French car brand Delage returns to Le Mans after 70 year hiatus

In a historic moment, the famous French car brand Delage will once again appear at Le Mans after a 50-year absence.
Christopher McFadden
Delage to make a return to Le Mans.


It has been announced that the famous French car brand, Delage, will appear in name at this year's 24 Hours of Le Man's race. The brand's marque famously won the 1914 Indianapolis 500 and is set to return in spirit thanks to a partnership with the IDEC Sports Team.

If you are unaware, Delage, a French manufacturer established in 1905, won the Indy victory with Rene Thomas driving its Type-Y grand prix racer. The company also won the RAC Grand Prix at Brooklands in 1926 and 1927 and participated in its first Le Mans race in 1923. Delages stopped production in 1953, but the marque was revived by Tapie, son of former French minister Bernard Tapie.

The upcoming double-points round of the World Endurance Championship will feature IDEC's ORECA-Gibson 07 LMP2. This vehicle will proudly represent Delage, a brand that has recently been revived and already boasts a prototype of a street-legal super sports car, known as the D12, that is fully operational. It has been 73 years since the French manufacturer's last participation at Le Mans in 1950, during which they achieved a class victory in 1937. The recent deal marks their return to the event.

Delage Automobiles boss Laurent Tapie called the chance to return to Le Mans in conjunction with IDEC a “fantastic opportunity to continue rebuilding the brand's reputation internationally.” Team founder Patrice Lafargue, whose squad has raced in the Le Mans P2 category since 2017, said: “IDEC Sport is happy to enter into this partnership with Delage."

For reference, P2 is one of the classes in the race, specifically designed for prototype cars. These cars are slightly slower than the top-class LMP1 cars but still deliver impressive speeds and performance. “This name means great things to car fans, and there is a real story in La Sarthe. We are proud that Delage recognizes our skills,” he added.

Paul-Loup Chatin, Paul Lafargue (son of Patrice), and Laurents Horr will be driving the IDEC ORECA in the 100th edition of Le Mans. The car will be donned in a French racing blue livery that features Delage's logo. The launch photos of the ORECA, along with the prototype D12, have also been released. In 2019, plans for a "road-legal Formula 1" car were introduced, and a prototype was showcased at the 2020 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The newly developed car packs a powerful punch with a combination of a 7.6-liter V12 engine and a hybrid powertrain, boasting an output of approximately 1100bhp. The plan is to produce only 30 cars at the Magny-Cours circuit, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2024.

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