Mulsanne's Corner

Sebring 2012

All news content copyright Michael J. Fuller, unless otherwise noted

>>The FaceBook galleries have ben fleshed out.  The technical gallery now has 210 images and the DeltaWing gallery 39.

Some cathing up...

>>We've heard that a second team noted tire debris being thrown forward out of the rear big honking hole.
Lola B12/60, Sebring 2012>>One thing we were struck by, and this isn't a new trend by any stretch for Lola looking back at pictures from previous years, is how short the rear overhang is on the B12/60.  We calculated for a 646 mm rear overhang dimension and Lola's Sam Smith confirms, "The maximum overall length is 4650, and we design to 4640 to give us a bit of manufacturing/assembly tolerance, comprised by 1000 mm front overhang, 2990 mm wheelbase, and hence 650 mm rear overhang."
Audi R18, Sebring 2012>>File under, "they've thought of everything" (or alternatively, they have more money than they know what to do with),  Audi was seen using portable air gun and air jack-lance backpacks for raising and lowering the car and removing the tires during scrutineering.
Rebellion Lola B11/60, Sebring 2012>>Rebellion ran their B11/60 in both front end configurations over the weekend (Le Mans nose here).  Referencing Sam Smith again, "...everything except MAX down force would run the nose closing panels.  Obviously there's a whole matrix of bits including under body fences, louvers and dive planes which we have available to tune/balance the down force on the car.  What we found at Sebring was that in terms of ultimate performance there was nothing to choose between MAX DF and a config. running slightly less drag, but it was thought that slightly less drag might make it easier to deal with traffic in a race situation."
Lola B12/80, Sebring 2012>>Lola's cost-capped B12/80 LMP2 uses cast aluminum uprights that are universal.  That is, the front upright is either a left or a right and the rears are either a left or a right.  Naturally a cast upright is less expensive while perhaps not "optimized" for weight and strength.  Given the Balance of Performance within LMP2 not being optimized is less of an issue.
Zytek Z11SN Nissan, Sebring 2012>>Zytek's Z11SN LMP2 had a couple of developments on the car, notably this outboard panel.  Note it compromises of two panels, a leading (1) and trailing panel.
Zytek Z11SN Nissan, Sebring 2012>>The leading panel can be removed allowing air to pass between the trailing panel and the fender.  Note the aero-section standoffs (1). is an online shop for performance parts & accessories, including headlights and tail lights


>>We've posted two galleries onto FaceBook.  A technical gallery, and one dedicated to the DeltaWing.
Oreca 03 Nissan, Sebring 2012>>Talk about unintended consequences,  we've spoken with a team that has noted tire debris thrown from the rear big honking fender holes forward into the mirrors and towards the cockpit and driver.  The evidence being rubber marks all over the sidepod, mirror, and cockpit area where there typically never was in the past.  The other question bandied about...what happens to visibility when it rains?  
Oreca 03 Nissan, Sebring 2012>>On our afternoon paddock walk we noticed these vortex generators on the bottom of the front diffuser on ADR-Delta Oreca 03 Nissan LMP2.  We've seen this detail on the Audis for years, so it's interesting seeing it pop up on another effort.  The VGs on the Oreca are generated via rapid prototype.
Ferrari 458, Sebring 2012>>Michelotto showed up at Sebring with a new rear wing for the Ferrari 458 that apparently was homologated only just before the race (and thus no one had a look at it at the Sebring test in January) and it is causing a bit of a stir.  The reason for the grumbling is the trailing edge shape just ahead of the gurney.  Recall back to last year at Le Mans and the new rear wing flaps raced in LMP1.  They were designed with slots (or bumps in the case of OAK Racing) that, because of the wording regarding the gurney and the wing, allowed the mandatory gurney to be backed out reducing drag.  The regulation states that the gurney has to be perpendicular to the line that connections the trailing edge of the wing to the "top" of the wing.  And by locally dropping the height of the trailing edge, through the use of the slot, the line that connections the trailing edge to the top of the wing is angled back, and therefore the perpendicity of the gurney angles back as well.  Viola, instant drag reduction.

Morgan Oak LMP2, Sebring 2012>>The rear fender holes on both Oak's LMP1 and LMP2 (right) have raised elements ahead of the hole.
Morgan Oak LMP2, Sebring 2012Conversly, the bodywork ahead of the front fender holes is lowered.
DeltaWing Nissan, Sebring 2012>>The Nissan powered DeltaWing ran today on two occasions.  We spoke briefly with Nissan's Darren Cox and tried to hammer down the origins of the engine.  Yes, RML is behind the powerplant.  Given Nissan's existing relationship with RML naturally it made sense to tap into their previous 4-cylinder turbo experience (MG, Chevy WTCC, etc).  Cox indicates that the brief handed to RML was for a light weight turbo 4-cylinder with low fuel consumption.  And not to be pedantic, but the discussions were in the future tense (the engine will...) and he did admit that the current engine is indeed "interim," as mentioned on these pages last week.  We suspect the truth is something like this:  the interim engine is most likely the Chevy WTCC engine given the time tables, and that RML is currently designing the definitive Nissan specified engine.  Mr. Cox did say that the Nissan brief should produce an engine substantially lighter than the interim engine.

Strakka HPD ARX-03a LMP1, Sebring 2012>>On the HPD ARX-03a the big honking fin attaches to a horizontal cross brace between the swan neck wing pillars to help further support the fin.  This solution is also used on the Oreca cars; another car that has twin rear wing mounts.  In contrast, the Audi's singular swan neck mount seamlessly integrates into the big honking fin, providing needed support and additional rigidity.

Audi R18, Sebring 2012>>We did have some curiosity if the Sebring R18s would be in pseudo 2012 specification.  This shot of the carbon rear end structure seems to confirm that no, at least in the case of the major 2012 updates (of which we'd call the all-CF gearbox on the R18 e-tron and ultra a major update), it would appear the answer so far is no. Naturally this isn't to say there isn't something of the new car on the Sebring cars this weekend, but so far it isn't evident to our macro magnifying glass (believe it or not, we're not rivet counters!).

>>8:00am: The Royal "we" has arrived...we'll see what's going on, watch this space.

ęCopyright 2012, Michael J. Fuller