BACK Mulsanne's Corner NEWS
January/February 2010
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All news content copyright Michael J. Fuller, unless otherwise noted is an online shop for performance parts & accessories, including headlights and tail lights

>>Peugeot has been testing at Paul Ricard in preparation for the 2010 season.  It's interesting to note that Peugeot is testing with their Le Mans nose.  Further more, Peugeot's Bruno Famin specifically mentioned that the trailing edge of the front diffuser has been modified (thickened to 30 mm) to comply with revised regulations for this season.  Naturally this would have only referred to the Le Mans nose.  It will be interesting to see if Peugeot runs the "sprint" version this season, I guess we'll see soon enough at Sebring.

At the rear the wire mesh has been replaced with an angled carbon panel, again in compliance with 2010 rules (revised Art 3.4.1 b/).

Acura ARX-01c2.20.10

>>Strakka Racing has been testing at Algarve in Portugal with their new Acura ARX-01c.  According to Nick Wirth, "[the] 01c will be very different to the 01b."  But the full kit for the 01c won't be raced until Le Mans.  For now, the 01c appears as 01b but with a 02a-esque rear wing (1.6 M wide).

>>IMSA's Vice President of Operations, Scot Elkins, has indicated that following the Wheels Down Winter Test a decision will be made regarding rear wing widths for LMP2 cars.  A Technical Bulletin will be issued this coming week following the test.  Recall that the American Le Mans Series made the decision to combine the LMP1 and LMP2 categories for this year and are working on a solution to equate car performance by juggling weight, inlet restrictor diameters, as well as rear wing widths (for the P2 cars).

>>According to Racecar Engineering Magazine, details are emerging about the 2011 follow on Audi LMP (as yet to be named).  Says RCE, the 2011 Audi LMP will be powered by  a, "small capacity" twin-turbo diesel V6 which will be augmented by a hybrid powerplant.  Maximum engine capacity for LMP1 diesels in 2011 will be 3.7 liters, so we'd assume the new Audi diesel would be to the maximum capacity.  Asking around, we hear a confirmation on the turbo diesel V6 part of the Audi equation but not so on the hybrid aspect.  For now at least.
Audi R15, Petit Le Mans 20092.7.10

>>Audi has indicated that the replacement for the R15, the "R15 plus" will be rolled out at the end of February or the beginning of March.  In the mean time we've heard a few whispers about what changes to expect in the R15 plus.  Naturally the front wing will be revised to meet the letter of the regulations, but more substantial changes are expected at the rear of the car.  And while the details of the changes are speculations at the moment, we understand there have been some internal "discussions" in regards to the channel concept.  It is thought that the channel concept caught Audi out at Le Mans last year inasmuch as the ultimate design direction might not have been appropriate for Le Mans (though we're told it certainly would be effective for higher downforce circuits such as seen in the American Le Mans Series).  It is also our understanding that fundamental issues during the concept phase led the Audi design team in the direction they headed with the R15.  That issue has been corrected, but how that will reflect in the modified R15 plus remains to be seen.


>>We're hearing from Japan the unfortunate news that engine designer Hiro Kaneda has passed away.  Hiro's career spans many decades and he was most recently working as a consultant to Judd on the AIM V10.  Mr. Kaneda also had a hand in the Zytek V8 as well as the Panoz 4.0 liter V8 that powered the LMP07 (amongst other projects).  Two decades earlier Hiro worked for Honda and was responsible for their grand-prix winning V10s.  Mr. Kaneda's funeral will be held in Tokyo on the 2nd of February.  He was 60.

John W. Judd passes on these words from his father, a tribute to Mr. Kaneda:

"I have worked with Hiro for a long time, about 25 years in total, so although I know he has gone I still do not believe it.  He has been a friend and a deep source of technical and business support to me for so long that I will feel his loss for many years to come.  Hiro was a true gentleman, the most liked person in EDL, greatly respected for his ability and quiet helpful manner.  To watch him work on a problem, the way he would analyse and understand it more deeply than anyone else we have known, was a joy in itself.  Even today when some new development work on our V8 engine seems to have good potential to improve power and fuel consumption on all our engines, my first thoughts are that I want to share this with Hiro, to enjoy the discussion, and to learn more from him.  He is held in the greatest possible regard and we all have great admiration for his intellect and modest understated manner.  He will be very sorely missed, to say the least."

Updated 1.28.10



>>Lola has released this image of the 2010 Lola B10/60.  Changes are refinements over previous Lola designs in addition to being regulations driven.  The most dramatic change appears to be the heavy outboard radius on the side pod.  In turn the rear brake duct has been lowered and are now almost swallowed by the leading edge of the rear fender.  We can see louvers through the rear fender wheel well and these are driven by regulation changes at the rear of the car (see 2010 regulations analysis below).  It's interesting to note that Lola hasn't gone to the swan neck type rear wing mounts.  The Lola Aston Martin did run said mounts though the revision were developed by Prodrive for Aston Martin (as were the other Aston "tweaks").  One can imagine Lola evaluated the mounts internally but have rejected them for various reasons.  Mechanical upgrades accompany the bodywork revisions and include refinements to the front and rear suspension.


>>Major regulations changes for 2010 primarily affect two areas of the car, the front diffuser area and the rear bodywork.  Starting at the front of the car, for 2010 the ACO has made major revisions to Art 3.5.4.  Art 3.5.4 used to be a very brief entry (two dozen words max) in the regulations and now it is a multi-paragraph regulation (no fewer than 420 words).  Joy.

3.5.4 now governs the front diffuser.  The revised regulation
 defines that the front diffuser must effectively be one piece ("...continuous surface, without openings, slots or cut-outs") and cannot extend past the front wheel centerline.  The regulations also states that the trailing edge thickness must be at least 3% of the chord length or a minimum of 10 mm thick.

For 2010 only, the ACO will allow that the front diffuser be made up of two elements (such as on the R15) as long as they are ahead of the front wheel centerline, have a symmetrical profile with a trailing edge thickness of 3% of the chord dimension or at least 10 mm thick, and that the trailing edge must be perpendicular to the symmetrical profile's centerline.  This 2010 exception would seem to allow the R15 to race but with the need for modifications, primarily to the wing's trailing edges.  

Revisions to Article 3.6.1 parallel those called out under 3.5.4 in that it reiterates that symmetrical wings must have trailing edge thickness either 3% of the chord or 10 mm and that asymmetrical wings must have 30 mm thick trailing edges.

The 2011 front wing/diffuser regulations simply remove the wording that allows two separate elements.
Changes at the rear of the car are covered in Articles 3.4.1 b/ and c/.  Art 3.4.1 b/ mandates that bodywork now must obscure the rear wheels as seen from the rear from at least the rear wheel center line up.  In the past it was permitted to "cover" this area with 10 mm wire mesh thus allowing air to freely exit out behind the rear wheel.  Note this only concerns the area of bodywork directly behind the rear wheels.  The regulations still allows wire mesh to obscure mechanical components from the rear wheel centerline upwards as seen from the rear in the area inboard of the rear wheels.

Article 3.4.1 c/ gets a little more complex.  The revision sets out easily enough by clarifying that any bodywork that is located behind the rear wheel centerline and 200 mm above the reference plane must be, "a smooth, continuous, unbroken surface without cuts..."  This change seemed aimed at the initial iteration of the Audi R15 which had shuttered rear bodywork similar to the car's front design and was ultimately deemed suspect by the ACO and revised before Sebring.  

Audi R15, Sebring 2009Reading further we see that any bodywork that can be seen from the top and the sides must extend down to at least 200 mm above the reference plane.  Breaking down all the "legalese", thchanges made to 3.4.1 c/ now ban undercuts in the rear bodywork as seen in rear elevation.  Basically the outboard rear fender bodywork must now project down to the height of the diffuser (200 mm above the reference plane).  We also understand the revision eliminates horizontal extensions of the top fender bodywork (so called "angle brackets").  These changes would seem to effect the Audi R15 and Oreca 01 (and a few others) of the current breed of cars.  Hence the ACO allowed teams to apply for waivers regarding the rear fenders.  This is a list, published by the ACO last month, of the chassis that were granted waivers:

LMP1 Pescarolo: Waiver for rear fenders.

LMP1 Oreca: Waiver for rear fenders.
LMP1 Lola: Waiver for rear fenders.
LMP1 Lola Coupe: Waiver for rear fenders.
LMP2 Porsche: Waiver for rear fenders.
LMP2 Pescarolo: Waiver for rear fenders.
LMP2 Lola: Waiver for rear fenders.
LMP2 Lola Coupe: Waiver for rear fenders.
LMP2 ARX-01c: Waiver for rear fenders.
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ęCopyright 2010, Michael J. Fuller