Mulsanne's Corner NEWS

Mulsanne's Corner NEWS isn't meant to be THE source for up to date news items.  Instead what we are doing is providing an archive for information collected through out the Net related to new car developments.  Occasionally we do post first hand gathered items, but most of the time it is news from secondary sources such as or Autosport.  We will provide all sources for any news item shown here.

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August 2004
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>>More shots from the Monterey Historics from Dirk.  Here is the famous 1991 Le Mans 24 Hour winning Mazda 787B flanked by two Mazda-powered Lola T616s C2 cars.  The 787B was powered by Mazda's now famous 4-rotor R26B racing engine.  The R26B saw service in the Mazda RX7-92P GTP effort as well as in Jim Downing's 4-rotor power WSC chassis, the DLM-4 and DLY.  Mazda racing 4-rotors are a very rare commodity with perhaps as few as only 6-8 of the R26B existing world wide, according to the guys at Downing Atlanta.  It is interesting to note that the 4-rotor R26 that was used in the Mazda RX-7 IMSA GTO effort is very different to the R26B that powered the Group C and GTP cars.  Besides a major dimensional difference (1.5" longer), the R26B utilized telescopic inlet trumpets, peripheral port injection, 3-plug ignition, and 2-piece ceramic apex seals.

It will be interesting to see what power plant Mazda decides to go with for their LMP2 effort.  If Mazda is indeed serious, let me go out on a limb and say that they won't be using anything existing (R26, R26B, R20B, etc.).  Indeed, I would hope Mazda would show up with a new rotary power plant (3 or 4 rotor peripheral port Renisis?) to continue their racing (and racing rotary) legacy.


>>Dirk de Jager spied the Lancia LC2, chassis 0002, at Laguna Seca a couple of weeks ago.

>>Pat Michl sends us this sequence of the Audi loop in the Festival Chicane from the Portland ALMS event.

>>Lola releases images of the developing B05/40 LMP2.  Having completed 2 weeks of initial wind tunnel testing, Lola has released these vague images of their new LMP2 chassis.  About all we can tell is that the car will be an open top chassis though that was never in doubt based upon the concept images Lola released in the past.

The original concept rendering as it was released late last year.
The most recent concept rendering.
>>Gabriele Tosi has sent along a detailed report of the new Lucchini's first shakedown:

The first proper track test was as Misano, after a shakedown at Adria last month.

The weather predicted was really bad, but as soon I reached the “Riviera” partly cloudy conditions cooled things slightly on what was other wise a very humid day with 26-28░ C.

Piergiuseppe Peroni (along with Mirko Savoldi, and Filippo Francioni) was at the wheel for the first stint (10 laps) of the morning.  Upon pitting he indicated that the gearbox was a little tight and there was something amiss engine side, “As soon as I put the power down seems he miss something”.  The team discovered a small mapping problem in the engine (quickly solved by the Judd rep. present), but in the mean time they decided to take off the rear end of the car to do a precautionary check of the gearbox.   Thankfully nothing serious was found.  Peroni also indicated the car was understeering and wasn’t yet properly dampened to handle the track’s bumps.

All three drivers complained about seat comfort (Francioni couldn’t do more than 5 laps) and a proper seat will be fitted for all of them for the Spa debut.

Peroni covered all the work in the morning, only to hand the wheel over to Savoldi for some installation laps before the break.  Savoldi had difficulty getting the car out of the pits, stalling it twice before finally realizing there was a clutch problem with it going completely to the floor the second time and not returning, Savoldi says “Ok I’m a little nervous and to stall once is ok, but twice, either I’m getting a little stupid or we have some kind of problem!”

After only half an hour, with very dark cloud and rumbling in the air, the car finally rolls back out onto the track at 13.45 with Savoldi at the wheel. But as soon as he opened the throttle in the longest straight of the Misano circuit “All the lights on the dashboard are lit like a Xmas tree!”  Thankfully it’s just a small glitch with the fuel pump putting itself into “preserve mode”.

The stop also allows Savoldi to make some adjustment on the front dampers because he finds the car a little too nervous to drive and with too much understeer.

He continued with short runs of 4-5 laps, like Peroni did in the morning, until 16.30. Then Peroni jumped aboard once more to see if the adjustment made are ok also for him. Peroni finds that he can now can manage good and constant times, and he then runs a 12-lap stint, the longest stint of the day.

Peroni came back in, having the car checked over and then went out…only to immediately halt with the engine shut down along the track.  The track’s Range Rover towed him in, but again it was nothing serious.

At 1700 it was Francioni’s turn to take the car, Filippo asks the engineer, in a typical Tuscany accent, “Someone has to tell me how all the button works, I don’t want to push the self-destruct!”  Francioni takes to the track for a few laps at very slow pace only to head back into the pits telling the guys the seat is very uncomfortable.  Giorgio Lucchini asked him how the car is and he indicated it is going very good, but the car is understeering and porposing on braking and acceleration but that the brakes are fantastic.

After only 15 minutes Savoldi heads out again for some more laps but soon stops at 17.43 as the rain finally (predicted all day) arrives.  The team was planning a change onto new tyres and going for a “quick one” but the weather says “No mas.”

At the end of a long day I can say, apart from the obvious niggling problems and need for a proper setup, this test went very well and all of the guys are happy.  Nothing major has happened, only little things. We have to remember this is the first real test for this car.

At the end Savoldi made the best lap at 1:28.12. Figuring 1 and half second from a new set of tyres and one second more from the setup works we find the LMP 5 seconds quicker than the Cn2 car which is damn fast!

Lucchini plans another test for this month.

The plan for this year and next are interesting indeed. This year the car will make its debut at the LMES round at Spa in September, then they will do the last ALMS race at Laguna Seca.   A winter development programme is planned to be ready for a 2005 with Sebring, the full LMES, and Le Mans.

Some technical details:

>>The LMP is a little overweight right now, some 30 kilos, but this is a typical characteristic of new Lucchini cars.

>>The Austrian company Pankl has built a very compact gearbox and right now its seems reasonably reliable. It has been specifically built for the Lucchinis (both LMP and Cn2).  The gearbox is like an F1 unit in its structure though with more economical internals. The gearbox is a 5 speed manual unit in the Lucchini Cn2 while it is a 6 speed sequential in the LMP.

>>The LMP uses the 3.4 Judd XV power plant, which is a new, more developed version of the KV.  Intersport Racing’s Judd engined Lola B160 actually uses both versions, though Lucchini is only intending to use the newest XV unit. The XV version has a new, lighter cylinder head.  So far there haven’t been any engine problems with good power, good drivability, and excellent top speed (243 Km/h along the longest Misano straight).

>>The car has no power steering at this time but it is on the list of items to be tested next year.

>>More images of the unknown sports prototype...
>>I recently had the opportunity to photograph this mystery sports car wind tunnel model.  Can you identify the car?  No hints for now though I suspect this could be a stumper...
>>We've read all about it, and now we can see it, courtesy of our good friends at  Presented here is the new Lucchini LMP2.
>>The Lucchini is utilizing maximum front and rear overhangs (1000 mm and 750 mm respectively) and that is responsible for the car's visual appearance.
ęCopyright 2004, Michael J. Fuller