slowly coming back to life again, we gave Olivier a call to find out more.
Could you introduce Orhes racing
Orhes Racing was created in 2006. We started with two Fun Cup cars and two mechanics, and now we have lots of racing cars and between eight and 10 mechanics. We participate in a lot of different competitions: the Fun Cup, Mitjet 2L, European Nascar, Lamera Cup, Ligier JS2R, GT4 championship with Audi, historical racing car in Rallye and Tour Auto Optic 2000. Right now, we’re concentrating on the Fun Cup, the Ligier JS2R championship, GT4 and historical racing in the Peter Auto races. Three years ago, we started the old car division, restoring classics and race cars, and have an engine tuner and two coachbuilders dedicated to this.
How has coronavirus affected this season and is it starting to get back to normal?
We stopped all our racing activities from 17th March until 22nd of June. But we did not stop the historical side. Our first race will be on the 1st of August, and before that, we’ll have a few track days. It’s a very difficult time, but thanks to the French government, it’s easier for us than for other countries’ race teams.
Did the break from motorsport give you and your team a chance to refocus and make improvements for the rest of the year?
This winter we ordered a racing simulator for our race drivers, to improve their driving during the season. We received this simulator at the beginning of June, so during the break, we’ve started to work with home simulators in order to be ready as soon as possible with the big simulator and getting the settings and car modelling right.
Have your drivers been competing in any sim competitions? Do you see sim racing becoming more popular and sitting alongside real competitions?
Yes, absolutely. We are in the UK and Belgium Sim Racing Fun Cup, with our real drivers. Lots of our racing drivers bought home sims during this period. And I sent them our virtual race cars that we have been developing during this period.
How will social distancing work in motorsport?
[Laughs] We will do the same as everyone else: wear masks and wash our hands a lot!
What’s your partnership with Motul and what difference does its lubricants make to your success?
We’ve had a partnership with Motul for a few years now. We are really proud of this. Every time we have a race, our cars, drivers and mechanics wear the Motul branding. We love the reactivity of the Motul team. Any time we need a technical solution, like a lubricant analysis, they’re there. It’s a great pleasure to work with Motul.