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so it will be called the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. By appearances
its practically identical to the car spied testing last December (12.18.2011). The highlights include a new inboard nose panel (1), a new nose crash box (2) that is squarer in upper cross section and longer,
2011 debut style front fenders (3), the elimination of the pushrod
bulge (4), and a blister (5) on the engine cover trailing surface.
Also note the teardrop structure incorporating the windshield
"quattro" comes via the front-wheel-driving hybrid system, giving the
R18 4-wheel drive. Of course the front or rear power engagement
is entirely isolated from the opposite end and never simultaneous due
to the regulations regarding front wheel drive hybrid units.
Having a read through the regulations (need to do our homework
better!) and we've unintentionally misrepresented the regulations for
hybrid systems. Article 9.4 explicitly allows
four wheel drive for hybrids stating, "(four wheel drive is...) Not
permitted unless the car is equipped with a hybrid system." The
only hurdle a front wheel drive system has to deal with is that it can
only be engaged at speeds above speeds of 120 km/h. Naturally
this limits the system's use in low speed corners, exactly where a
4-wheel drive system would be most useful.|
The R18's energy storage device is a
flywheel accumulator type developed by Williams.
PR also publicly acknowledges the rear composite gearbox housing for
the first time. Naturally loyal Mulsanne's Corner viewers are
aware that this detail has been on the R18 since the car's debut last year.
The development of the carbon gearbox housing was clear
premeditation that the ultimate goal of the R18 was hybrid drive
(though also a huge nod to the current wide front tire design trend).
The need to eventually accommodate the additional weight of the
power and storage system is certainly helped out by reductions in
weight in other areas of the car (and at the opposite end of the car
>>OAK Racing has released official images of the Morgan LMP2.
big honking fender holes interpretation is different than what we've
seen so far. The bodywork ahead of the front fender holes has
|At the rear the bodywork has been slightly raised ahead of the fender hole.|
much has been heard about Lola's P1 car though we're anticipating an
announcement or image release soon. In the mean time we're told to
expect that P1 Lola will be on same size front and rears, 360/710-R18s
to be exact.|
an era where the "corporate" LMP builders hide each and every secret as
though they're the only ones capable of innovating (thus everyone else
is after their "stuff," naturally), and then go to ridiculous
lengths to hide their cars (forgetting that the car itself is also a
way to market their design excellence), tripping over their dicks in
the process (Peugeot, LM, 2010--enough said), Dome, the scrappy privateer, has been refreshingly transparent with their most recent blog update, pulling back the curtain just slightly.
has opted to run wide front tires and in fact will be running same size
front and rears. Therefore the front fenders need to be
redesigned to accept the wider tires.|
inboard surface of the front fender intentionally doesn't match up to
the existing pontoon fender trailing edge leaving an additional opening
to vent wheel well air pressure. The mandatory fender holes are
not merely rectangular and have a pointed trailing edge. The
rears follow suit (see below).|
had developed a swan neck rear wing mount in the time between their
official departure from Le Mans back in August of 2010 and their
announcement to return. They had also tested their model with the
mandatory fin, but for 2012 the ACO has raised the minimum height
measure from the reference plane from 920 mm to 1020 mm.
Previously the regulations stated a range between 920 and
1030 mm. For 2012 the range is merely 10 mm: between 1020 and
3.4 liter Judd V8 occupies a space 100 mm shorter than the V10 did and
needs a spacer to take up that difference in length. Note the
S102.5's partial carbon bellhousing. This was on the S102
originally back in 2008 (4.10.08).|
competitor Gulf Racing rolled out their 2012 Nissan powered Lola B12/80
LMP2s yesterday, giving us our first look at the updated car.
Lola has opted for none rectangular front fender holes. In
plan view they come to a point at the trailing edge. Note also
that the car closest to the camera in this image has damaged its outer
front splitter/diffuser has been redesigned and Lola has adopted
outboard "feet" elements similar to the Wirth Research designed ARX cars. That
seems to be a trend, must be a pretty important area...;0) The engine
inlet is no wider than the restrictor and lifted above the roof surface.|
B12/80 LMP2 has wide fronts. Not same size front and rears (the
only car to do that has been the ARX-02a), but the fronts definitely
appear to be proportionally wider than in the past. We now have it on good authority that the P2 Lolas are not running wide front rubber. Something wrong with our eyes? Perhaps... |
single diveplane set compared to the upper image.
is interesting that Lola still has not adopted the swan neck rear wing
mount for their P2. Considering the LMP2 cost containment rules,
perhaps it's simply an issue of aero gain vs cost to design, develop,
and manufacture? Note the small front pontoon fender trailing
edge extension tab. There's also some additional sculpting in
that outboard face leading towards the trailing edge of the pontoon
fender. The front fender leading edge profile is also different,
but isn't a direct copy of last year's Rebellion LMP1 Lola shape.
Thanks to endurance-info and Laurent Mercier for use of the images.
Milk Racing debuted their HPD ARX-03a LMP1 at the Sebring Winter Test
last week and Strakka Racing shook down their -03a at Snetterton
yesterday. With the -03a stepping out we get a better look at the
details of the car.
|The front fenders are very different compared to the rendering (9.10.11) presented back in September. In the September rendering the front fenders were identical to the shape seen on the ARX-01e LMP1. But the -03a's fender is much shorter, further away from the splitter leading edge. |
|Note the upright fender leading edge which encourages airflow around the fender and across the diveplanes.|
|The -03a retains the -01e's outboard vertical turning vane.|
peek at the mechanicals and it is identical to the ARX-01e but for the
addition of the third "damper" (of which the mountings are visible in
the shot of the ARX-01e below).|
|2011 HPD ARX-01e.|
muddies the water and indicates that "very good" sources say the Toyota
TS030 features a Dome designed "chassis." Depending on the
definition of chassis, it's too broad a word for our tastes as it could
define either the entire car or just the monocoque, our sources say
absolutely not as the entire car was designed and manufactured at
Toyota Motorsports Group's Cologne Germany facility and no parts can
even be transferred between the TS030 or S102 (yes, we've asked that
question just to insure it wasn't an issue of semantics). While
we know there was a Dome-Toyota connection, it wasn't something as
basic as utilizing a S102 monocoque (taking that narrower definition of
"chassis" this time). And ultimately it would be far too easy to
verify if indeed the TS030 was on a S102 tub. No, we're confident
that the TS030 sits on a bespoke monocoque manufactured from TMG
machined patterns derived from TMG designed surfaces.
our inquiry to determine where the 2012 reguations had ended up, what
the delay was, we've been informed that the draft from last December
(posted here on December 24) is indeed the final form.
For the moment the regulations are still unavailable from the
ACO's site though the FIA's website has the December draft, now final,
>>Two other stories came out on Thursday regarding the Le Mans and WEC entry lists but we just weren't able to get to them.
first is that Toyota has fully entered the WEC. On Toyota's
initial announcement of their LMP program they said that they would
only enter select WEC events plus Le Mans. But now Toyota has
reversed that decision and will campaign the full WEC championship
(minus Sebring, their decision was too late in the day to make the
March race), "It was originally planned to enter only selected races,
which would have fallen short of the number required to be considered a
full-time entrant. Due to the unexpected changes faced by the WEC
[Peugeot's withdrawal], that plan has been revised."
the FIA had a provision that mandated the ACO provide at least two
manufacturers to compete in the WEC. With Peugeot's
withdrawal the WEC was threatened and the ACO
pulled strings to convince Toyota to contest the entire
season. With the ACO2012 restrictor regulations still
outstanding, and a long standing gas-to-diesel disparity, the cynic
wonders if the ACO will finally correct the gaping hole that is that
disparity as a not so subtle thank you to Toyota. Here's to
second story had to do with the origins of the "Pescarolo 03" chassis
that Pescarolo Team is entering along side the Dome S102.5 at Le Mans.
According to Sports.fr,
Henri Pescarolo says that the Pescarolo 03 LMP1 will be based around
the monocoque from the Aston Martin AMR-One. Pesarolo details
that upon the collapse of the AMR-One program, his group approached
Prodrive and inquired about using the car's monocoque, as well as the
mechanicals (front and rear suspension, gearbox), to base their new LMP
around. Ultimately a deal was reached and two chassis were
purchased (one race car, one spares car). |
Little is known
for the moment, but a Judd 3.4 liter V8 will go in place of the much
maligned Aston Martin 2.0 liter turbo straight-6. Aerodynamics
will be bespoke, there's little point in retainging anything from the
AMR-One, says Mr. Pescarolo, "We keep all that is good (of the AMR-One), you throw
out everything that does not work, essentially the engine and
|2.3.12* updated 2.4.12|
>>Yesterday the ACO released the entry list for both the 2012 World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the singular Dome S102.5 entered
by Henri Pescarolo's organization for the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Dome's return, after their three year absence, is certainly
Though it is a bit puzzling. Recall back in August of 2010 Dome Chief Mr. Minoru Hayashi's pronouncement
that Dome would withdraw from Le Mans competition and that their
post-Le Mans "posthumous work" would begin? In his statement Mr.
Hayashi did leave the door open for Dome by saying, "If an automobile
manufacturer requests us to develop a Le Mans racing car in future,
Dome will be happy to accept their request, and if Dome develops into a
company large enough to pay all the expenses for participation in Le
Mans, Dome may once more take up the challenge." But the final
word seemed to have been, "But that will happen, if it eventuates, in the next generation, and I am sure that I will not be at the scene."
always been a bit puzzled by Mr. Hayashi's statement in that it
was obviously from the heart, but that it was final. Dome was
But the timing was also very intriguing. Behind
the scenes, and unbeknownst to most, around this time same time Toyota
had green-lighted a LMP study program. The reality was that it
was ultimately more than a study given the amount of resources and
personnel dedicated and the only thing missing was an official sign-off
from Toyota Corporate. This eventually occurred and the project
was made public in December of 2011. What rolled out last month
most certainly had been maturing for quite a long time.
did any of this have to do with Dome? Officially, absolutely
nothing. However, unofficially, there were very strong
suggestions that Dome had involvement in Toyota's LMP. It is hard
to deny the obvious visual resemblance. These suggestions
became stronger, and then we had very specific details that, yes,
indeed, there was a Dome-Toyota connection. Inquires along
these lines brought up mentions of Non-Disclosure-Agreements and there
was a distinct desire to avoid any suggestions.
Ultimately it's our supposition that yes, Dome was
initially involved in Toyota's LMP effort. As to the specifics of
that involvement, we will not say and we've also been told that it is,
"...more complicated than that." We don't doubt it and surmise
that it will take time for the actual story to shake out.
Ultimately it's further our supposition that Dome anticipated a
long-term involvement with Toyota and that when that contract wasn't
signed Dome announced they were done (August 2010) out of frustration.
A second theory of ours is that even as the two entities parted ways a non-compete clause governing a set period of time
was signed between the two parties. And the non-compete clause
was related directly to the nature of the exchange between Dome and
Toyota, whatever that was.
But then there were second thoughts,
or, hints of second thoughts, and even perhaps a looming non-compete
expiration. Because even as the S102 languished in the Dome
factory's show room, presumably never to race again, pictures were
released of the car's wind tunnel model with swan necks and, more
importantly, the big honking fin. Dome was certainly making sure
that a car that hadn't raced since 2008 was up-to-date with the latest
And in October of 2011 Mr. Hayashi Tweeted
what sound like a lament that the, as yet still unannounced, Toyota LMP
program wasn't using "domestic" chassis technology.
this past December, the same month that Toyota announced they were
officially returning to Le Mans in 2012, Race Car Engineering
magazine featured an article on the Dome S102 in which Dome's Hiroshi
Yuchi said Le Mans was unfinished business and that, "..if someone came
along with enough money we could go racing."
Direct inquires to
Hiroshi Yuchi brought this similar response, "It depends on the
customer. We still receive inquiries for the S102 and always
discuss the details. Of course, if there is a team who can run
S102 with a reasonable budget, our big boss, Minoru Hayashi, should be
happy to send the car to Europe or USA."
Something had changed...
suspect that Toyota's announcement had rekindled old feelings and
spurred Dome to directly challenge Toyota on the track, if only to
show them what they missed out on. And perhaps the practicality
of the expired non-compete clause made their words official.
Minoru Hayashi's press release states
that Dome will be footing the 2012 program on their own dime but that,
"We don’t have plenty of spare money, either." And Henri
Pescarolo has confirmed that the deal to run the Dome S102.5 at Le Mans
in 2012 will be entirely out of Dome's pocket, "This is a completely Dome project, fully funded by them for a year, turnkey. It does not cost me anything." This is a far cry from
returning when, "Dome develops into a company large enough to pay all
the expenses for participation in Le Mans." And interestingly,
Mr. Hayashi does hint to underlying reasons why the company withdrew,
"Some of you could have got wondering why she (the S102) had not had
any chance to come back to competition. I would disclose the
reason in future, but the main point today is not about it ."
Further more, Hayashi states, "Le Mans 24 Hours is an endurance
race indeed, but what Dome aims is the speed in the qualifying sessions
in which the true performance of the racecars is tested." Dome is
coming to Le Mans in 2012 simply to show everyone how potentially fast
their car is, they have something to prove.
Mr. Pescarolo offers an additional opinion,
"I can tell you everything but they have a very specific reason to show
their potential at Le Mans. I'll let you guess which."
2012 Le Mans program is somewhat late in announcement and Hiroshi Yuchi
certain regulatory details (fender holes) haven't been defined yet.
For now the intent is to race first at Spa, and then Le Mans.
Nothing else has been decided beyond that. The S102.5, as
it will be known, will have a 3.4 liter Judd V8 in place of the
previous 5.5 liter V10. With the shorter, lighter V8 slotting
into the rear of the car we can imagine a positive (forward) weight
distribution benefit. And for now the car appears identical to
the S102 but for rules differences since 2008.
is this a case of a jilted lover? Yes, we really believe so.
Where's the actual proof? For now it's under wraps, and
complicated. More so than we know or indicated here.
But regardless, Dome's return is certain to make Le Mans all the more interesting this year. Welcome back Dome!
through the TS030's details we noticed the outer splitter detail.
This has been an area of heavy concentration on the Wirth
Research developed cars the past number of seasons (1, 2, 3) and is a item of note on the 2012 Oak Racing/Morgan LMP2.
angle. Note the bolts: one can imagine there being alternate
versions for the use of this area as a tuning device as more or less
front downforce is needed.|
|Looking at the area from the rear and we can see the trailing edge of an intergral strake.|
official images are out of the 2012 Toyota TS030 Hybrid LMP1 as it was
unveiled today at Paul Ricard with the usual press to-do.
Skipping over the PR hyperbole and cutting to the chase (i.e.,
Technical Details), highlights include: an all-new 3.4 liter,
normally aspirated, V8 and a super-capacitor hybrid system.
new V8 is a bit of a surprise as our own information only ever said
"3.4L, NA, V8" and nothing was ever elaborated beyond that.
We now understand that the TS030's powerplant is not a derivation
of the engine used by Rebellion this past season. As that engine
was derived from Toyota's Formula Nippon RV8K engine, it can be assumed
that the TS030's will be optimized for installation in an LMP.
TS030's hybrid storage system, developed by Nisshinbo, eschews
batteries. Instead, capacitors are the energy storage medium
and they are located opposite the driver in the cockpit. Toyota
confirmed publicly that the test car is currently set up to power
either the front wheels (system designed by Aisin AW)
or the rear wheels (designed by DENSO) with their hybrid powered motor
systems. Obviously the 3.4 liter V8 powers the rears, but the
technical decision is where to place the motors for the hybrid power.
According to the rules four wheel drive is allowed, but with one
exception: you can't power both front and rears at the same time,
that is, they hybrid system engages when the V8 is disengaged and
vis-versa. But where to place the weight in the chassis becomes
the concern with the hybrid system. And as the rules allow
freedom of where to direct the drive, this is an area where some
thinking will occur before execution. Toyota's current test program will evaluate which is optimal within the regulations and make a decision at a later date.
TS030's gear case is aluminum (as we mentioned on the 18th), unlike the
LMP trend set this past season with Audi (composite subframe/gearbox
carrier and bellhousing) and Peugeot (composite bellhousing). But
the issues with the diesel LMPs is a concern about weight distribution
when coupled with a hybrid power system. Diesel engines are
heavy, and then plop a hybrid system on top of that. Toyota's
TS030 Hybrid has a light, gasoline powered, normally aspirated engine
and clearly weight distribution is less of an issue. Thus, no
need for design-time-heavy composite structures in the rear.
See Race Car Engineering's coverage of the Toyota TS030 launch.
red and white Peugeot? The Peugeot solution is very evident here.
Though we expect large evolutionary changes regarding the car's
design and understand a "R18" solution is in the works as a testing
The vents on the trailinge edge of the doors allows hot air to be drawn out of the cockpit.
the lack of the big honking fender holes (missing at rear too, see
images below). There's been a lot of discussion about this, has
Toyota found some loop hole? And the answer is simply no.
With all of Toyota's testing up until now occurring at Paul
Ricard, and all the testing and racing that occurred there last year,
there's a bevy of lap times to compare the new Toyota against.
Thus there's little point in Toyota running to full 2012 spec
when the times were set by 2011 spec cars. So for now expect the
Toyota test program to continue to run in their current sans-Big
Honking Fender configuration but to quickly switch to 2012
| Here we
can see the legality valance panel that attaches to the side pod
as well as a very small pontoon fender trailing edge extension/gurney. Clearly this is a profitable area (1,2). The vortex shed by that small gurney helps front diffuser extraction.|
|Note the exhausts exits out the top deck. Also note the flow viz and the surface temp stickers.|
|The engine cover trailing edge is very low. The rear diffuser strakes end at the diffuser trailinge edge. For now.|
rear brake duct inlet is located on the leading edge of the rear
fender. Note the high fender outer trailing edge. |
|Article 3.6.3 of the regulations
specifies the minimum area of the endplates (1000 cm²) but also that,
"The part fitted on the rear wing must fit into a rectangle of 765 mm x
300 mm." Thus the split in the design as the section that fits to the
wing will slide through the template and the leading edge extension
that is fixed to the engine cover allows a larger overall endplate.|
Toyota's LMP program Twitter feed (has provided audio of what the car sounds like.
It also has been confirmed by the ACO that Toyota will enter two TS030s at Le Mans this year.
rumors out of Europe have suggested that the ACO2014 regulations were
to be delayed to 2015 because of disagreements amongst the various
parties. We've contacted our usual sources and the resounding
chorus is that no, to the contrary, the FIA and ACO continue to work
diligently to produce the new regulations. And the expectation is
still that the new rules will be out sooner rather than later. As
the months go on one does begin to wonder what "sooner" means (recall
that just a few months ago the anticipation was to see the rules before
the end of 2011)? The ACO and FIA are due to meet again on
>>Yes, we've seen the Toyota images! If you were under a rock today, the images are in the current print issue (n°1840) of Auto Hebdo magazine and have made their way all across the Internet. We're using the image Tweeted by Toyota GB's PR man.
as-yet-unnamed 2012 LMP1 has finally been unveiled, if unofficially. The Toyota is a
closed top coupe and utilizes a 3.4 liter, normally aspirated, V8 for
motive power. And it goes without saying that Toyota Motorsports Group
Cologne derived the shape of their LMP1 with a combination of scale
wind tunnel and CFD.
Technical details are non-existent, but
we're told not to expect an advanced composite rear end such as both
Audi and Peugeot developed for their LMPs. Instead we understand that
the Toyota has a metallic based bellhousing and gearbox. We also
understand that Toyota's hybrid system currently drives both front or
rear wheels and that testing will determine which setup (front or rear--both aren't allowed) the program will go with.
inlet for the V8 is above the driver and blends into the fin as
detailed on the Audi R18. The inlet is also raised slightly to reduce
boundary layer ingestion into the inlet. Radiators are located in the
side pods, either side of the monocoque, and fed via air that flows
over the bodywork between the front fenders and the nose crash
structure. The front airflow solution is divergent to the concepts
used on the Audi (with air blowing through the front suspension) but
similar to the Peugeot 908's. The front brakes are cooled via the NACA
ducts either side of the crash structure (note they're slightly blanked
off). The nose stops short of the top of the splitter and it is
difficult to tell if there's a duct residing there given the cast
shadow. What would the duct feed anyhow, hybrid bits perhaps?
Observation of the
width of the front fenders leads one to believe that the Toyota's front
tires are of the "wide" front variety such as on the Audi, Peugeot, and
The shape of the leading edge of the cockpit is very similar to the Dome S102.
the front splitter/diffuser strakes and how far forward they come (all
the way to the leading edge of the splitter). The strakes are located
at the outer edge of the 50 mm step and we're told that this is a
particularly powerful/profitable section of the diffuser.
Looking at the rear, we see the rear wing endplate leading edge extensions (these were also on the artist's rendering). Article 3.6.3 of the regulations
specifies the minimum area of the endplates (1000 cm²) but also that,
"The part fitted on the rear wing must fit into a rectangle of 765 mm x
300 mm." Thus the split in the design as the section that fits to the
wing will slide through the template and the leading edge extension
that is fixed to the engine cover allows a larger overall endplate. We
can also see the legality valance panel that attaches to the side pod
as well as a very small pontoon fender trailing edge extension. This
must be another profitable area (1,2). The vortex shed by the trailing edge extension helps front diffuser extraction.
|>>Yes, we also saw the news that Peugeot is retiring from LMP racing.|
has released two views of their updated 2012 LMP2. Most of the
changes, 2011 to 2012, are rules driven (Big Honking Fin, Big Honking
Holes, and enlarged rear view mirrors). Oreca states that they've redesigned the front splitter. But we think the rear fender leading edge is also noteworthy.
it appears that the rear end is essentially unchanged (Oreca is still
using conventional rear wing mounts for instance), Oreca has redesigned
the leading edge of the rear fender, extending it dramatically
forward and making it very similar to the Audi R18's treatment of
the same area. The elongation of the rear fender leading edge is
a method to reduce drag, we're told. Given the mandated Big
Honking Holes have dirtied up the cars it's expected that 2012 updates
are focused on efficiency improvements.|
also have an image of the updated Zytek Z011 SN LMP2. The 2012 Z011's
rear wing is mounted notably lower than previously. We also note
the absolutely massive front dive planes. As rendered, these
stick out even forward of the splitter. It also appears the front
crash structure has a different shape to it.|
>>It's a couple of weeks old, but over the holidays Strakka Racing
released an image of their recently delivered ARX-03a monocoque.
The tub is effectively identical to the Oreca manufactured ARX-01
series monocoque, and that's to be expected. We understand the
new Wirth Research designed tub slots straight into the ARX-01g LMP2
and that the suspension pickup points are the same on the -03b as on
the -01g. The -01g then becomes a -03b LMP2 with the addition of the mandatory Big Honking
Fin, the new Big Honking Fender Holes, and new mirrors--the bodywork
from the -01g carries over. The new monocoque also makes use of the -01g's crash box. The -03a LMP1 and -03b LMP2 utilize the same tub.
did notice that for all the similarities, the damper cutout is
completely different between the -03a tub and the -01 series.
Presumably that requires a new damper hatch for the -03bs?
|>>Lord Drayson's Lola B12/69EV all-electric powered LMP was unveiled today. Details at Race Car Engineering.|
|Remember, there's no engine, thus a lack of structure to connect the tub to the rear. The
B12/69 features a rear end structure out of composite that extends from
the monocoque firewall to rear wheel centerline. RCE's Sam
Collins tell us that the batteries are stressed. The car will
feature active aero, but for now the bodywork is box-stock.|
LMP1 sooner than later? We're hearing the first chassis is nearly
complete and that Paul Ricard has been rented out early next week by
TMG. We're thus told the roll out ("roll out" as in the car's
initial shakedown) will be next week some time, not later in the month
as earlier anticipated.
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