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 2005
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>>Sander van Dijk of sent us these images of the new Lister Storm Hybrid taken at the Silverstone LMES event a few weeks ago.  The Lister Storm Hybrid LMP1 was designed by Dan Alexander and has not yet benefited from any wind tunnel development.

The radiators are mounted up front and the air is then exhausted out the rear of the car.  But it doesn't seem that straight forward, and given the coanda ducts on the Thorby designed Lister LMP900, I wouldn't be surprised if something similar (though not identical) was being utilized on this car.
The engine intakes reside one over the driver's head in the space created by the roll over hoop and one in the passenger's secondary roll over structure.  The benefit is simply consistent (if not improved) airflow ducted to each cylinder bank.  The engine exhaust exits out the top of the bodywork just about even with and inboard of the rear fenders.
The Lister's rear end.  The slit just at the top trailing edge of the engine cover is intriguing.
Close up of slit in rear end.
The side valance is also of interest with its intake and exit.  This could be related to how the radiator air is routed through and out the car.

>>Two weekends ago I had the opportunity to spend some time with Dennis Spencer at his shop in Buford Georgia.  The shop is just up the road and he lured me over with images of RX-792Ps and various rotary bits as well as the possibility of  catching up with an old friend.  I couldn't resist of course.  The shop is a page out of the Jim Downing School of mechanical mayhem.  I think it has something to do with having rotaries on the mind, the design simplicity of the rotary leading to a chaotic external environment.  I jest of course, but there are race cars in various states of maintenance with every one takes a turn and it is quite interesting.  Dennis' most recent project is of course B-K Motorsport's Courage C65.  He has recently become involved with the program offering Team Spencer's technical and fabrication expertise in things Mazda rotary and on the day I visited the Courage C65 was in the process of being disassembled in preparation for the installation of a new 3-rotor powerplant.

B-K Motorsport's Courage C65 currently runs at around 275 lbs. over weight with at least 100+ of that total being due to the fact that they are running a Courage C60 LMP900 X-Trac transmission and rear end assembly.  Though this isn't out of choice but necessity.  Dennis explained that the deal came together so quickly (the car was assembled in less than 10 days) that Courage simply didn't have enough C65 parts to put together a bespoke C65.  Further clarification indicates that due to the height of the crankshaft on the Mazda engine and given the very short time period, the only option was to use the X-Trac in place of the usual Hewland. 

With Road America just around the corner there isn't much that can be done regarding the car's weight and concentrations have been on installing the new motor.  The C65 has been found to be somewhat deficit in regards to how much cooling air can be drawn into the car and that is driving the motor program to an extent.  Dennis indicated, "Everything we do is restricted by the cooling the chassis will allow us to generate.  This is everything from engine mapping to air box location and how many RPM we can turn without generating too much heat."  Since the last time we saw the car at its debut at the Spring Road Atlanta race, the Courage's rear deck now sports a set of louvers on either side in order to help with extraction of heat out of the engine bay.

As you can imagine, the C65 wasn't the only object of interest.  Dennis has recently acquired 2 Mazda RX-792Ps.  Actually one is a pure show car with no monocoque or serial number.  The other is chassis #003.  Chassis 003 has an interesting story in that it was intended to be raced as a Camel Lights entry with a 3-rotor engine in the back.  That never happened and subsequently the car was never raced.
The car is in pretty rough shape as it has spent various time in Mazda's basement as well as at one point being perched on a restaurant somewhere in California.  Eventually it is intended to put chassis 003 into running order (whether as a Camel Lights or a GTP proper hasn't been determined) but according to Dennis,  "it will probably be at least two years before we see completion.  The expense will be considerable and work will progress as the budgets of time and finances allows."
And finally...
Dennis calls it a "continuation motor" as it isn't a R26B, instead being built up out of four 13B housings.  What he's doing about eccentric shafts I can't of the many things I was sworn to secrecy about  in my confidentiality agreement (written on a piece of used tissue mind you).  Suffice to say, Spencer has many interesting projects going on all revolving around Mazda rotaries and all very interesting. 

And on a final note, I mentioned to Dennis at one point that there is quite a lot of fan interest in the Mazda LMP2 project.  His response?  "Good, we can use all the fans and air conditioning we can get."  Classic. 


>>Julian Cooper, Lola's Head of Engineering took the time to answer a few of our questions regarding their current project, the LMP1 Lola B06/10.  Many thanks to Lola's Sam Smith.

Mulsanne's Corner:  Assuming the B05/40 as the basis, where do you start in developing the LMP1 B06/10?  Where do you begin improve upon and make specific (now to LMP1) a design that, when it was sent to manufacturing, was already at its peak form?

Julian Cooper:  There are 3 aspects that make the B06/10 different to the B05/40: the rules, the engines, and the aerodynamics.  The rules require a minimum weight of 900 kg, up from 750 kg, which imposes additional stresses on the suspension over bumps, under cornering and braking.  The suspension has been strengthened accordingly. At the same time, the wheels and tyres are wider, requiring different suspension geometry, and the brakes are bigger which affects the detail design of the uprights.  The choice of engines require a substantial review of the installations.  Although small engines such as the Mugen V8 would fall straight into the B05/40, we have chosen to increase the wheelbase to improve the packaging both of the longer Judd V10, and the new turbo engines from Cosworth and AER, which require twin intercoolers as well as bigger radiators and space for the turbos.  Minimal changes are required to the transmission as the transverse drive train is designed to be easily adaptable for input rpm and gear width.  A bespoke bellhousing adaptor is designed for each engine type, which also carries the alternator drive in the same way as the B05/40.  The aerodynamics have received as much wind tunnel and CFD work as the original B05/40 design, because we are still on a steep learning curve with optimizing the possibilities within these non-flat bottom regulations.  At the same time, the lift/drag targets are different for an LMP1 car because of the additional power available, and the increased cooling requirements for engine and brakes had to be met.

MC: How similar are the aero characteristics between the LMP1 and LMP2 categories?  In general, what are the concentrations for each category (drag reduction for LMP2, pure downforce for LMP1?)?

JC:  As mentioned already, the tradeoff is different, and it's not hard to guess that with more power in LMP1 you can afford to pull more drag.  However the biggest factor tends to be where you are racing. The ALMS circuits require higher downforce in general than the LMES and Le Mans.  Monza is the lowest drag track of all. However Sebring tends to be attended by some European teams and it requires a high downforce setup, so its essential that the B06/10, like the B05/40, is adaptable to both ends of the drag spectrum.  We are however limited in the regulations in the amount of add-on parts we can use, so that makes the base design all the more important to get right first time.

MC:  Does the B06 have its own dedicated model for wind tunnel development? 

JC:  Yes it does.  It is a 45% scale model built using a combination of carbon fibre bodywork and rapid prototype details, as well as pressure tapped scale radiators.  Together with our F1 standard CFD capability and in-house wind tunnel this means we can cover a lot of development ground very quickly.

MC:  So B06/10, open or closed top?  How feasible would it be to develop both versions?

JC:  Anything is possible, as they say.  In fact a closed top car is just an engineering exercise which adds doors, windows, ventilation systems and a slightly different chassis structure.  This also adds weight to the open car, but this can be accommodated within the extra 150 kg allowance.  Every sportscar we manufacture tends to become a bespoke item once the combination of engines, data systems and team preferences have been accommodated.  The customer is involved with the spec of their car from day one.

MC:  Do you ever find the tendency to want to apply lessons being learned as you develop the B06/10 back to the B05/40?

JC:  This does not seem to be necessary yet.  So far the Lola chassis has been comfortably quicker than the competition on both sides of the Atlantic, and in fact to turn the question around, it is our year of experience in LMP2 which puts us in good shape for LMP1 compared to everyone else who are still using hybrid conversions of LMP900 cars.  Our focus at the moment is on the LMP1 version although updates for the LMP2 will not be ruled out if the need is there. 

MC:  Is it intended that the B06/10 use the same monocoque as the B05/40?  How similar will the two cars be mechanically?  How much additional parts cross over will there be between the 05 and 06?

JC:  The B06/10 monocoque is the same one- only the engine mounts are different.  The nosebox is different because the crash test requirement is higher.  The mechanical differences are outlined above.  Many of the systems such as fuel and steering are the same.

MC:  Having just dealt with a 750 kilo weight minimum, is it any easier to then develop a 900 kilo design?

JC:  Additional weight budget always makes life easier, especially when evolving a design from a lighter starting point.  Some of the weight is already accounted for in the changes, such as bigger brakes and wheels, and the rest can be used to add durability or tuning options.

MC:  And finally…Lola chassis nomenclature…B06 makes sense enough, but /10?

JC:  The suffix denotes the formula. "10" historically has been the top sports prototype class, whether Group C or LMP900.  In-house the final digit is also varied to denote the engine type.


>>Dirk de Jager sent these images in taken a couple of weeks ago at the Modena Motorsports Ferrari Event at the Nurburgring.  It is a Ferrari event but the organizers typically open it up to anything interesting and exotic.  This is Porsche 962-130.  962-130 is a 3 time Le Mans entrant and finished as high as 2nd in 1987.  Its serial number sibling, chassis 962-129, went on to win Daytona in 1991. 

This Jaguar XJR-8 (we stand corrected!) was also present.  It is running in sprint configuration.  Having originally called this a XJR-9 and then being corrected (courtesy of 10-10th's forum), I took the opportunity to dig into my recent acquisition, Leslie F. Thurston's book TWR Jaguar Prototype Racers.  It is an excellent book on the subject and highly recommend.  I was able to flip to the XJR Identification section and verify why the above is a -8, not a -9 (side view mirrors, right hand side inlet in front of rear wheel; -9 had a NACA duct there).  At around $50, the book is a must have!

>>The Storm is unleashed.  Lister Cars unveiled the new Lister Storm LMP1 Hybrid in all its glory today.  The smart looking LMP1 took its first laps at Snetterton, putting in 100 laps with drivers Justin Keen and Jens Moller at the wheel.  The Lister will race as a LMP1 hybrid for the rest of this season to take advantage of the slightly more advantageous aerodynamic regulations (no need to run the passenger primary roll over structure, just the secondary), but will convert to full LMP1 specification for 2006 with the introduction of a new monocoque incorporating the proper passenger roll over protection per the regulations.

The most prominent feature of the new car is the large cooling inlet in the nose feeding a front mounted radiator.  Bodywork is to minimum heights and the front and rear fenders are shaped to encourage airflow around and not over (reducing lift).  The outboard sections of the splitter appear to have been made height adjustable.

This is the first car designed to LMP1 regulations that attempts to maximize the car to the regulations.  All previous to this point have essentially been applications of the regulations to existing chassis.

©Copyright 2005, Michael J. Fuller