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November/December 2009
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All news content copyright Michael J. Fuller, unless otherwise noted

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12.20.09

>>Race Car Engineering has reveled that Oreca's 01 replacement LMP, the Oreca 02, will use Peugeot Sport badged engines.  This announcement follows on the heels of the news that Oreca will run a customer Peugeot 908 LMP next season.  Naturally the 02 will be designed with 2011 regulations in mind and according to Oreca's Hughes de Chaunac, "Our technical team's already hard at work and is collaborating closely with Peugeot Sport, all of which is helping us to design our future LM P1 prototype in the best possible circumstances."  RCE also adds that the design of Peugeot's 908 replacement is at an advanced stage.

12.8.09

>>We'll delve into a detailed look at the 2010 regulations at some point soon, in the mean time the ACO has published a list of chassis that have been granted a waiver for 2010 regarding their rear fender design:

The following cars have received waivers for 2010:

LMP1 Audi R10:  The complete car (chassis, bodywork, engine, restrictor, ballast, etc.)
remains in the 2009 configuration provided:  the team who manages the car is not a factory team,  the drivers have never competed with the official team Audi.  If necessary, the ACO can adjust the performance of the car after the first race of Le Mans Series.

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.

Notably missing from the list; the Audi R15 and the Peugeot 908.  The initial presumption is that both Audi and Peugeot will simply redesign the rear fenders on their cars in order to get a leg up and a better understanding of the 2011 regulations and therefore didn't apply for a waiver.

Admittedly I can't quite understand the attention paid by the ACO to the Audi R10.  Surely Audi wasn't threatening to run that car next year?  Based on today's Audi press release in which they announced they would participate in the inaugural Le Mans International Cup with the Audi R15 would certainly signal Audi's intent and with which chassis.  Additionally, it further signals Audi's intent to race the R15 compliant to the new 2010 regulations given their omission from the waiver list.

The Le Mans International Cup is the ACO's attempt to revitalize the World Championship by tying races held in different series to an overall points championship.  Consisting of 3 events on three continents, the inaugural race will be held at the September, 13, 2010 Silvestone round of the Le Mans Endurance Series.  The second race will be held in conjunction with the Petit Le Mans on 
October 2nd with the last event of the International Cup coinciding with the Asian Le Mans Series' November event (track yet to be determined).  To be eligible for overall points competitors must compete in all three rounds in addition to participating in at least 5 additional (we think five additional and not 5 total, but hell we're guessing as the ACO's press release isn't clear on that point) events under a Le Mans series banner. 
12.7.09

>>Without much fan fare the ACO has released the 2010 LMP1/2 regulations.  Thoughts later.  Well, one thought for now...about time.
11.24.09, updated

>>Highcroft Racing announced today that they would be returning to LMP with Acura.  Reading the fine print and we notice that indeed, Acura, but with the venerable LMP2, not the new LMP1.  Highcroft has set aside the ARX-02a LMP1 for a further development of the ARX-01 LMP2; the ARX-01c.   Highcroft came to the conclusion upon the knowledge that for next season the American Le Mans Series is combining the LMP1 and LMP2 classes.  And while equivalency regulations have yet to be discussed publicly, we have it on good authority that Duncan Dayton has a good idea in what direction they will be heading, hence Highcroft's decision.  And while some might see this as an indictment of the ARX-02a, and perhaps it is to an extent, Highcroft's choice has certainly more to do with the package that will be competitive within the ALMS' equivalency regulations.  Duncan Dayton indicated as much saying, "Everyone saw the performance of the ARX-01b at this year's ALMS race at Laguna Seca, and we think this car will be a very wise weapon of choice for 2010."  With the 2009 regulations featuring only a mildly tweaked LMP2 class, certainly a more elaborately performance adjusted LMP2 would seem to be the car to go with.  Furthermore, additional Acura/Highcroft motivation to go the LMP2 route can be gleamed from the comment that, "The 2009 ALMS LMP1 championship winning squad will be charged with evaluation of the new ARX-01c platform and the testing of a new HPD engine under consideration for the 2011 season."  Recall that for 2011 and beyond, LMP1 engine regulations will change drastically such that the largest engine allowed will be a 3.4 liter V8, precisely what the Acura LMP2 engine uses now.
11.16.09

>>Tom Kjos has posted intriguing reading over at the Last Turn club regarding ALMS/IMSA costs and revenues.  Have a read.

>>A slow news month.  We understand the draft ACO regulations have been in manufacturers' hands for at least a month and that the ACO received their feedback weeks ago.  Alas, the official regulations have gone AWOL.  We understand that at least one major manufacturer has been unable to approach their board about 2011; no rules, there's nothing to discuss.  This would seem to put that effort in jeopardy for 2011 if not 2010 as well.  Given the economic crisis it seems very odd that the ACO is dragging their feet.  But then the ACO has never realized the season actually starts in March, not June.

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ęCopyright 2009, Michael J. Fuller