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|>>2013 Le Mans Test & 24 Coverage<<|
>>So Porsche has been testing at Monza this week (see the Twitter feed, see the FaceBook
page, we've been chatting about it all week). Earlier in the week
a Penske liveried RS Spyder was taking laps in addition to the 2014
LMP1. Suffice to say, Porsche is busy. And with testing
occurring at Monza, the possibility of spy shots becomes a reality.
So what's new? I've got to be quite honest, not much. It pretty much looks like the same car as four months ago (6.12.13 entry).
angle emphasizes the regulatory change for 2014 that allows the front
splitter/diffusers to become purpose designed wing sections and note
the witness of the wing's trailing edge (1). Analysis of the high
res version of the image shows a leading edge gurney ahead of the BHH
(2). And yes Antonio Pannullo,
that IS a intake duct of some sort or another tucked in with the engine
intake (3). The only thing that seems "new" is the cockpit
extractor on the leading edge of the door (4). This is in
reference to Art 3.3.2 which mandates a minimum area for cockpit
extraction (40 cm^2).
much appears to have changed from the rear either. You can really
see the undercut nature of the engine intake (1), the undercut leading
to that additional intake noted in the above image. |
greatest mystery is still what engine configuration Porsche has gone
with (2). But sources are indicating Porsche has gone with a 90
degree V4. No confirmation on capacity.
And we get a
slightly clearer view of the inner BHH on the rear fenders (3).
There's still an expectation that the bodywork of the final car
will evolve significantly.
>>Why it won't be a Flat-4...
A few days ago this link popped up on the Mulsanne's Corner Face Book page
stating that reliable sources indicated the new Porsche LMP1 engine was
a twin turbo charged, approximately 2.0 liter, flat-4
configuration. This was more information than previously, and
while I couldn't attest to the validity of the sources for the article,
it did get me thinking. Flat-4, low CG, right? Makes sense,
not to mention the historic relevance for Porsche (call it marketing
influence), thus win-win. But then I asked around...
first thing to mention is that in the scrum leading up to 2014 a lot of
information is being held back . No one wants to be the first one
out of the gate laying out what they think will be successful for the
new engine formula, just in case that information is interesting to a
rival outfit. But one thing has emerged that is somewhat
interesting, if not tangential, is that since the Porsche's total power
output is hybrid-supplemented (LMP1-H), the engine itself won't be
tasked with producing as much power as say a privateer non-hybrid
supplemented entry (LMP1-L). Therefore it's reasonable to assume the
engines for the leading manufacturers will be of smaller capacity and
that the engine capacity strategy for the privateer engine builders
isn't necessarily one and the same as those manufacturers.
So the Porsche engine will most likely be small capacity, and the suggested 2.0 liters passes the sniff-test.
what about cylinder configuration? Does a flat-4 make
sense? Are there CG benefits? Turns out the answer really
is no. You've got some difficult packaging issues to deal with,
namely exhaust and engine intake routing, that compromise CG desires
compared to a conventional 'V' (for example) configuration. Given
the small diameter of today's racing clutches, you actually would have
to raise the crank height (and ancillaries) in order to provide
clearance for the exhaust relative to the underfloor, or be forced to
do something awkward with the engine intakes (recall the Mercedes C291
I'm told that in the end, the flat-4 configuration is simply a non-starter for a serious LMP concern.
cylinder count? Sources indicate that given the small capacity
the issue becomes capacity vs. cylinder count vs. resulting friction,
and that a small 4-cylinder is within the envelope of consideration
given those factors. So will the Porsche have 4 cylinders?
For now I can't say without more information regarding the actual
engine capacity, etc., but it also can't be ruled out.
>>Very little has been heard about what AER's plans are for the 2014 new rules customer LMP1 engine, until recently:
AER's Mike Lancaster allows me a few more details, just a few...
have been working on the new 'fuel flow' rules LMP1 engine for around 2
years. The new engine is a clean sheet design that takes a lot of
direction from the best features of our existing engines and
developments and combines these features in a specific engine carefully
optimised for the ACO / FIA rules. AER
has also drawn from the considerable experience gained developing
Formula 1 engine concepts for a major F1 team for new turbo rules F1.
There are few direct comparisons to be made between F1 and LMP1,
but some of the engine technologies are similar (high efficiency, GDI,
fuel flow control, turbocharged, etc).
As you know, we use the
latest version of our I4 turbo engine in the ALMS (AER P90 GDI 2.0L) in
combination with the latest Life Racing electronics. We use these
engines and many others to verify and test components for the new
engine. For 2014, we have produced a new 90 degree V6 engine the capacity of which, like the power and BSFC (brake specific fuel consumption) remains confidential.
has made considerable use of a (now) very well developed turbo 1D model
and CFD model in combination with very extensive dyno testing for
verification of data.
While Mike wouldn't be drawn into
any power generalizations, he did admit that, "... we expect power to
be better than hinted..." And ultimately, while F1 and LMP1
engine regulations appear in alignment, "I doubt if a real F1 (as
opposed to one that looked “F1 like”) engine would be suitable as a Le
Mans engine. For one, at 1.6L it would have to rev too high to be
efficient and I expect combustion efficiency would be compromised by
the necessary CR (compression ratio), etc."
Food for thought.