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|>>Sebring 2012 coverage<<|
in fenders, nose covering panel, pontoon fender trailing edge, wing,
and endplates, Audi R18 e-tron quattro (left) vs. Audi R18 ultra
>>Dome's Hiroshi Yucchi has indicated that Team Pescarolo will have access to a spare monocoque for their Dome S102.5.
few details have been released on the Pescarolo 03, we have been told
that the new car will, along with utilizing the AMR-One monocoque, also
is using the Aston Martin's nose box crash structure, this being one
less thing to design and validate. Of course now we understand
the Spa entry for the Pecarolo 03 is unlikely though there are
expectations the car will be on display.
the DeltaWing stayed on after the 12 Hour and finally put in some
testing miles. Prior to that they only had about 100 miles worth
of shakedown on the chassis. But at the moment the DeltaWing
group is on full lock down with nary a word about how the test went,
how fast the car is, etc. Yes, I've been told a thing here or
there, and frankly, the times discussed certainly sound
promising. But without anything to put forth as verified it means
we'll have to supplant fact with opinion for now. And for those
that know Mulsanne's Corner, rarely do I stray into this territory as
too often you'll get caught up in all the PR hyperbole and start
sounding like a real shill. So as an exercise, I'll play devil's
advocate, though working within the facts as available.
start with those first. In brief, the problem that the DeltaWing
is designed to address is, with ever diminishing fossil fuel resources,
how can we continue to race at reasonable racing speeds if we
substantially reduce engine power in recognition of those diminishing
resources? The DeltaWing runs a measly 1.6 liter, 4-cylinder,
turbo outputting only 300 hp.
So in order to achieve competitive
lap times with only 300 hp two things needed to occur. First off,
to have a comparable power to weight ratio the DeltaWing needs to weigh
substantially less, about half as much, than a contemporary LMP1.
And with that in mind, DeltaWing comes in at 475 kgs. Bowlby has
achieved this extreme weight reduction at very low cost; DeltaWing
weighs around F1 levels but for what must be a very modest
budget. All of this via chassis architecture, not through uses of
And it has a very unusual chassis architecture to
say the least. Think of the DeltaWing as a 3 wheeler, getting rid
of the 4th wheel immediately removes weight out of the budget (one less
upright, suspension, etc.). Yes, DW does have 4 tires, but the
fronts are a mere 4” wide each given the vastly reduced front tire
loading. Thus the two tiny fronts weigh about as much as a single
conventional tire. This also means the uprights are much smaller,
brakes, suspension, everything is reduced in size at the front given
the reduced loadings as the DeltaWing's chassis layout places 70%
of the car's weight distribution on the rear wheel center line.
narrow front track (about 24” wide) also plays into the weight
reduction. Without the need to space 4 wheels out in conventional
locations, suspension lengths are reduced, but more importantly, the
structural requirements are lessened as there is minimal lateral weight
transfer at the front (it all occurs in the rear) and no need for
massive torsional rigidity. The need to take large torsional
loads into account means more structure. And if you can do the
opposite of that, less structure equals less weight.
part of making DeltaWing work is a huge reduction in aerodynamic
drag. This is achieved through a reduction in frontal area, but
also through the elimination of any wings. The narrow front track
plays a part as well by allowing a particularly efficient underbody
intake, assuming good management of the front wheel wakes, as all of
the car's downforce is generated from the underfloor design. The
end results being roughly 500 lbs of drag for 2500 lbs of downforce at
in all it is very clever engineering. But, if you believe
everything you read about the DeltaWing: it slices, dices, it is the
solution to world hunger, in addition to gobbling up pollution as it
goes around the track. The DeltaWing is a new design methodology
for the car, so sure, calling it innovative can be construed as a true
statement. But we have to be careful about skinning the cat using an
alternative method and then calling it an eagle.
the reason I say that is that for all its Rubegoldbergian solution,
DeltaWing's ultimate conclusion is simply better gas mileage. And
then the question has to be asked, if a current LMP1 gets 5 mpg, so
what if DeltaWing gets 10 mpg? The current CAFE standard is 27.3
mpg. This goes to 54.5 mpg in 2025. How is 10 mpg
“relevant” to 27.3, much less 54.5 mpg? It isn't.
Now there is some argument to be made that the quickest
way to achieve the higher CAFE standards will be lighter cars (not
necessarily hybrids), the American sedan has certainly become
unnecessarily bloated and gas mileage has subsequently tanked.
The DW does execute a clever solution to achieve a lighter
weight. But can anyone really see a 5 passenger sedan using the
same layout as DeltaWing?
But let's face it, light weight
composites have been around for approaching 50 years. And while
they've been embraced and developed by the aerospace and motorsports
industries, the road car industry has been loath to implement them on a
mass scale. The accounts have cried, “Too expensive!”
why we really need to be careful about talking about technology
transfer. As one motorsports engineer put it to me, “The Delta
wing has no new or unique technology that is transferable to production
cars. So it is a dead end in car design.” The reality is
that a majority of the design and manufacturing work that goes into
creating a LMP car is done by private outfits with no ties whatsoever
to manufacturers other than the contract to design and build the LMP
car (think Dallara, Wirth Research, Lola, OAK Racing, etc.).
Sure, there are a few exceptions, but frankly the transfer is often one
way and the opposite of what you think! Regardless, remember,
it's win on Sunday sell on Monday. No engineer ever said those
words. However, down the hall in sales and marketing...
the conversation has shifted; I have no doubts that DeltaWing
works. But we now have to think hard; what do we do with
it? Looking past the ugly desire to immediately monetize the concept without thinking about the implications,
DeltaWing's greatest impact might simply be the stimulation of thinking
about the future of the car, sportscar racing, and motorsports in
general. But perhaps the starting point is, does motorsport
have to really have to be relevant?
>>Toyota announced today they were scratching their Spa entry because of crash damage suffered in testing
at Paul Ricard stating, "Regrettably this damage is too severe to
repair. A replacement monocoque cannot be produced and
sufficiently tested to ensure reliability within the limited time
available." This comes as a bit of a surprise, especially the
admission that the program has been sustained to date on a singular
It would seem to make little sense not
manufacturing a spare monocoque considering the bulk of the R&D and
tooling costs assigned to the monocoque had already been expended as
the costs associated in material and labor hours for laying up the
monocoque is, while hardly inconsequential, certainly much less than
the R&D and tooling costs. Yes, budgetary constraints are
budgetary constraints. But why risk valuable testing mileage by
not either circulating a second car (whether or not you want to enter
two) or having a testing accident that brings the program to a halt.
there have been some suggestions that Toyota might be using the crash
as cover to redesign the monocoque prior to Le Mans in order to either
incorporate performance upgrades or perhaps that they uncovered a
problem as a result of the crash. While we can't address the
latter (we doubt it considering the rigors the monocoques are designed
to withstand and the subsequent put-up-or-shut-up crash test), we'd
like to rubbish the former. While we understand a
decision has been made and Toyota will be going with the rear hybrid
unit (eliminating the need for the forward pickups and what-not
designed into the front of the test car's monocoque), the reality is
that the program needs testing and racing miles. To arrive at Le
Mans with an un-raced car because you were grasping at a minor
performance upgrade (in the grand scheme) would effectively be a
disaster or a very public admission they don't know what the hell
But ultimately we have to take Toyota's admission as the truth in this case as they've been too persistent
about their situation . Yes, we acknowledge that Toyota did
ratchet up their program in response to the ACO's last minute request
they fill the WEC hole left by Peugeot's sudden withdrawal. But
for a full works effort to get hamstrung by what is ultimately
a problem that was totally within their powers to have planned for...it's very hard to fathom.
finally sat down and worked out the numbers for the Toyota TS030.
It would appear to be on an ~3000 mm wheelbase with a 900 mm
front overhang and ~750 mm rear overhang.
never did calculate satisfactory numbers for the R18, the photos we had
just didn't produce reliable numbers. Last year our best guess
had the R18 on a 3000 + mm (3016 mm approximately) WB with ~940 mm
front overhang and 720ish mm rear overhang. With the release of
the Sebring liveries we took the time to drag the images into DraftSight
and have a look at what those numbers told us. And we have reason
to believe these numbers are much more accurate. Thus the Audi
R18 would appear to have a 2950 mm WB, 950 mm front overhang, and a 750
mm rear overhang (for the maximum legal 4650 mm overall length).
Note the 1261 mm dimension to approximate driver head location.
While subjectively placed, the R18 would appear to have a
fore/aft driver position as measured from the front wheel CL little
different than the TS030 (given the subjective placement the 13 mm
difference can easily be explained away as the margin of error).|
follow up to Pescarolo Racing's Dome S102.5 test at the beginning of
the month with Dome's Hiroshi Yuchi confirms a lot we already knew.
Effectively the car ran as a "S102.25" as the only change was the
installation of the Judd 3.4 liter V8 and the addition of the 2012
mandated Big Honking Fin. Thus the car was on "little" front
tires. But valuable information was gathered regardless, "We
collected some aero data as it is also the straight line test. In
addition, Pescarolo uses this airport for their car. So we also
got some comparison data. This is quite important for us, to get a
comparison to the Pescarolo, as we have not competed at Le Mans in
three years." For next month's test Pescarolo will have the new
front bodywork. Will we see any new developments on the car other
than rules compliance and related updates? "Of course," says
Yuchi, "We are working very hard on the development. However,
don't forget that this car has been sleeping in the reception area of
our factory for the last three years, though we are working on the
development continuously." Pescarolo will test at the Circuito de
Navarra April 3-4 and Ciudad del Motor de Aragˇn on April 10.
>>Just pulled down off of Dome Chief Mr. Minoru Hayashi's Twitter feed, a shot of the front end of the S102.5 coming together and one that shows their Big Honking fender Holes.
Audi has been loath to release any times from their Post-Sebring test,
we've been sent a note that indicates the Audi R18 etron is fast, with
one credible witness clocking the car fully 2 seconds quicker than the 2012 Sebring pole time and into the low 1:43s (1:43.2 to be precise). Look out Toyota...
World was on site for Audi's traditional post-Sebring test and were
good enough to send these images along for out perusal. With four
R18s circulating Audi ran through numerous bodywork specifications,
giving us a good look at the 2012 bits.
We noted a revised
engine intake (1), relocated rear brake intake (2), a new leading edge
trim on the rear wing endplate (3), revised nose panel (4), front big
honking hole (5), and rear big honking hole (6).
Check out Quattro World's post-Sebring 12 Hour test coverage.
we can see the leading edge trim on the rear wing endplate (1).
What's more interesting is that the trailing edge of Audi's rear
big honking hole solution is raised (2). When you view the car
from head on it becomes apparent why. In effect the raised
trailing edge allows air to be scooped up and expelled directly into
the car's base area, reducing drag. We can also imagine that the
outboard fender gurney (3) further helps enhances that interaction,
drawing more air through the rear of the big honking hole and out the
rear of the car and generating a bit of downforce at the same time.|
The lower quarter panel is recessed slightly too (4). And there's a new exit duct in the engine cover (5).
from the front the view through the rear big honking hole is very
evident. Audi has also adopted a serrated gurney on the outboard
portion of the rear wing (1). The theory states that a serrated
gurney functions as one twice the height without the additional drag. |
|>>The "standard" nose panel as on the Audi R18 etron at roll out.|
|>>Revised nose panel.|
|>>The bodywork ahead of Audi's front big honking hole is lowered, as on the OAK.|
|>>The front pontoon fender trailing edge extension is smaller.|
|>>Note the inboard strake (1) that flanks the big honking hole.|
|>>The engine inlet has been simplified.|
|>>The inlet area has also increased.|
Nissan had their big shindig in London today to announce...yeah, you
guessed it. About all that was mentioned regarding the engine was
that it's a 1.6 liter, 4-cylinder, turbo, with direct fuel injection,
and it produces 300 hp on the nose and 230 lb-ft of torque.
debut did give us a better look at the more definitive version of the
DeltaWing and there are some differences over the show car. In general the shape is more
purposeful and "chiseled" looking. Note that rear wheels aren't
completely covered. |
DeltaWing doesn't want to embarrass any of the establishment and they
worked in conjunction with the ACO to establish a practical lap time to
demonstrate the concept. Thereffore the car's lap time is pegged between a LMP1 and
LMP2 at Le Mans and designer Ben Bowlby has limited the DeltaWing to a
top speed of only 300 km/h in order to further comply with that parameter.
rear fin is longer and has a vertical trailing edge compared to the
show car's angled trailing edge. The underfloor leading edge
treatment is designed to shed a large vortice into the underbody, the
DeltaWing guys call it, "Twin vortex underbody downforce system – BLAT (Boundary Layer Adhesion Technology)," a piss-take on the term "ground-effects" (see the link).
Whatever it's called, this vortex generator is how the concept
develops all of its approximately 2500 lbs. of downforce. The
radiator intakes have grown in size and it would appear that
the exit for the radiators is out the central exhaust opening at
the very rear of the car.|
Speed TV has some really good detailed shots of the chassis.
Videos here, here, and here.
few weeks ago Murphy the Bear Tweeted that he had heard that the
DeltaWing project would use a Nissan engine for testing purposes until
the engine partner was decided upon. This tidbit quickly morphed
to the Nissan LMP2 V8 being that "interim" engine. The DeltaWing
project has always advocated a small capacity (1.6L), inline
4-cylinder, turbo being the engine of choice. So to use a V8 in
the place where you wanted a I4 to eventually go didn't pass the sniff
test. And even though Murphy wasn't responsible for the V8 part,
he was correct about engine partners. Today Nissan sent this not
too particularly subtle press conference invite out (sadly, ours has
apparently been lost in the mail): "Until Tuesday, we cannot
reveal any details except that this is a truly ground-breaking,
innovative motorsport project that is different to anything that has
ever raced before, and has the potential to revolutionise both
motorsport and future road car products."
Now, who do YOU think the engine partner is going to be?
more, we understand the Nissan engine will a rebadged version of the
Chevrolet Cruze World Touring Car Championship engine. This is a
4-cylinder, turbo motor, with a capacity between 1.6 and 2.0 liters,
and is described as "very clever." The engine's designer, Arnaud
Martin, won Race Tech's Engine Designer of the Year award based on the
success of the Chevy Cruze WTCC engine. We're told that Chevy's
naming rights only extended to the WTCC application. The engines
will be built by RML and there are suggestions that RML will also
provide crew for Le Mans but this has not been verified.
has introduced their updated for 2012 B12/60 LMP1. Now with 100%
more menace. The 2012 car effectively amounts to a total
redesign of the bodywork, taking into account regulation obligations
(big honking fender holes, increased height big honking fin) and year
to year performance improvements. The front end aero treatment
has been redesigned and from the font bodywork split line forward all
is new. The front fender leading edge also takes a much more
aggressive stance pushing air around, as opposed to over, and
specifically across the outboard diveplane scallops.
very aggressively cambered diveplanes reside outboard and act as
airflow conditioners (1). Lola has now adopted the de
rigueur outboard splitter "feet" (2). The front fender is very
broad (3) and now accommodates wide fronts. How wide? We're
told that Lola has adopted same sized tires front and rear,
size 360/710 R-18. Also note the very large googly-eye headlights and headlight bucket.|
to the front diveplanes. In recent years, starting (again) with
the ARX-01 series LMP2s, very large but intricately shaped diveplanes become
fashionable. This leads one to suspect the diveplanes are being
used to deliberate interact with the airflow downstream.
Naturally it goes without saying that diveplanes do effect
airflow downstream, regardless of intent. And obviously the
wide front tire trend is requiring more front downforce in order to
maximize the advantage of the increased tire surface area. But
the trailing edge shape of the Lola's diveplanes are designed with
downstream flow in mind as well. Note the downstream proximity of
the outboard pontoon fender sculpting to the presumable track of the
lower diveplane's shed vorticie.|
at the rear we can see that the lower side pod is pinched inwards along
the flank. Lola has also adopted a swan neck rear wing mount that
is integrated into the trailing edge of the big honking fin.|
S102.5 took to the track today at the Chateauroux Aerodrome. We
can observe that the car is not in full 2012 aero kit (note the missing
big honking holes) and for now the wide fronts haven't been fitted (or
accompanying wide front fenders). |
temperatures were very low, note the blanked off front and rear brake
ducts (black tape), though the only comment to come out of the shakedown (in spite of the obviously cold temperatures)
was, "...it is a fast car!" Video here.|
amongst all the PR because of poor terminology usage by the Audi
reps, it comes to light that the 2012 Audi R18 e-tron quattro will be
using an all carbon fiber gearcase this season, a first for a LMP. Now in fairness we do note that the Audi PR material did say the new R18 e-tron had a carbon fiber gearbox housing.
But Audi PR should have known better to use that terminology given
today's very astute and technically minded race fan and last
year's carbon fiber housing
that the 2011 R18's thin-walled metallic gearbox nested into (image).
Thus is appeared Audi was mentioning the carbon fiber gearbox
housing for the first time as references to it were missing from last
year's PR material. But we're told by none other than Audi's
Wolfgang Appel that the 2012 car's gearbox casing is all
carbon fiber and that the suspension attaches to it conventionally,
that is, no additional housing to carry the suspension loading.
This is a brand new gearbox design.
Now why is this
significant? A carbon gearbox case helps optimize weight
distribution by replacing traditional metallic structures with lighter
carbon fiber, more on that in a moment. But a composite 'box
comes with technical hurdles, namely finding a resin system that can
handle the prolonged exposure to high temperatures. We'll
Yes, F1 boxes have used this technology for years. And
while in the very early days the carbon gearboxes weren't particularly
reliable, within the last 5 years or more the resins systems had
matured to the point of being able to offer high temperature resistance
and toughness over long periods of time.
So why hasn't anyone
embraced the carbon fiber gearbox in LMP until now? It has to do
with two reasons primarily: cost and there simply wasn't a reason to.
Until now that is. The advent of the wide front tire era
got the designers thinking a lot more about weight distribution and how
to make that number work for them . Whatever can be done to put
more weight forward, to help make use of those wide fronts, is being
considered. The Acura ARX-02a
started the wide fronts concept and it made use of a thin-walled
aluminum gearcase coupled with additional weight savings all over and
to that end the Acura designers stuck a huge 220 lb. slab of carbon
steel underneath the front of the car, right where they wanted it.
This does beg the
question why Audi would design one super expensive gearbox for one year
of use and then design yet another even more expensive gearbox only a
year later...Recall that Audi's design of last year's
R18 gearbox and housing allowed the gearbox itself to be changed
circumventing the ACO's regulations regarding gearbox repair.
This would have been possible given a unique interpretation of
the ACO's own definition of what the gearbox was (paraphrased simply as
the casing that carries the loading between the chassis and
with the suspension loadings going into the surrounding carbon fiber
structure it was argued that the gearbox ceased being the gearbox and
thus could be swapped out in the event of a failure during the race.
Might the ACO have taken an exception to the rapid change 'box
concept? But then Article 1.12 of the regulations still reads as 2011...
the reason for the new gearbox, the R18 e-tron quattro is a rather
large step forward when by appearances few changes have occurred.
has emerged on youtube of the Delta Wing taking its first laps at
Buttonwillow in California. In the 17 second video the DW takes a
very slow speed installation meander and little can actually be
ascertained other than the fact that it actually can turn.
the mean time, it has been rumored that the testing program would
utilize a Nissan V8 LMP2 engine in lieu of securing the desired "1.6L,
I-4, turbo". We're told that these rumors are false and that a
"I-4 turbo" is currently in the car but that it is "interim."
With the stated desire to install a I-4, it never really passed
the sniff test that a normally aspirated V8 would be used as a
surrogate considering the vastly different engine architectures (width,
height, length, weight, cooling requirements) and extra engineering
time that would be required.
Purely speculation, though
one does wonder if a former AAR Toyota IMSA GTP
engine (2.0L, I-4, turbo) played substitute as certainly Dan Gurney has a couple of those
still kicking around...;o)
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