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>>It would appear the ACO has issued a revised version of the 2008 LMP regulations. This revision (see Art 3.5.6) calls for a redesigned underfloor skid that incorporates a domed middle section that transitions to flat for the last 600 mm of the leading and trailing edges. This would bolt on and replace the existing skid. So far no press release has been attached to these revisions and it isn't clear starting from which event that this new item will be required (update, the new skid will be required starting at Sebring). Interestingly, Wirth Research was involved with the IRL's work in attempting to reduce the blow over incidents common to open wheel cars and a similar domed skid was implemented there with very mixed results. It is our understanding Wirth Research has been heavily involved with the ACO's own research into the yaw induced blow over incidents that have plagued sports cars in recent years.
|>>So the gig's up 48 hours after the first image hits the web. Audi has released this image (in high resolution as well).|
|The splitter is...well, effectively no longer instead replaced but a front wing with an adjustable "flap" (well, it appears to be adjustable but could very well be fixed). Hints are the visible flap pivot (top arrow, blown up a bit more below) and the slot gap. There is a strake mounted outboard of the lower "wing" main plane.|
|A closer look at the above details.|
|The outer corner of the splitter is replaceable and made from Jabroc (or equivalent) with the main corner structure made from Kevlar for resilience.|
|Sure enough, we can clearly see a "exit" above the Audi logo. We're told its function is purely aerodynamic, no radiators here!|
understand the R15 is on the same front tires as the R10. The
limiting factor for moving weight forward on the R15 is clearly
the weighty V10 diesel. Thus there wouldn't be any benefit to
extraordinarily wide fronts (as similar to the Acura).|
Here we can see how the front pontoon fender's trailing edge is integrated as an inlet strake (for lack of a better word) directing air towards the rear intake.
The positioning of the turbo inlet is very deliberate. I surmise that the location of the turbo itself is driven by packaging. Given the louvers and gills ahead of the duct, I can imagine there's a lot of disruption to the airflow ahead of the duct. So in order to find clear flow the duct itself has been canted over.
The unfinished nature of the rear fender seems to point to a last minute change. Given the late release of the definitive '09 rear wing regulations this is understandable. The rear wing changes have resulted in the need to optimize the entire rear end in order to recoup lost downforce.
|I had been very puzzled over the similarity of solutions of the rear wing mounts on the Audi and Acura. But the reduction in chord from 300 mm to 250 mm for '09 (in addition to the span reduction) has led to the use of wing profiles with increased camber. These more aggressive profiles are inherently more sensitive to wing disruptions which tend to result in very large flow separations. So naturally the Audi and Acura executions paralleled each other given the commonality of the problem and the subsequent solution.|
|Note that the louver panels have a simple (crude) cap over the forward section as a means to blank off only a portion.|
|Given the gilled, louvered, slotted nature of the mid section of the car (below), the broad flat areas on the front end lend the car to an overall manta ray look. Looking at the Shell logo, we're still seeing shading indicating a exit of some kind. What could be there? Pure aero or packaging (radiator)?|
|It's our understanding that this rear wing mount concept has been on the Audi R15 since late December. Notice how the turbo inlet is splayed over with the top further outboard than the bottom.|
|We have reasons to believe not all the R15's details are finalized (the arrows are SportAuto's BTW). As we can now see somewhat clearer, indeed there is some kind of cooling exit notched into the engine cover. There appear to be at least 3 covers in the area of the rear suspension based on the 3 trailing edges we can see.|
|We suspect that's a radiator exit in the background directly behind the turbo.|
>>Audi R15...images are leaking out, we suspect in the next 24 hours better shots will be available. This shot is pulled from Autosport's online edition and are of the new Audi R15 as it tested at Vallelunga. Taking one look at this and it seems clear Audi has made a significant step forward in concept. The car seems less conservative and really pushes the regulations. Note the very high nose and wide stance of the splitter pylons. There's a cooling inlet ahead of the rear wheels. We're also hearing that the engine is a diesel (naturally) 5.5 liter V10.
|These rear view image comes off the cover of the Italian magazine SportAuto. Unfortunately there's a graphic nightmare covering the image (why would you do that anyway if you're a magazine editor...anyway, never mind), so we'll have to try and overlook this.|
at blow ups of the SportAuto image the diameters appear to be the same.
We suspect the front and rears are close in width. This was
rumored to be the case at the Wheels Down Winter Test. Autosport
speculates that the radiators have been positioned well forward and
this would be the case given the heavy diesel engine and the desire to
shift weight forward where you could in order to make the wide fronts
|There's some very interesting legality "gills" as well as a nice long taper to the front wheel pontoon (and is very similar to the latest WR). To the left of the upper yellow arrow is the turbo intake (behind the 't' in 'auto').|
|Some very odd slices and cuts to be seen. Hard to make out exactly what's going on. It would appear that the engine cover is as low as possible and in fact it almost appears that it is stepped just past the engine with no transitional line from the top of the engine to the top of the dampers/gearbox/bellhousing. It would seem as if this is being used as a cooling exit, at least that's my guess. Additionally, it does look as though the rear suspension is shrouded. The LED taillights located in the trailing edge of the wing endplates are a nice touch.|
>>Acura's Tom Blatter verified that there will be no other LMP2 Acuras on the grid this year. Elsewhere we did hear that there had been much bigger plans for this season's Acura LMP2 assualt, but those were reduced as the economy tanked. So the Andretti-Green rumour seems to have indeed just been that as the Acura plans have been in place for some time and weren't recently decided.
|We're a bit late in getting our 2009 update up and out, but better late than never.|
John Judd informs us that
engine capacities will remain unchanged in 2009 for the GV5.5, AIM, and the
>>AERAccording to AER's Mike Lancaster, “We have made a lot of changes to both the P32 and MZR-R engines for 2009.” Work is continuing on the direct injection system for the MZR-R with the next step being making a productionized version and getting it on to the race car. AER has also made a big investment into engine simulation software and spent ’08 working out the kinks. As fruits of their labors, “We have made some big performance steps leading to a wider power band and increases in both torque and power,” indicates
But unfortunately the boat
seems to have been missed for the P32 with looming regulations changes and the
popularity of the rival Judd in
Caton brings us the news that the Epsilon Euskadi
EE-LMP1-07 project has been delayed due to the global economic
situation. Technical Director Sergio Rinland has been
joined by aerodynamicist Henri Durand who will work along side Chief
Aerodynamicist Frank Sanchez. 2009
developments focusing on the regulation changes at the rear of the car
already been wind tunnel tested, and to encouraging results.
Caton tells us, “We’ll most probably not be able to start the Le
Mans Series championship. As a
constructor and a Team we’re focusing our efforts on participating in the
Zytek has a full plate for ’09. Three teams will be running Zyteks in the Le Mans Series, Barazi Epsilon, Gsttad Racing Team (formerly Trading Performance), and ASM. ASM will be getting a new Ginetta Zytek 09S-2. In addition, Strakka Racing announced on 1.19.09 that they would be moving up to LMP1 in a Ginetta Zytek 09S-1. “We should also be making another announcement about a second LMP1 Ginetta Zytek 09S team in a few weeks,” Says Zytek Operations Director John Lancaster. Expect to see the Corsa Racing Zytek 07S Hybrid in the ALMS this year as well. Both the 07S and 09S will be receiving update kits to comply with the 2009 ACO rear wing regulations.
WR will continue to use Zytek engines in the Le Mans Series.
>>We're hearing rumors that Andretti-Green has ordered spares for their P2 car. We don't know what to make of this given this action has occured within the last 2 weeks and well after their decision to race elsewhere for '09. Admittedly this could mean anything so we're not reading much into this for now...
...And about 12 hours later we're hearing from those that should know perhaps a little better...that perhaps this should be downgraded even further. We'll reemphasize that we're not reading much into this...
>>We're a bit behind with this and it is
with some amusement we note the fervor generated by our 12.31.08 news item regarding a potential tie-in
between Ferrari and Peugeot to develop a KERS system. The follow up is
simply that Ferrari are denying the rumors. That's fair enough if that's their official line. But we
take issue with the blogshphere that suggest the concept doesn't even have traction. All one has to do is consider the economic climate. There are financial
considerations that would certainly overrule any loyalty to loosely written
The Legends of Le Mans Film Festival will take place over the weekend of March 7/8 2009 at Eynsham Hall in Oxfordshire.
Organised by the team behind the 2008 Jim Clark Film Festival, the event will feature three hours of archive Le Mans footage, focusing mainly on the period 1955-75.
anniversaries will be celebrated at the event, including 50 years since Aston
Martin’s historic 1-2 finish, 40 years since the JW-Gulf Ford GT40’s 1-3 finish
and 50 years since the Lotus Elite scored the first of six consecutive class
speaker panel session will also take place, featuring personalities closely
The highlight of the Festival will be a gala dinner on the Saturday night, at which all the guest speakers will be present. For more information and to book tickets:
Telephone: 01993 200331
or write to:
Legends Film Festivals
>>Acura Sebring testing part three. These images just came in showing the Acura ARX-02a going through its paces.
intrigues us the most is what appears to be a very high lower A-arm
location (1). This is very indicative of the in-fashion (or out
now, I can't seem to follow) F1 style "zero keel," so
called because the lower pick ups are raised (thus "eliminating"
the keel), with the bottom of the monocoque following, leading to a
large angle of incidence for the A-arms as they "droop" to meet
the upright (get educated on keels). There are some obvious benefits here in regards to front diffuser design. Brake
ducts are apparent here (2). The upper A-arm is encased (as is
the lower) in a fairing and appears offset slightly rearward (3).|
|We're also struck by the extreme taper of the nose. But there's also a taper further up the chassis. Aft of the point where the hip bulkhead would be (arrow) the monocoque bulges back outboard and then heads towards the driver.|
>>Reynard is back! The first Reynard to be produced since 2002 is a 2-seat, road going, sportscar compliant with 750 Motor Club Bike Sports Championship regulations called the Inverter. The 400 kg (dry) car is powered by a Honda Fireblade 998 cc motorcycle engine, but its primary feature is rather impressive aerodynamics, developed using a 50% scale model during downtime at the Auto Research Center wind tunnel in Indianapolis. Using a massive underfloor diffuser and sliding skirts, the Inverter can generate 3460 lbs of downforce at 150 mph. Therefore at 100 mph, the Inverter can theoretically drive upside down as downforce produced at that speed exceeds car weight, hence the car's name. The Inverter is expected to be able to achieve lateral acceleration approaching 4gs when fitted with track tires. The car's designer, Andre Brown, claims the ability to achieve 55% front balance with optimized pitch sensitivity. And while Brown wouldn't release drag or L/D figures, it is reasonable to believe very high L/D efficiency given the car's narrow track and reduced frontal area coupled with its high total downforce.
Production methods for the Inverter were simplified as an additional goal was to keep car costs down. In that theme, at the core is a CNC bent, TIG welded, stainless-steel tube-frame chassis. The chassis is reinforced with aluminum honeycomb panels. Universal uprights are water-jetted from standard thickness aluminum plate. The suspension is similarly simplified in manufacture and non-handed. Power is transmitted to the Qauife differential via a compsite tooth belt, eliminating the typical chain and the resultant need for lubrication. Gear selection is accomplished through a steering wheel mounted paddle shifter; flat-shifting and auto-blip are also featured. Bodywork will be offered in fiber glass or carbon fiber to the customer's preference.
>>We've been informed ahead of time to expect an interesting announcement from the Autosport show tomorrow from a former racing protagonist who hasn't been heard from for a while. While their announcement won't be immediately relevant to LMP racing (we stress immediately because it could be...just depends on what's under the skin), it is interesting nonetheless in its own right. But perhaps more importantly, this announcement might allow pondering of what their future plans are given their past. Good things we hope.