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January/February 2008
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>>A surprise on the Sebring entry list is this Radical SR9 LMP1 entered by Ian Dawson.  What's even more notable is that the entry is powered by an AER built V10 diesel engine.  Apparently this is a case of AER taking over the development started by Dawson of the diesel Volkswagen Touareg V10 that he raced at Le Mans in 2004.  We're currently looking for more information from AER and Ian Dawson, in the mean time check out dailysportscar's very interesting write up of the project. 

>>Martin Shorts Rollcentre Team is continuing their development cycle hinted at in November of last year.  Say Short, "Our new splitter (at left, back in November) was tested by Pescarolo at the Bretagny airstrip.  It produced, with an increase in rear wing, a significant increase in downforce, with good balance, with a minor reduction on top speed."  The definitive splitter hasn't been hit upon yet and the work is being done in conjunction with Pescarolo.  Pescarolo's front splitter was also tested at Bretagny and ultimately Short feels that's the direction that they will head in, "Pescarolo's own splitter in high downforce config produced similar figures, with no porpoising, and they made a great result in Le Mans trim, with a good increase in downforce and no extra drag."  Martin indicates the Rollcentre version has evolved from the what we see in the photo, "It produced certain cooling advantages.  And I thought it was pretty! But (it is) not necessarily how we will run the car."  At the Paul Ricard test both versions (Rollcentre and Pescarolo) will be tested back to back and the final version decided. 


>>In 2008 UK based Embassy Racing will be fielding a LMP2 of their own design and construction in the Le Mans Series.  The announcement was made many months ago and the car's construction is well along.  Peter Elleray is responsible for the car's design.  The RUAG wind tunnel in Emmen Switzerland was utilized, the same facility Elleray used for the Bentley LMGTP.  The engine is the 3.4 liter Zytek V8, the gearbox is Ricardo.  RTN is manufacturing the primary composites (and built and supported the wind tunnel model).  Alastair Macqueen is the the group's Technical Director.  So that's Elleray, Macqueen, RTN, Emmen...seems another very successful project utilized that combination too

Embassy is eventually aiming at bigger and better things and the project goes well beyond the design and manufacture of a LMP2 car.  This project just happens to be the spring board.  Ultimately the idea is to set themselves up as an engineering company along the lines of Prodrive.  The LMP2 project allows them to control their own destiny (vs. being another customer to someone else) as well as launches their greater ambitions. 

>>Race Car Engineering sent use these shots of the WF01's build in progress. 
>>The rear end appears very slim and neat, one wonders where the oil tank is located?  Conventional coil springs are used at the rear.  The bellhousing is machined from billet and then anodized orange (as are the engine mounting shear plates on the rear of the monocoque), a nice touch.
>>The WF01's front suspension is torsion bar controlled.  The bars can be accessed from the front of the monocoque.  It appears that the primary dampers are on the other end of the bell cranks with their inboard mounts attaching near centerline.

>>WR has come roaring back with its newly designed, Zytek power, LMP2008 chassis.  Design direction was led by Gerard Welter with Jean-Christophe Bolle-Reddat and his volunteer team from ADN, the Peugeot-Citroen design studio, working on the WR in their spare time.  Wind tunnel development (full scale) was carried out at the famous St. Cyr wind tunnel, just outside of Paris.

2008 WR LMP2008 Specifications
Designer:Gerard Welter, Jean-Christophe Bolle-Reddat
Layout:Mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Monocoque:WR built carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque
Engine:3.4 liter, Zytek ZG348 V8
Gearbox:Ricardo LMP 6 speed with electrical gearshift (Zytek EGS)
Wheels:BBS, Front: 12.5 x 18”, Rear: 13 x 18”
Length:4630 mm
Width:2000 mm
Wheelbase:2890 mm
Weight:825 kgs.
The WR LMP2008 has some interesting features.  Starting with the side pods, they are heavily undercut and vented.  A vertical legality shadow plate masks the side pods outboard as the undercut section encroaches inboard past the 150 mm inboard legality limit.  The black horizontal strake at the rear of the side pod works as a shadow plate, shielding a segment of the "valley" that opens up between the outboard vertical shadow plate and the side pod as the side pod pinches inboard.  Furthermore the, the area between the valley then blends back up to the height underneath the horizontal shadow plate.  All very interesting interpretations.  For the time being it is difficult to ascertain what is occurring between the front pontoon fender and the monocoque.  Regulations mandate additional shadow plates in this area in order to maintain a 400 mm height and this is governed to a point 415 mm behind the front wheel centerline. 
From the front we can see the very large front splitter/diffuser.  The diffuser exit is directed at the bottom of the side pod into the area created by the undercut on the side pod.  The whole idea is to manage this exit airflow as efficiently as possible maximizing the diffuser's performance.  It would appear that the front brake ducts are "Formula" style with the ducting mounted directly to the upright and grabbing cooling air from inboard openings in the front fenders. 

Program updates for 2008:

The AIM V10 got its first track test at Magny Cours just before Christmas.  Says Ian Bickerton, "[It] sounds very different to the Judd S2 V10 engine."  Testing will continue starting at Estoril in early February (9-11) and culminating in a 24 hour test at Paul Ricard.

The CA07 is on the 7-poster shaker rig next week.  Further suspension and differential development is also planned.

The 4.0 liter version of the AER P32 turbo V8 engine debuted at Petit last year with both Cytosport and Intersport and Mike Lancaster tells us that, from now on, the P32 will only be raced in 4.0 liter form.

Work is continuing on the direct injection system and the decision will be made as to whether or not to introduce the development on both the P32 and MZR-R this year. 

There is a new version of the MZR-R for this year and it will be used by BK Motorsports in addition to a number of as yet unnamed European Le Mans Endurance Series teams.  The P07 will continue to see use alongside the MZR-R though the eventual goal is for the MZR-R to supplant the P07.

Judd's new DB 3.4 liter V8 LMP2 engine has run on the dyno.  The engine shares similarities with the GV5 V10 LMP1 engine with it's head and block design though with a 90░ 'V' angle (and minus two cylinders of course).  One wonders if by default that it shares anything with the Judd designed AIM V10?

The first engine will be out the door next week (Saulnier Racing) with Sebah's (Speedy) going directly to Lola for fitment (into Lola's LMP2 coupe) by the middle of this month (February). 

Stan Hall ends on this note, "So far the engine has gone very well, so we're very hopeful for the season!"

>>M&S Hobbies' Mark Palacz has annouced that he's taking pre-orders for their new 1/24 scale resin kit, the Toyota Eagle MkIII.  The kit is a 2-in-1 concept and will allow the modelr to build either the 1993 Toyota Eagle MkIII Daytona winner or the sprint season's high downforce car.  The kit comes with a photo etch sheet, wheels, and decals to do either the #99 or #98.  Retail price is $120 and the kit should be ready to ship in 30-45 days.
>>Audi was out in force today at Sebring with two cars circulating.  As we understand it, they will be running multiple 12-hour simulations on the run up to the 12 Hour. 
About the only change we notice is a drastically enlarged rear brake duct (though Sean Miller informs us they've been on the car since last year's Laguna Seca, so not new at all).
Both cars were wearing the No. 2 though could be differentiated by the Le Mans 2007 tech sticker on one and the ALMS stickers on the other.  The '07 Le Mans car had tire temperature monitors placed in the louvers above each front wheel.

>>Acura was out testing their updated ARX-01b spec LMP2 last week at Sebring (Jan 14-15).  Many thanks to Martin Spetz for the use of these images.

In profile the changes are more evident.  The most obvious is the new rear wing endplate shape.  But more significantly the bodywork just aft of the front wheel has been revised.  The side pod is now to the 400 mm minimum height across its entire length.  There now is a smooth scallop transition out of the trailing edge of the front wheel well (dark shadow immediately behind front wheel) where as last year (below for comparison) there was a notch in the front wheel well perimeter that bled off high pressure laterally.
The front wheel/diffuser exit has been opened up.  Last year's gill-like side shadow plate is still in place.
The trailing edge of the rear fenders has been modified as evidenced by the parting line and the new flared shape.  The fenders may even be longer.  The endplate area has increased rather significantly though the trailing edge has a somewhat arbitrary shape though no doubt born out of the wind tunnel.  The sideways 'u' at the top of the endplate was a mid season development and so far is carrying over.

>>Big news out of the last week's Autosport show is the release of the first image of the Lola B08/60 LMP1 coupe coupled with news that Team Charouz will be fielding an Aston Martin powered version this season. 

But let's back track for a moment to catch up on multiple birds and one stone, last month the ACO released the 2008 LMP regulations.  For the most part changes were relatively minor but for one exception, the ACO added a "homologated engine" note to the LMP1 engine column.   Previously there was nothing stopping someone from racing a GT1 engine in the back of an LMP1 chassis (Lister Corvette engine for example), but the regulations didn't encourage it given the draw back of the higher weight and design constraints of a GT based engine vs. the unlimited nature of bespoke racing power plants from Judd, AER, etc.  But that has now changed and engines homologated for GT1 (production of 1000 units a year) are now recognized within the LMP1 engine regulations and given larger inlet restrictor for comparable engine capacity.  For comparison, a 6.0 liter, multi valve bespoke LMP1 engine is allowed a 45.5 mm restrictor where as a GT1 homologated engine can used a 47.2 mm restrictor (46.6 mm base + .6 mm for over 12 cylinders).  So that will mean more power from the GT1 engine in LMP application to make up for its deficiencies.  Le Mans is a power circuit and such that faced with the prospects of having to lug around less ballast because of greater engine weight, you'd always take that hit if it meant 30 more horsepower. 

Team Charouz will be using the 6.0 liter V12 out of the Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 in their Lola B08/60 this season. 

The 2008 LMP1 and 2 chassis regulation highlights:

1.13 - Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS): The ACO is currently studying specific rules for LMP1 which will be equipped with a kinetic energy recovery system. This regulation will meet the balance of performance between LMP1.

4.1 - Minimum weight :
“LM”P1:  900 kg  925 kg last year
“LM”P2:  825 kg  775 kg last year

IMSA announced under Bulletin 08-01 that they will keep LMP1 at 925 kgs and move LMP2 to 800 kgs.

5.1- (1) Semi stressed engine, homologated in LMGT1 and used in a production car built in a quantity of at least 1000 units per

(2) Semi stressed engine complying with the “LM” GT2 technical rules and used in a production car built in a quantity of at
least 1000 units per year.  Change being that last year stressed engines of any kind (semi or full) were not eligible

(3) Engine using head cylinders, valves, pistons, connecting rods of a production engine. This engine must be used in a
production car built in a quantity of at least 10 000 units per year. These pieces must not be modified. Two stage
charging devices and air/air and/or air/water heat exchangers are permitted.

(up to) 4400 cc diesel engines allowed in LMP2

6.5 - Fuel Capacity :

LMP2 :
• 80 litres maximum on board  from 90 liters

One we missed from 2007

16.1 - Rollover structures :

e.4 – For all the chassis homologated after July 1st, 2007, the main rollover structures and the secondary rollover structures must not obscure sight of any part of the engine (engine block and head cylinders), viewed from directly above the car.

Would seem to dissallow engines recessed into the rear bulkhead of the monocoque.

19.2 Reduction in performances LMP1 and LMP2 :

The ACO is considering a reduction in performances in LM P1 and LM P2 for safety reasons, given the fact that the 3m 30s barrier was
breached in the 2007 race. Discussions with the entrants will begin in 2008 to introduce such measures in 2009 or 2010. The modifications to be made will apply mainly to the bodywork, the wings and the air restrictors, so that the LM P1 cars’ times will not
dip under 3m 30s over a lap of the Le Mans circuit.

Annexe 1 / Appendix 1

Inlet restrictors for gasoline powered engines (turbo and normally aspirated) have all been increased in diameter, see various tables
GT1 homologated LMP engines inlet restrictor table added
Diesel LMP2 engine inlet restrictor table added

2.2 Frontal absorbing structure

Text addition:
If the frontal absorbing structure needs to be approved for both LMP1 and LMP2 categories, it is permissible to conduct a single crash test in accordance with the LMP1 test conditions (article 2.2.1b), during which the requirements must be satisfied and, additionally, to demonstrate by data processing (article 2.2.1c) that the requirements are also satisfied in accordance with the LMP2 test conditions.

Text addition:
c) Data processing procedure for the estimation of the frontal absorbing structure from the data of a preliminary impact
test : Many additional details follow

ęCopyright 2008, Michael J. Fuller