Tag Archives for AmericanLeMansSeries
While the basic premise of “green racing” is certainly open to debate, it’s hard to argue that any form of motorsports has done more to promote the idea that efficiency and alternative fuels can go hand-in-hand with performance than the American Le Mans Series.
Until the recent British election, ALMS regular Paul Drayson also served as minister of science and innovation in the cabinets of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Drayson has also been an outspoken advocate for hybrid and electric powertrains and alternative fuels like ethanol. Like Corvette Racing and several other teams, Drayson has run his ALMS cars on cellulosic E85 since early 2008 when the biofuel first became available. Last week he took his team to Le Mans for the second time and met with officials of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest to discuss the new 2011 regulations that will bring downsized engines and the approval of hybrid powertrains. Drayson shares some of his thoughts on green racing after the jump.
Gallery: Drayson Racing Lola-Judd
[Source: Paul Drayson]
On Thursday, June 10, the Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO), which organizes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, held its annual press conference and announced new technical regulations for the 2011 event as well as the European Le Mans Series. The ACO has long encouraged a variety of powerplant configurations, which is what prompted first Audi and then Peugeot to develop diesel-powered prototypes. 2011 will bring the official introduction of hybrid power to Le Mans racing in all of the new classes.
Next year the club will move even further in the direction already pioneered by the American Le Mans Series with its “green racing” initiatives. The top LMP1 class will adopt what are essentially the current LMP2 rules, with gasoline racing engines limited to 3.4 liters normally aspirated or 2.0 liters turbocharged. Diesels can displace no more than 3.7 liters. The current LMP1 cars will be allowed to compete in 2011, but performance will be restricted by as-yet-unannounced means that will likely include more weight and smaller air restrictors. Check out the rest of the changes after the jump.
[Source: Automobile Club de L'Ouest]
The Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO), which organizes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, announced some new technical regulations this week that mirror what has been happening in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). For 2011, the ACO will consolidate the current LMP1 and LMP2 prototype classes into a single group based around the current P2 rule set. All of the prototypes will now be limited to smaller 3.4-liter normally aspirated or 2.0-liter turbocharged engines regardless of whether they burn gasoline or diesel fuel. Similarly, the shrinking GT1 class will be eliminated next year in favor of the closer-to-production GT2 cars.
The big news is that hybrid systems will now be allowed in all Le Mans series events. In 2009, Corsa Motorosports debuted an LMP1 car with a Zytek gas-electric powertrain in ALMS. ALMS allowed the car to initially run without any limits on electrical energy while they evaluated the performance. Under the new ACO rules, teams will be able to run hybrid/kinetic energy recovery systems that are connected to at most two wheels with a maximum of 500 joules of energy storage. We’re not sure what the energy storage capacity of the Porsche 911 GT3R hybrid is, but it clearly demonstrated the advantage of being able to use electricity to boost acceleration while saving fuel during its recent run in the 24 Hours of Nurburgring.
ALMS officials are in France right now for this weekend’s race, but we assume that the North American series will adopt most of the ACO rules for 2011.
Gallery: Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek 09HS
[Source: Speed TV]
As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, there will be plenty of motorsports going on: NASCAR at Charlotte, IndyCars at the home base and Formula One in Turkey. The only big series taking the weekend off is the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) which has a number of teams preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans just a couple of weeks from now.
Since early 2008, the ALMS has been touting itself as the “Leader in green racing.” We decided to take a look at the biggest series in North America and compare the efforts of each when it comes to alternative fuels and drivetrains. In many respects, NASCAR is actually the most alternative series around right now, but not necessarily in a forward looking way. After all, NASCAR still uses carburetors and just switched from leaded to unleaded gasoline a couple of years ago.
Similarly, while IndyCars switched from methanol to ethanol a few years back, there isn’t much else about open wheel race cars that can be called relevant to manufacturers. ALMS GT class cars, on the other hand, are actually derived from production models. The combination of GT and LMP cars are now or have recently been running on five different fuel/drive combinations including diesel, E10, cellulosic E85, biobutanol, and E10/hybrids. Later this season, the Porsche 911 GT3 R hybrid that nearly won the recent 24 hours of Nürburgring is expected to join the ALMS ranks and ALMS communications director Bob Dickinson told us that he hopes to see Peugeot’s 908 diesel-hybrid join, perhaps as soon as the next Sebring race in March 2011. Check out the full chart after the jump.
Gallery: Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek 09HS
Episode four of the Corvette Racing video series is out now and it focuses on the Michelin Green X Challenge and how it is helping to make the C6.R both faster and more efficient. We already knew that the Corvette C6.R has been running on cellulosic E85 for the past two years, but that is just the beginning of the improvements to these race cars.
The engineers and technicians that create and maintain these cars have been working for a decade to make them better. When the original GT1-class C5.R started racing 10 years ago, it would get about 10 laps per tankful at Le Mans. Today, the cars get 15 laps per tank, meaning they spend a lot less time sitting idle in the pits and more time out running for position.
Reducing friction and parasitic losses throughout the car has helped tremendously. The team has worked with its air conditioning supplier to reduce the compressor power draw from five horsepower to just 1.8 hp. Similarly, going from traditional steel wheel bearings to ceramic bearings has added three miles per hour of straightaway speed and improved durability. The next big change that could eventually make its way to road cars is zero viscosity engine oil to cut internal engine friction. Check out the video after the jump.