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>>Henri Pescarolo's open letter translated. Many thanks to Franz Terrien for the quick turnaround on this:
Open Letter dedicated
to the 24-hours of Le Mans lovers
During the 2006 24-hours of Le Mans, the competitors using petrol engine had had plenty of time to note that the equivalencies defined by the ACO rules were not very right/fair . The press had been aware of this fact , and the public had understood it as well. However some thought that it was completely normal that a Diesel Audi be on average 3 to 4 seconds faster on a lap than the fastest petrol-engined cars. According to them, this difference only came from the huge difference of (the) means invested by either of the competitors. That is making little consideration of the chief designers who created the cars of the 2006 season . Among other things their backgrounds count the "Peugeot 905 and the Toyota GT-One (Andre de Cortanze), all the Courage (Paolo Catone), the Bentley Speed 8 (Peter Ellleray), the Cadillac and the Panoz (Claude Galopin), the Zytek and the Creation (Ben Wood), without forgetting the engineering and design departments of Dallara and Lola which are largely implied in some great current projects.
Many simulations had however been carried out, by various engineering and design departments, and they all had lead to the conclusion that the Diesel engine was considerably favored. To make it clear and wanting to be careful, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) fitted all the 24-hours cars with a data acquisition system recording all the parameters on a track lap. These data were partly published at the end of the race.
The first split – pit straight – is the most significant data because while the Audi is 0.544 quicker on the whole sector, when considering the 398 meters of pure acceleration it is 0.1395 quicker on the 130 to 250 kph acceleration than the quickest gasoline. Applied to the 9 600 meters of straight line acceleration the track counts, that would mean 3.36 quicker on a lap. This figure is rather close to reality. A theoretical calculation enables to evaluate that with the same tires this variation in acceleration is generated by a difference in power of roughly 57 hp. This is close again to the claimed figures.
Let us see the second split - Hunaudières straight. The Audi is 1.19 quicker. As the maximum speeds are similar - 325 to 326 kph, the time difference comes from the straight line acceleration until maximum speed is stabilized. Note the cars are roughly equally quick in the two chicanes.
The Audi is 1.34 quicker in the third sector which confirms the two previous analyses. But in the Virages Porsche, it is rather the torque than the power that brings an advantage. On the other hand the difference between the best race lap times of the Audi and the best petrol-engined car is really significant: a huge 4.4 gap (3:31.211 against 3:35.656), and yet this is just the beginning of the diesel engine development!
A finer study of the split times enables to note that the advantage in corner of about 1.5 is not negligible but is not independent of the available power. Indeed for a higher power, having the same maximum speed means a higher downforce configuration and therefore a better handling. However there is no need to be an Einstein to foresee that with a very basic application of the power-to-weight ratio, with identical weight a 700 hp Diesel car is going to accelerate much more quickly than a petrol car delivering only 640 hp!
The official statement published on last 13 July by the ACO was clear though: "only an advantage related to the performance of the engine can lead us to take measures in order to reduce the performances". Given the previous figures which clearly highlight a Diesel advantage over petrol-powered cars, one could thus expect - and promises had been made in this sense - that new equivalencies be applied in 2007.
Don Panoz showed the way in American Le Mans Series. By removing 65 kg out of the petrol cars, he found a real equality between the various competitors. The last races of the season were exciting and even if Audi continued to win, which seems normal, it was by battling until the end with equal weapons , and that is completely new.
The recent publication of the 2007 Le Mans 24-Hours rules let clearly appear that the ACO chose to preserve a substantial advantage for the diesel-powered cars. However only the two manufacturers present in LMP1 can use it. Is this just by chance? If it is not the case, it is serious. Because that means that the ACO wishes that nobody can come and disturb the game of the two big ones. If one attends an eighth victory in a raw of the VAG group at the next 24-hours of Le Mans without any real opposition then the ACO will owe the public and the media an explanation in next June.
There is however a glimmer of hope as a small concession has been made: the gas oil tank capacity was decreased by 9 liters so that all the cars stop at the same time to fill in. This represents 0.7 a lap for 24 hours which is far from being sufficient.
But it is perhaps the sign which some are realizing, in the ACO, that the first duty of a club so innovating in the technical field is to institute a perfect equity and to harmonize the powers between the various allowed power configurations in its events whether it is diesel, petrol or hybrids and whoever the users are. And then, as officially stipulated ACO statement of July 2006: "all the other elements of the car being built with the same specifications, it is thus up to the manufacturers to design the best car"
Meanwhile with respect for the Le Mans 24-hours lovers and I hope for it again with the support of the public, Pescarolo Sport will take up this new challenge anyway. More motivated than ever, the Sarthe-native squad will entry two new cars, with advanced aerodynamics, firmly persuaded that even in the sport universe, some time, morals can triumph.
|And sentiment is similar elsewhere
in the paddock:
>>"We are not impressed at all. Look at the performance at Laguna Seca this weekend for example between a good cross section of LMP1 competitors (Audi, Creation, Zytek, Lola). That was a very well balanced close race, which in fact did not favour the Audis at all by their own admission since their straight line advantage was blunted by the short straights and many corners. Evidently therefore the IMSA equivalence is closer to the truth than the ACO's. Whether 65 kg of ballast is the best way to do it is questionable however. We would prefer to see published fuel "recipes" and fuel flow restrictors instead of airflow, which would work better for all fuels. In ALMS remember the petrol LMP1s race at 860 kg whereas in Europe this year and again next year they will race at 925 kg. Clearly therefore the Audis (and Peugeots) will have an easier time in Europe and Le Mans than in the States. Reducing the tank size by 10% has almost no effect because the increased refueling time is offset by the reduced weight of fuel carried. In a short race a more important factor is that the car with the longest tank range can make the earliest final stop and therefore gain track position for the final stint. Even with a 10% reduction the Audis will still have an advantage in consumption over the petrol cars. I don't have exact laps between stops from Laguna yet but I believe the evidence is there."
>>And simply put by one other:
"...it appears to suck, is exactly what Henri predicted, and I agree with what Henri has said."
Leganuex brings us this out of the paper Le Maine Libre:
Serge Saulnier reacted to the 2007 ACO
regulations in Le Maine Libre, Friday's issue : "10 % of the fuel tank
less, it's huge. It makes
So Le Maine Libre comments that Peugeot's 2007 programme could be reduced to one car only in Le Mans Series. "I don't know yet, but I'm reserved", added Serge Saulnier. He will now announce the names of the drivers in December instead of this month and they will be seven instead of six. Three of the six to be named drivers will be french. The seventh driver is Eric Hélary, who will be in charge of the development and test driver.
>>As noted elsewhere Henri Pescarolo has released his open letter to the ACO regarding the recent ACO announcement of the 2007 regulations changes for LMP1 and diesels. We have received this letter and are working on having it translated properly into English. As noted on dailysportscar, it is a somewhat difficult business in that to get the translation slightly wrong perverts the meaning of the writer. And in order to do Mr. Pescarolo as much justice as possible we will not be using a "machine" translation. So that just means we're in a holding pattern. Until then here is the original French version of the letter:
Lors des 24 Heures du Mans 2006, les concurrents utilisant des motorisations essence avaient eu tout le temps de constater que les équivalences définies par le règlement ACO n’étaient pas très justes. La presse s’en était d’ailleurs fait l’écho, et le public l’avait également compris. Cependant, certains ont pensé qu’il était tout à fait normal qu’une Audi Diesel soit en moyenne 3 à 4 secondes plus rapide sur un tour de circuit que la meilleure des voitures propulsées par un moteur essence. Pour eux, cette différence n’était due qu’à la différence colossale des moyens mis en œuvre par les uns et les autres. C’est faire peu de cas des ingénieurs aérodynamiciens qui ont étudié et réalisé les voitures engagées lors de la saison 2006. Ils ont entre autres à leurs « palmarès » la Peugeot 905 et la Toyota GT One (André de Cortanze), toutes les Courage (Paolo Catone), la Bentley Speed 8 (Peter Ellleray), la Cadillac et la Panoz (Claude Galopin), la Zytek et la Creation (Ben Wood), sans oublier les bureaux d’études de Dallara et Lola qui sont largement impliqués dans quelques grands projets actuels.
De nombreuses simulations avaient cependant été réalisées, par différents bureaux d’études, et toutes arrivaient à la même conclusion que la motorisation Diesel était largement favorisée. Pour en avoir le cœur net, et se voulant prudent, l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) a équipé toutes les voitures des 24 Heures d’un système d’acquisition de données enregistrant tous les paramètres sur un tour de circuit. Ces mesures ont été en partie publiées à l’issue de la course. La plus significative se situe dans le partiel n°1 - ligne droite des Tribunes – car si l’Audi est de 0,544seconde plus rapide sur l’ensemble du secteur, sur les 398 mètres d’accélération pure, il lui faut 0,1395 seconde de moins pour passer de 130 à 250 Km/h, que la meilleure essence. Rapporté aux 9 600 mètres d’accélération en ligne droite que comporte le circuit, cela ferait 3,36 secondes au tour. C’est assez proche de la réalité. Un calcul théorique permet d’évaluer qu’à pneumatiques identiques cet écart en accélération est généré par une différence de puissance de l’ordre de 57 chevaux. Là aussi on est proche des chiffres annoncés. Voyons le deuxième partiel – ligne droite des Hunaudières - : 1,19 seconde de mieux pour l’Audi. Comme les vitesses de pointe sont identiques, 325 contre 326 Km/h, il ne s’agit là encore que d’une différence d’accélération en ligne droite jusqu'à ce que la vitesse maximum soit stabilisée. Les deux chicanes étant prises sensiblement à la même vitesse. Le troisième secteur avec 1,34 seconde de mieux pour l’Audi confirme les deux précédentes analyses, mais dans les virages Porsche, c’est plus le couple que la puissance qui apporte un avantage. Par contre l’écart entre le meilleur tour en course de l’Audi et de la meilleure essence est tout à fait significatif : 4,4 secondes (3’31’’211 contre 3’35’’656) c’est énorme, et nous n’en sommes qu’au début du développement des moteurs Diesel !
Une étude plus fine des temps partiels permet de constater que le gain en virage, de l’ordre de 1,5 seconde n’est pas négligeable, mais n’est pas indépendant de la puissance disponible. En effet pour une puissance supérieure, une vitesse de pointe identique, signifie un choix aérodynamique plus chargé, donc une meilleure tenue de route. Cela dit, il n’y avait pas besoin d’être polytechnicien pour prévoir qu’en application toute bête du rapport poids/puissance, une voiture Diesel développant 700 CV allait accélérer beaucoup plus fort à poids identique qu’une voiture essence ne disposant que de 640 CV !
Le communiqué publié le 13 juillet dernier par l’ACO était pourtant clair : « seul un avantage lié à la performance du moteur peut nous amener à prendre des mesures afin de réduire la performance ». Au vu des chiffres précédents qui mettent nettement en évidence cet avantage lié a une motorisation Diesel, on pouvait donc s’attendre, et des promesses avaient été faites dans ce sens, à ce que de nouvelles équivalences soient appliquées pour 2007.
Don Panoz a d’ailleurs montré la voie en American Le Mans Serie. En retirant 65 Kg des voitures essence, il a trouvé une réelle égalité entre les différents concurrents. Les dernières courses de la saison ont été passionnantes, et finalement si Audi a continué à gagner, ce qui paraît normal, c’est en se battant jusqu’au bout à armes égales, et cela est complètement nouveau.
La publication récente du règlement des 24 Heures 2007 laisse apparaître avec clarté, que l’ACO a choisi de préserver un avantage substantiel à la motorisation diesel. Or seuls les deux constructeurs présents en LMP1 peuvent en disposer. Est-ce un hasard ? si tel n’est pas le cas, c’est grave. Car cela signifie que l’ACO désire que personne ne puisse venir troubler le jeu des deux grands. Si l’on assiste à une huitième victoire consécutive du groupe VAG aux prochaines 24 Heures du Mans sans qu’il y ait une réelle opposition, l’ACO aura des comptes à rendre au public et aux médias en juin prochain.
Il y a toutefois une lueur d’espoir, une petite concession a été faite : la contenance des réservoirs de gasoil a été réduite de 9 litres afin que toutes les voitures s’arrêtent en même temps pour ravitailler. Ceci représente 0,7 secondes au tour sur 24 heures, ce qui est loin d’être suffisant. Mais c’est peut-être le signe que certains sont en train de se rendre compte, à l’ACO, que le premier devoir d’un club aussi innovant dans le domaine technique est d’instituer une équité parfaite et d’harmoniser les puissances entre les différentes motorisations admises dans ses épreuves, diesel, essence ou hybrides quels qu’en soient les utilisateurs. Et alors, comme le stipulait le communiqué ACO de juillet 2006 : « tous les autres éléments de la voiture étant construits avec le même cahier des charges, il appartient donc aux constructeurs de réaliser la meilleure voiture »
par respect pour les amoureux des 24 Heures du Mans, et avec de nouveau
je l’espère, le soutien du public, Pescarolo Sport relèvera
quand même ce nouveau défi. Plus motivée que jamais,
l’écurie sarthoise engagera deux nouvelles voitures, à l’aérodynamique
évoluée, fermement persuadée que même dans l’univers
du sport, quelque fois, la morale peut triompher.
>>Riley LMP1 update? Well, sort of. Bill Riley indicates that he traveled to Laguna Seca this weekend to speak with an interested party in regards to their Riley LMP1. The intent it still there within the company to pull this off. But as before, the right elements need to be in place before the car can proceed.
Riley Technologies has finished their move to NC and are settling down and preparing for the '07 season with updates to their Grand-Am car as well as their team entry in the NASCAR Busch Series.
>>The ACO releases the 2007 regulations. As expected, the ACO has made an adjustment to level out the diesel/gas equivalency. For 2007 diesel competitors will race with a 81 liter fuel tank vs. the 90 liter tank they (and the gas-engined competitors) ran with this year. This helps address the higher energy content in diesel fuel, an 81 liter tank of diesel is equal to a 90 liter tank of gasoline. But there had been expectations that the ACO would do something to directly address the diesel's track performance advantage.
ACO President Jean-Claude Plassart had this to say, "When the A.C.O threw down the gauntlet with this diesel challenge the A.C.O. made it quite clear that it would keep a close eye on the equivalence between diesel and petrol-engined cars. Thus, we have been working in close collaboration with the manufacturers, the petrol companies and major independent engineers. From these studies and on-going analyses with very sophisticated simulation models and computer programmes we came to the conclusion that corrections had to be made but with considerable caution, all the more so as those in the running for victory were separated by small gaps"
One wonders what the conversation was like at the ACO meeting last week when Peugeot and Audi sat down to discuss this topic. No other competitors were invited. The ACO certainly didn't get an unbiased view point. "Separated by small gaps?" Even the ACO admitted the lap time difference at Le Mans was 3.2 seconds back in July of this year when they acknowledged the need to address the performance difference. 3.2 seconds, which was noteworthy to the ACO back in July, has now become merely a "small gap." So we go into 2007 just as in 2006 with the diesel engined cars maintaining a substantial track performance advantage.
The only other prototype adjustments to note are a 5% restrictor size reduction for LMP2, thus reigning in the performance of the LMP2s relative to LMP1. With this the ACO is aiming at a 1.5% lap time difference and noted that if hasn't been achieved, then further adjustments will be made at the end of the year.
No word on where the American Le Mans Series stands on this. It seems inferred that this is the rule set that will be utilized in the U.S. from the start of the '07 season and from which adjustments will be made per the announcement made at the State of the Series conference.
There had been hopes that the ACO would come out with logical adjustments to equate the two different engines, but in this they have failed and it smells of favoritism. The question then begs, what was said between the ACO, Peugeot, and Audi at their meeting last week and why were there not representatives of the major gas-engined competitors and manufacturers in attendance as well?
>>Advanced Engine Research update. Just a brief reply from AER's Mike Lancaster indicates that the 2007 developments are already being worked on with an aggressive dyno program in the works for performance upgrades. The AER P32T is due to get a revised water pump to improve engine endurance and both the P32T and P07 will be getting "massively revised software" for '07. Lancaster further elaborates, "The testing we have been doing has given us some good directions and this should make for much improved engines next season." Revised wastegate designs are in the pipeline for both powerplants and will benefit from improved electronics. The P32T's direct injection system still has not made its debut but Lancaster says that development on the system will continue over the winter and it will appear when AER feels that it has enough of a performance increase over the non-DI to justify finally bringing it forward.
>>Just a couple of days after Martin Short puts his Radicals up for sale does he fill us in with what his plans are for 2007. On Tuesday I sent Martin an email, "Who's on your short list (chassis-wise)?" And Martin came back..."Its a very Short list. Lola or .............????" Count the...s, I suspect there are just about 9 dots there. And today he tells us that indeed, he will be running a Pescarolo LMP1 next year:
The night before I flew to Le Mans, I chanced across a 1974 edition of Autosport. On the front page was a Matra, winning the 1000 kms at Brands Hatch. And driving the other Matra, that came second was Henri, looking a little younger than now...who was very upset as the victory was stolen from him a few laps from the end.
And he remembered every moment of that race after I told him of my Autosport experience.
It underlined to me how long Henri has been in the sport and what he has achieved. He is an old dog, and he knows all the tricks.....
He is a legend,
and an institution. I hope he gets the support from the sponsors
in France so he can again take the fight to the
Martin continues filling us in with some of the details, "Our chassis will be #2 (of the new batch of 2007 tubs), and we'll be racing what is essentially a 2006 car, but with the new chassis, new crash box and modified bodywork." The Pescarolo, being a hybrid LMP1, is illegal next year in the Le Mans Endurance Series in its current form and will need a monocoque and crash box replacement in order to take into account the higher crash ratings the new regulations insist upon. The Judd V10 will be used, most likely the new GV5.5 version.
"The only other chassis
seriously in consideration for us was the Lola. We came very close
to it, then I discovered the Pesca was up
"As Henri pushes ahead with his upgrades next year on his two 2007 cars, we'll be ultimately benefiting from those. We'll have a junior role, and be serving as Henri's Apprentice. I'm sure Henri's true 2007 cars will be faster (than ours), but we'll be climbing his ladder and his development will come to us.
“Talking in detail to Henri, there are so many things that he's fixed, problems for example similar to ones that we had with the Dallaras. He's gone ahead and done it. Development like that is very expensive, but Henri has just gone for it and done it. He's done the aero testing – as he says 'on my 1:1 wind tunnel, on the runway' – and the reliability testing, and focused on the speed too. Between Henri and his Engineer Claude Galopin, almost every other sentence included 'and this reduced the speed at Le Mans by 6 kph, this improved it' etc. etc. We were left in no doubt as to what they were about.
With Pescarolo also supplying a '07 regulation monocoque for the Lister team we're seeing a welcome bit of cooperation amongst the privateers. Clearly the task is a daunting one though, with the two Titans, Audi and Peugeot, getting ready to go head to head next year it will be interesting to see what the privateers can pick up. But with cooperation and a pooling of resources amongst the privateers (sharing development and start up costs for common items like tubs, etc.), the privateers will have a better chance to make a dent in the manufacturers dominance.
>>Rollcentre Racing are putting their Radical SR9's up for Sale. Reason being that they are changing class, but staying within the Le Mans family.
Martin Short " Rollcentre has been presented with an exciting proposition for 2007, and we will be moving back into the LMP1 class. It is though, still regrettable that we will have to part with our Radicals, as they have been sensational from the first time they hit the track. We do feel that there is unfinished business with them, but we must race where our sponsors want to be, and thats with LMP1, and we are very excited about that.
The pace of the Radical has been unquestionable. Our first car has lead every race of the year bar one. We have hit the front twice from the very back of the grid. The reliability has suffered with new car teething problems, though nearly all of them due to problems with starter motors and ring gear......... now fixed.
The car has always been very simple to set up, and extremely kind on its tyres. At Jarama we went from almost a lap down at the start of the race to leading it by over a lap, 2 hours later, largely due to the car having a tremendous race pace, and using one set of Dunlops to the Lolas two sets of Michelins or Dunlops..... We never really worried about qualifying pace, the race always came to us with speed and fuel economy with the Judd, and consistency and secure handling from the chassis and tyres.
The cars will come with all the tweaks
and modifications that we have made, along with set ups and spares. We
can offer the cars
Offer for sale
2 x Radical SR9 LMP2 cars complete
As campaigned by Rollcentre Racing at 2006 Le Mans and Le Mans Series.
Unquestionable performance with the ultimate prize there for the taking.
Full carbon bodywork
Proven performance record with a full seasons development on all aspects of the car which include:
Revised bodywork retention
Car #1 is offered fully rebuilt and ready to run (this car having completed the 2006 season). The car will be able to test and is ready to run. Price On Application.
Car #2 is a 'new' car which is currently being assembled ready for prospective purchasers. The car can also be bought part assembled to help with pricing. Price On Application.
It is possible that Rollcentre could run a car for the new owner.
All interested parties to call Martin Short or Michael Tallentire on:
Tel 0044 (0) 1480 464052
>>Quite a sight one would imagine. That is the Kudzu DLM-4, chassis #009, taking the back roads from Dennis Spencer's Buford Georgia race shop to the track at Road Atlanta. Dennis asked the crew how many gallons of fuel it would take to get the the track, four apparently, and he then proceeded to drive past the car hauler out onto the public roads (much to the surprise of the crew!). "It was a nice day for a ride and the four rotor needed to go to Road Atlanta...If I got stopped I was going to tell them I was looking for the trailer!" The car ended up on display in the competition paddock with American Le Mans Series logos affixed.
|See the video on youtube.com. That's 600+ hp coming out of a Mazda 4-rotor in a one of a kind Kudzu chassis that was built exclusively for the race track. This last image was taken at the intersection of Thompson Mill Road and Old Winder Highway, local's might recognize Jeffrey's Sports Bar and Yu's Chopstick in the background.|
interesting element on the '07 RS Spyder. The car that was on display
in Paris didn't have this small detail. The jabrock is chafered to
form a sharp edge which will in turn shed a nice vortex enchacing the effectiveness
of the front diffuser.
And a closer look at the tub details (filets and chamfers around the fuel filler, tub "waist" line, etc.) suggests that the even the monocoque has been replaced.
Overall you have to expect that the '07 RS Spyder will be a rather large leap ahead of this year's car based upon the detail design work seen so far. Not that the '06 RS Spyder was a slouch...
|>>From the A Little Late Department, the Fernandez Racing Lola B05/40 Acura LMP2 was on display Saturday morning outside the media center.|
>>We're saddened to hear that Erwin Kremer has passed away. A more fitting tribute can be read on dailysportscar.com. My own personal contact with Erwin Kremer was brief. When I first began to compile aerodynamic data I made the rounds of various Porsche 962 racers and naturally I contacted Erwin. I was told, "He (Erwin) loves to talk about his cars." Kremer always responed to my various emails and always took interest in whatever was on my mind. Erwin Kremer was only 67.
>>Endurance Info's Laurent Chauveau has sent us detailed images of the Porsche RS Spyder and Peugeot 908.
|The RS has some rather weird and wonderful air management.|
|With the side pod at the 400 mm minimum height, the height of the valence panels is clearly more than 400 mm above the reference plane (art 3.4.1 c/, "With exception of the cockpit...must be at a minimum height of 400 mm from the reference surface"). This in itself isn't noteworthy, but in conjunction with below perhaps is...|
|It would seem pretty obvious that these are wing sectioned as defined in (and in violation of) Art 3.6.1. Additionally they are clearly designed to "...exert an aerodynamic effect, lift or down force." Figure these as some kind of flow conditioner beneficially effecting flow down stream. Further evidence is their height above the reference plane. The Lola B06/10's valence panel differs in that it is a flat plate whose lines are parallel in section (even the swoopy "Omega" version), and while it too creates a aerodynamic benefit, that it isn't defined as a wing section precludes it from violating 3.6.1, at least as I understand it.|
|While somewhat hard to make out, this appears to be a turning vane of some kind located within the valley between the front pontoon fender and the tub. The vane also appears to be wing sectioned with a clearly defined trailing edge coming to a point. Stays attach it to the inboard face of the fender.|
|From this view you can get a better idea of the turning vane's location and size.|
|The 908 shown at the Paris Auto Show differed in a few areas from the CG images released from Peugeot.|
|With the secondary flap's trailing edge as the pivot point, the flap itself has been trimmed out such that it is still within the regulated wing "box" though nearly horizontal. While unusual, it isn't without precedent as the WR LMP2 has something identical and has been running in this configuration for a couple of years.|
|I haven't come up with any justification for this yet (the dropped nose that is--the splitter blends up into the tub leaving air a dead end). Peugeot claims the show car will be "90%" similar to the actual car which in turn is set to run in early December.|