BACKMulsanne's Corner NEWS
July/August 2009
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All news content copyright Michael J. Fuller, unless otherwise noted
GRAC MT208.5.09

>>Frequent readers of Mulsanne's Corner might be familiar with Rene Verstappen and his work to restore is GRAC MT20.  It's been a while since we've posted an update from Rene and he sends us an email to report that he and his GRAC MT20 attended a historics event at Le Mans July 5-6 had the privilege of taking the MT20 onto the track, the first time in nearly 25 years.  Rene writes, "The atmosphere was beautiful, all the key people of GRAC were there and a lot of other GRACs turned up, some MT14 and a MT16.  GRAC raced the MT16 at Le Mans in 1972."  Rene also sent us a link to a YouTube video of the car on track from the end of last year.
Reynard Inverter>>Reynard's Andre Brown gets us up to date on Inverter news.  According to Brown, the first chassis has been sold and "We are now well into the manufacture of car two, which Adrian Reynard will own.  This car will have a Hayabusa engine installed."  Brown adds, "We found that with only 180 hp in the Fireblade we did not have enough top speed to unstick the car - just too much grip.  The car is amazing in braking from high speeds, and totally balanced in the high speed corners. With more power, hopefully we can approach the grip limit that the tyres and downforce give us.  In any case, with the lower power we are already seeing 3g on the datalogger!"  Since it's initial debut the Inverter has undergone a slight redesign at the front with the radiators moving from the side pod into the nose,  "We brought the radiator up to the front to improve the quality of the airflow, and in doing so we have brought some weight forward which is good...we have also now closed off the intakes either side of the nose section which has created stagnation and therefore higher pressure on the top surface of our splitter, increasing front downforce further."  Additional images and video can be seen on the Reynard Racing Cars website.

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8.2.09

>>It comes to our attention that the ACO has recently been discussing with the manufacturers modifications to the chassis regulations and that Article 3.6.1 has been specifically cited for clarification.  A proposal is being floated amongst the manufacturers to clarify the symmetrical wing profile segment of 3.6.1 with the ACO proposing that the trailing edge thickness of all aerodynamic elements be defined by a certain dimension.  Currently there is an unwritten rule that states that non-symmetrical wing elements (as in use in the splitters on the Peugeot and Acura for two examples) must have a 30 mm thick trailing edge. From what we're hearing, it sounds as though this trailing edge dimension will become official and that all wing elements (excluding the rear wing of course), both symmetrical and non-symmetrical, will need to accommodate this dimension.  Careful crafting of the rules revision is important here as there are symmetrical wing elements in many uses on a contemporary LMP, so we'll have to wait and see where the line is drawn regarding this revision.

>>IMSA has issued a revision to their '09 LMP2 regulations that will allow current competitors to shed 25 kgs, bringing them back to the ACO minimum of 825 kgs, this in an attempt to eliminate the P1 v P2 performance gap in hopes of improving the show.  IMSA LMP2 competitors had been running to 850 kgs in consideration that IMSA had not adopted the ACO's 2009 rear wing width reduction (2000 mm width to 1600 mm width).  The performance improvement reflected in the weight reduction will be negligible given the restrictor hit P2 cars took for this year (said to be worth upwards of 50 hp) but makes sense in the light of wanting to keep costs down (it's extremely easy to take off 25 kgs of pre-existing ballast).  Currently Porsche RS Spyder and Acura ARX-01a competitors are racing with 2009 LMP2 restrictors which state that 3.4 liter engines with more than 2 valves/cylinder race with a 40.7 mm restrictor compared with a 42.9 mm restrcitor from last year.  This equates to1301 mm^2 vs 1445.5 mm^2, or about 10% less inlet area than in 2008 (and area reductions relate 1:1 to power reductions: 10% less area equals 10% less power).  Mazda is racing with revised '09 restrictors that allow it with a restrictor that, based on area, is 1.27 times larger (45* mm vs 39.9 mm, or 1590.4 mm^2 vs 1250.4 mm^2) than what's on the ACO's '09 books but with boost a 8% boost reduction (2300 mBar vs 2500 mBar).  Naturally changes made to the restrictors mean corresponding changes need to be implemented to the engine management which would add to team's cost burden.  But IMSA has made noises about eliminating the P1 vs. P2 performance gap for next year by stating a desire for a move to "one prototype class".  Let's hope that this is just a precursor to changes being put in place for next year.  It would be ideal if IMSA moved to reintroduce the 2008 LMP2 weight and restrictor regulations given the very competitive season enjoyed last year.

*Correction, the Mazda MZR-R engine is actually running a 45.6 mm restrictor, the .6 mm addition because they are running mandatory air conditioning on the closed top Lola LMP.  In 2008 the MZR-R also used a 45.6 mm restrictor but with 2700 mBar of boost.
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7.2.09

>>Yesterday we received an email that indicated the ACO held a meeting of their technical delegation.   And while not wanting to read too much into that, especially barring any official PR from the ACO itself, in today's in box is a press release issued by Peugeot stating that they are withdrawing their appeal of their denied protest of technical details on the Audi R15.  Though we'll go ahead and wonder aloud if the two are related (the ACO meeting and Peugeot's announcement).  Here, according to Peugeot (again, no confirmation out of the ACO just yet) the press release reads as follows:

"The ACO has announced its intention  to develop its communication with all the manufacturers involved  in the Le Mans Series, the Le Mans 24 Hours, and the Asian Le Mans Series.  

This communication will ensure transparency between all the discipline's players, which is key to guaranteeing the spirit of endurance racing.

As a consequence, Peugeot Sport has decided to withdraw its appeal with immediate effect."
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ęCopyright 2009, Michael J. Fuller