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July/August 2010
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2011 Lola LMP2 coupe7.28.10

>>Lola released renderings of their LMP2 coupe, the B11/80 "Long Wheel Base Coupe", today scuppering rumors that the coupe would be too expensive for the price capped 2011 LMP2 category.  More details here.
2011 Lola LMP2 coupeIn the mean time, Gordon Kirby has a very interesting write up regarding the future direction of the American Le Mans Series.  It's rather enlightening to think that perhaps the ACO is starting to twig that indeed privateers are important to the sport?  Catering to the manufacturers perpetuates the boom and bust cycle.  The sustainability (there's that over used word) of the concept is lacking and cracks appear every time a manufacturer walks out.  And when the sanctioning body insists on money draining rules changes every 12 months it's clear they don't get it.  The 2009 narrow rear wing was classic; at the height of the recession the ACO insists on what amounts to a $75,000+ dollar regulations compliance kit for around a 25% reduction in downforce (our still in progress CFD study showed an initial 35% reduction but in 3 runs we've clawed back 13% only working on the rear wing--hopefully we'll be able to show the full results soon).  A similar speed reduction could have been had by knocking 100 hp through reductions in inlet restrictor diameters.  Suffice to say, the ACO has a history of making choices for the good of their one race.   Will they make the correct decision regarding the future of LMP regulations?  I guess we're still waiting to see...

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7.27.10

>>Another week has gone by and yet we still have nothing from the ACO regarding the 2011 regulations.  We've inquired, but no one seems to know what the hold up is.  In the mean time, here is the full text to the Version 4 draft regulations.
>>In the mean time we've sent a back and forth via email to Delta Motorsport's Nick Carpenter.  Delta had been tasked by the ACO/FIA with coming up with a solution to further reduce sudden high-speed yaw induced blow overs.  The result was the rather large vertical centerline fin that the cars will have to have starting from 2011.

Mulsanne's Corner:  We're curious about the origins of the vertical fin concept.  We also undertand that Porsche approached the FIA with this solution about 18 months ago?  Is this correct?  Could you lay out a time line of Delta Motorsports involvement?

Nick Carpenter, Delta Motorsport:  Timing broadly as follows:

July 2008 : First meeting of the Sportscar Technical Working Group to discuss the high-yaw issue. At this meeting it was decided that the constructors should (a) consider possible solutions, and (b) get together to see if they could agree on a common approach to analysing the problem, and also that we would put in a proposal to the FIA for an independent study.

September 2008: Second meeting of the TWG. The constructors had begun to investigate the problem (and it may even have been this early that Porsche first proposed the fin, but I don’t think it was till a bit later), but it became clear that they weren’t going to share enough (VERY sensitive) data between them to allow comparisons of the various different cars and particularly to compare their different methodologies (from CFD to full-scale testing in a tunnel with a moving floor).

Early in October: we were asked by the FIA to carry out a CFD and multi-body analysis of the characteristics of the cars while spinning at high speed, and we delivered this in early January. Epsilon and KWMotorsport very kindly shared their CAD data with us (or specifically with Totalsim) to allow a full aero map of the two cars (one open, one closed) at a wide range of roll, yaw and pitch angles, and these results were fed into the multi-body sim to ensure that the numerical model behaved in the same way as the real cars, which it seemed to do.

Mid-Jan 2009: Further TWG group meeting to discuss the results of the study and to see whether there were any ideas that could be implemented in time for the start of the 2009 season. The curved plank was discussed as a comparatively minor change that might help at low risk of making the problem work (the law of unintended consequences was always in our minds but as a group, everyone felt we should try to implement something if at all possible). We fed the results back to the FIA at the start of February and it was decided that the plank change was “doable” in time for the Sebring race.

We then embarked on a program of analysis of a wide range of devices (including the fin) in May ’09 after further discussions about which devices tested by the constructors showed promise (and we came up with a few of our own too!). As usual, some of the devices worked on the open car and some on the closed car but the consistency of their effect was unpredictable. We shared these initial results with the group and iterated the various shapes, then carrying out further testing.

With the to-ing and fro-ing to constructors, as well as giving the constructors time to test alternatives and validate our results, we submitted our final proposals in mid-September (2009).

We then attended an ACO meeting in Paris at the start of October to allow discussion of the results that had been circulated in our report. The constructors gradually fed back their thoughts, concerns, comments etc between this meeting and the end of 2009, and we held another TWG meeting towards the end of January this year, at which it was decided that the fin should be put before the next FIA World Council meeting.

Throughout the program we were all very aware of the need to do something as fast as possible, but this was always tempered by the knowledge that we shouldn’t rush into anything with a device that might make the problem worse or introduce a different one.

 
Mulsanne's Corner: What were the parameters the FIA/ACO set in place for the solution?  Presumably they outlined parameters and said, "how ever you get there"?

Nick Carpenter, Delta Motorsport:  The parameters were pretty broad really. Having made the mods to the underfloor shape in 2002/3, we were left with working on the upper body (because a wholesale re-think of what a Sportscar should be was deemed unfeasible). The constructors came up with ideas (including the fin from Porsche), we came up with some, and we tested – and iterated – them all until we found a device that made a significant reduction to the problem.

Mulsanne's Corner:  What you can tell us about the methodology Delta Motorsport used to come to the conclusion that vertical fins will eliminate the possibility of LMPs taking off in sudden high speed yaw situations?  Were any other solutions considered? 

Nick Carpenter, Delta Motorsport:  There are two main areas of concern.  Lift (a vertical force that physically lifts the whole car up) and overturning moment (“OM”). OM is a moment that will tend to roll a car backwards, against the direction of travel, and is made up of contributions from lift and drag, both resolved around the rearmost contact patch (the leeward wheels when sliding sideways). The early simulations (as well as videos of the accidents in 2008) showed that OM was the main culprit.

We looked at many devices such as louvres, cut-outs in the inner when arches, longitudinal strakes, changes to sidepod geometry, RWEP geometry changes and many different sizes and shapes of fin. Quite a few showed promising results on one car but not the other, and we were obviously looking for something that could be applied to both open and closed cars in a consistent and fair fashion.

I don’t think anyone would assert that we’ve “eliminated the possibility of LMPs taking off” – there are just too many variables to give that unequivocal an answer. As you no doubt saw from Mark Webber’s recent accident, motorsport is a dangerous pastime, but what we’ve tried to do with the fin is (a) minimise the chances of getting into a potentially dangerous attitude, and (b) reduce the risk of take off if a driver does find himself there.

 
Mulsanne's Corner:  How does the fin effect airflow to the rear wing in normal yaw (cornering) situations?  We understand the fin generates an overturning moment of its own though presumably its ability to eliminate the lift generated by the leading side rear fender makes this easily overlooked?  Is there any situation where the fin's overturning moment would be cause for concern?

Nick Carpenter, Delta Motorsport:  One of the constructors shared the results of their low-yaw work with the Technical Working Group (in broad terms at least), and this showed no adverse effects.  All the fins tested showed some degree of improvement, with the bigger fins producing the largest benefit. The tests we ran didn’t show any vehicle attitudes where the fin had an adverse effect.

 
Mulsanne's Corner:  What was Delta's role with Totalsim and Intec Dynamics handling the CFD and simulations?

Nick Carpenter, Delta Motorsport:  Delta ran the program, sub-contracting the CFD and multi-body elements of the work. The FIA needed a “one stop shop” for the whole program, which is what we offered. We defined the programs of work, carried out the CAD design work, coordinated all the CFD and multi-body work, interpreted the results and wrote/presented the reports.

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2011 Lola LMP27.20.10

>>Lola released a couple of CAD renderings of their 2011 LMP2, called the B11/40.  Yup, looks like this year's (but open top) LMP2 but with a big honking ACO 2011 fin...nnnniiiiiiccee.

Marshall Pruett is saying that Lola has abandoned the coupe for LMP2 given it's cost of manufacture and the new for 2011 chassis price cap.  This aligns with what we've heard, that at the moment the only chassis that currently will meet the 2011 price cap in LMP2 is the Norma.  And barely so at that apparently.

Full press release from Lola.
2011 Lola LMP2

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7.19.10

>>Over a month after the 24 Hours of Le Mans and we are still lacking definitive regulations for 2011.  The Technical Working Group (TWG) meetings are held quarterly in order to discuss amongst the manufacturers and suppliers the direction of future regulations.  The last TWG meeting was held June 30th.  In the mean time, while we wait, this came our way.  The minutes of the last Technical Working Group meeting.  There seems to be precious little discussed regarding 2011 which leads one to believe that the Version 4 regulations will ultimately be released little changed.

One does wonder why the Renault F1 Team was one of the participants...

Discuss...


MINUTES OF THE LMP CONSTRUCTORS MEETING JUNE, 30th 2010

Participants:

Julian SOLE (Lola) / DUNLOP MOTORSPORT EU / Jean Felix BAZELIN (Dunlop) / Martin MUEHLMEIER (Audi) / Axel LOEFFLER (Audi) / Norbert SANTOS (Norma) / Guillem ROUX (Norma) / Alwin SPRINGER (Porsche) / Juergen KLAUKE (Porsche) / Adam CARTER (Wirth Research) / Christophe CHAPELAIN (NISMO?) / David FLOURY (Oreca) / Mike BLANCHET (Formula Le Mans) / Stan HALL (Judd) / Roger GRIFFITHS (HPD) / Aoki NORIO (Toyota) / Mark ELLIS (AER) / George Howard CHAPPELL (AMR) / Jason HILL (AMR) / Bruno FAMIN (Peugeot) / Tim HOLLOWAY (Zytek) / Ian LOVETTE (Zytek) / RENAULT F1 TEAM / François SICARD (OAK Racing) / Serge GRISIN (Michelin)/ PESCAROLO SPORT / Scot E. ELKINS (ALMS).

Vincent BEAUMESNIL / Daniel PERDRIX / Denis CHEVRIER / Thierry BOUVET / Aurore LARDON.

Improvement of energy efficiency:


Is intended to be the base of future regulations (for at least 3 years)
The energy counted is the one externally supplied to the car.

• Weight of the car: only one minimum weight. This weight can be obtained with a car using a gasoline engine and without energy recovery system. Minimum weight proposed: 775 kg.  General agreement for 775kg.
Could be reduced in relationship with evolutions of technologies.

• Power: limited by a maximum instantaneous amount of energy that can be used. The control will be made with a mandatory common box that will drive the injectors.
Precision and application of such equipment raised as being very challenging.  

Other proposal: control could be achieved by allocation of fuel quantity. Such quantity for race refueling being  directly linked to the amount of laps done and policed by ACO.  

For electrical energy, instead of allocation, the control of the used energy seems presently the only possibility. It  must be policed by ACO.  They could lead to a particular category: experimental

Still need to find a solution for qualifying conditions.

• Type of engine: All types of engine apart from turbines, reactors and engines using Stirling cycle.
Confirmed

• Energies valid: these the potential energy of which can be clearly defined and usable. These fuels will be supplied always by the ACO to ensure the calorific power. Safety for the use of these energies should be guaranteed and necessary approvals should be obtained (hydrogen, gas, etc.). Regarding electric energy, it will be necessary also to quantify and control the potential energy.  As a base: the maximum allocation would be equivalent to the energy of 1500 liters of petrol for 24H in Le Mans.  

Present intention would be to decrease the quantity by 2% per year.  

GPL or other particular gas or substances would be subject to the approval from administrations of the countries.  They could also lead to the particular category: experimental

• Energy Recovery Systems: The number and the use are free. Possibility for using the 4 wheels to recover and release the energy, but the propulsion of the front wheels must be done only with the energy recovery systems.  The driving aids are permitted. The amount of energy recovered, stored and used is free. Safety rules should be  defined for each new system.  
Confirmed / Safety will be treated as a crucial point.

• Efficiency of energy recovery systems: The System should be efficient enough to allow at least equal performance with a car without hybrid system.
Confirmed

• Transmission: free, but the combustion engine must only be connected to the rear wheels. Other proposal: Conventional engine should not be connected to the front wheels


Maintaining the level of performance over 3'30''on a lap at Le Mans:


Possibility to reduce the performance by:

• Changing the amount of energy allocated, Agreed as being efficient

• Modifying the aerodynamic of the cars. These modifications should not increase the drag in order to maintain a good efficiency.

Considering the orientation of the regulation (reduction of global energy), the trend will automatically go towards
this direction (ratio Load/Drag).

ACO could reinforce some aspects of regulations (bodywork at the front …)

• Reducing the size of the tires and increasing their lifetime.  To be reevaluated after 2011 with a target which could reduce the size.  In such objective, Tires manufactures emphasize the need to have from competitors some figures of reduction of down force to calibrate their researches.

Increase of lifetime is a lot more supported (cost, image and potential reduction of performance).

Agreement of tires manufacturers to produce tires with internal chip to allow automatic knowledge of the tyre used (operating at the exit of the pit lane).


Maintain open and closed cars :


Considering the orientation of the regulation (reduction of global energy), the trend will automatically go towards closed cars.

ACO could reinforce some aspects of regulations to make it mandatory.

Cockpit temperature could be decreased for safety reasons.


LMP2 2014

Improvement of energy efficiency:

• Weight of the car: 850 kg
More interest in maintaining 900 kg.

• Power: limited by a maximum instantaneous amount of energy that can be used.  The control will be made with a mandatory common box that will drive the injectors.  The amount of energy will be defined according to the engine capacity. Precision and application of such equipment raised as being very challenging.  Other proposal: control could be achieved by allocation of fuel quantity. Such quantity for race refueling being directly linked to the amount of laps done and policed by ACO.

• Type of engine: production petrol engine.
Confirmed
Stability of regulations mentioned, and taken in account, as efficient to achieve cost reduction.

• Energy valid: one fuel only supplied by the organizer.
Confirmed

• Energy Recovery Systems: Forbidden.
Confirmed

• Transmission: on the rear wheels only, 6 gears maximum.
Confirmed


Level of Performance:

• Possibility to reduce the performance by changing the amount of energy allocated, Agreed as being efficient


Cost reduction:

• Engine operation: minimum 50 hours between 2 rebuilds (from 2013 included)
Confirmed

Proposed approach: 1 engine for complete LMS season (5 events) + 1 engine for Le Mans 24Hours.
Intended to apply specific bonus points for reliable engines.

• Limiting the number and type of tires.  Agreement of tires manufacturers to produce tires with internal chip to allow automatic knowledge of the tyre
used (operating at the exit of the pit lane).  Tests are on schedule by both manufacturers for LMGT2 cars at Silverstone event.  General agreement to introduce next year a restriction of number of tyres per car and per race.

Quantities to be given in October meeting.


Maintain open and closed cars:


No intention of changes.

ACO could reinforce some aspects of regulations to make open cars mandatory for new models


LMP1 and LMP2 : Limitation of testing :


Idea from ACO to force competitors to participate to the series instead of doing ‘some pickings’.  Many aspects make this limitation difficult to introduce (different countries (USA-Europe), different competitors, interest of test for financial aspect for some gentlemen drivers, cost of parts more important than circuit rent, number of red flags…).

The only proper way to achieve a rule could be from control of tyre usage. Tyres manufacturer should be
involved.

ACO expects some proposals to be done for next October meeting.


Others: 2011

Le Mans test day:

Must be mandatory for new teams, new cars and new drivers.

Must be mandatory for at least one car per brand.

Additional entry will be granted by the ACO in accordance with criteria of quality, history, …

Extension to 2 days has been discussed but not possible

Relationship Diesel/Petrol for next year:

Present situation taken into account by ACO with intention to introduce a sporting rule to limit difference of performance during a complete season (2% ?)

Engine oil recirculation:

ACO wait for some results of studies from competitors for next October meeting.

Engine air restrictors:

Should be communicated shortly

LMP2 prices:

ACO agrees to mandate 345.000€ as proper base for a complete car without engine

Article 5.5.3

Considered by some competitors as not being under proper control by ACO.

ACO takes into account with intention to reinforce this subject.

Hybrids:

The definition of possible recovery conditions will be defined shortly (level of lateral acceleration…)

Safety for future:

FIA studies for side intrusion resistance could be integrated in the future

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7.8.10

Peugeot 908, Le Mans 2010>>Peugeot issued a press release this past Monday that clarified the reasons for the engine failures in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans.  In the mean time we're still on vacation so here's the text of the press release in its entirety:

TECHNICAL REPORT, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FUTURE AFTER THE 2010 LE MANS 24 HOURS

Three weeks after the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours, and after inspecting the cars that contested this year's event, Peugeot Sport looks back at the problems that affected the 908 HDi FAPs in the French race and provides details of its plans for its Intercontinental Le Mans Cup programme during the second half of the season.  Looking back to the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours Bruno Famin (Technical Director, Peugeot Sport): "To begin with, with regard to the N°3 908 HDi FAP which retired 2½ hours into the race, we have found a quality-related problem concerning the production of the tub at the point where the lower front-right suspension wishbone is attached to the chassis. This is the same tub that won the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours and the 2010 1,000km de Spa-Francorchamps, and – like every 908 chassis – is regularly inspected at the factory using sophisticated tools that enable us to detect ageing or damage to the carbon. The problem in this case, however, was due to a totally undetectable defect which resulted in a premature and sudden failure of the mounting point.  "As far as the engines are concerned, it didn't take us long to confirm that all three engines suffered the same problem, i.e. conrod failure, although the cylinders that were affected were different. Further investigation has just revealed that the particularly severe conditions encountered at Le Mans in June led to excessive overload of the V12s in question.  "Indeed, the track benefited from high levels of grip this year, so the engines spent longer at full throttle than we expected. At the same time, the weather stayed cool and, unlike previous years, the air/air intercoolers did not become clogged up. The filling of the combustion chambers remained extremely efficient throughout, which in turn meant that the performance delivered by the engines was particularly high. Okay, the conditions were the same for all competitors, but we were running new conrods this year. That said, they had undergone thorough testing on the bench and during the numerous on-track simulations we carried out upstream of the race.

"We didn't observe the slightest problem with them during any of these test sessions, so there was nothing to suggest that we were closer to the limit than we had imagined. As it turned out, the race conditions tipped us to the wrong side of that limit. Having contested the Le Mans 24 Hours three times, we had every faith in our processes. The evidence now points to the fact that this wasn't the case and that despite our growing experience, it is very difficult to master absolutely everything. The conditions we face at Le Mans differ every year, as do the constraints to which the cars are subjected.  It is clear that we need to reinforce our validation procedures."

The second half of the season: the 2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup

Peugeot Sport's programme for the second part of the season will focus on the team's participation in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Either one or two cars will take part in the three races that make up this series and Peugeot Sport's Director Olivier Quesnel has divided up the 'drives' amongst Team Peugeot Total's nine drivers as equally as possible:

1,000km of Silverstone (September 10-12): one 908 HDi FAP

In addition to the 908 HDi FAP entered by Team Oreca-Matmut, a factory Peugeot will contest the race with:  Anthony DAVIDSON (GBR) / Nicolas MINASSIAN (FRA).

Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta (September 29-October 2): two 908 HDi FAPs, Anthony DAVIDSON (GBR) / Marc GENE (ESP) / Alex WURZ (AUT)
Pedro LAMY (POR) / Franck MONTAGNY (FRA) / Stéphane SARRAZIN (FRA)

Zhuhai 1,000km (November 5-7): two 908 HDi FAPs, Franck MONTAGNY (FRA) / Stéphane SARRAZIN (FRA)
Sébastien BOURDAIS (FRA) / Simon PAGENAUD (FRA)

Looking ahead to 2011

Last but not least, during a lunchtime team debrief after the Le Mans 24 Hours, Olivier Quesnel, explained how pleased he was with the professionalism of Team Peugeot Total's nine drivers, both during the long build-up to the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as during the race itself. His will is to renew his confidence in the same line-up for the 2011 endurance racing season.

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