F1 engines to be allowed in LMP1
19th July 2012, 16:52 at 4:52 pm #131776
Very interesting article in Racecar-Engineering about the rules for prototypes running in Le mans/WEC in 2014. Specifically revealing that the engine regulations would allow for the fuel flow controlled V6 engines currently in development for F1, to be used.
If this is the case, this is probably quite significant news (assuming this isn’t something which was already well known and I had just missed the memo) since it potentially creates a solution to the issues facing the engine manufacturers in terms of recouping the development costs, and may help drive down the cost of units sold to F1 teams if a significant number could be sold to WEC competitors.
It also encourages the possibility of entries into the sport by the likes of Ferrari. And if the idea of Ferrari competing once again in the prototype class at Le mans doesn’t get your heart racing, then you better call the undertaker ‘cos boy, you dead…19th July 2012, 17:32 at 5:32 pm #205838
Yeah it was in the round-up a while ago:19th July 2012, 18:12 at 6:12 pm #205839
Ah so it was. I missed that one. Sadly it didn’t get the attention it deserved thanks to a minor technical clarification regarding the red bull30th July 2012, 6:05 at 6:05 am #205840
Sorry, it’s not something I want to see personally. Allowing F1 engines provides undertones of the death of Group C in 1990-1992.
Also, the whole article is just a speculation piece (un)fortunately. Engines are opened up (petrol and diesel 4-stroke of any capacity, any number of cylinders and cylinder configurations, with/without any kind of supercharging/turbocharging all allowed) and will only be controlled by fuel flow restrictions, and hybrid systems are categorized according to the amount of available energy storage. Because of the fact that the engine formula is completely open, F1 engines are theoretically allowed, but I personally don’t think we’ll see anyone fitting a F1 engine to a LMP1 car. If the rules eventually move in that direction, it’ll be a cynical attempt to once again suck manufacturers from Le Mans towards F1.30th July 2012, 12:22 at 12:22 pm #205841
See, I see it the other way round. Look at manufacturers like Ferrari and Mercedes, both making engines which will now be eligible for entry into Le Mans. It would be a major coup for WEC if these brands decided to create a presence at the top level of sportscar racing, and with the current financial climate in F1, I can see it being a very attractive proposition. Not to mention a means to address the contentious issue of how the 2014 spec engines will be funded.
Although there’s a question over how competitive those engines would be when lined up against the diesels of Audi and mazda, which have historically had a significant torque advantage over the petrol units. The performance of Toyota this year however is cause to question whether this is still the case.30th July 2012, 12:49 at 12:49 pm #205842
This idea of an engine being completely free to develop, with only the amount of fuel you can use being a limiting factor is perhaps the best idea that the ACO has had, ever. Talk about creativity, the engine possibilities are endless, and better still, it pushes manufacturers to make high performance, high power/torque “eco” engines.
I know there will be three manufacturers (at least) at the front in 2014; Audi, Toyota, and Porsche. But I’m not so sure F1 teams will be so quick to jump on this. Think about it, how economical is an F1 engine (in terms of fuel use)? It probably wouldn’t stand a chance against the specially designed Diesel/Petrol Hybrids that were made for the LM24. Still, cool idea, and maybe it will lure in some of the bigger teams in, possibly a few from F1. But if the F1 teams do join, I’m sure they won’t be using their F1 engines.31st July 2012, 10:33 at 10:33 am #205843
The 2014 engines are based around the same sort of concept though, of delivering the maximum efficiency from a restricted fuel flow rate. If that fuel flow rate is consistent between F1 and LMP1 then in theory the F1 engines would be very competitive. After all, delivering more power and improving fuel economy are both centred around the same principles of improving efficiency. Since F1 is at the cutting edge, you’d expect the F1 engine to be at least as good as anything developed for WEC. If it’s not, then the engine designers should be pretty ashamed of themselves.31st July 2012, 23:39 at 11:39 pm #205844
Surely then the whole issue is that the f1 engines are designed for short races rather than endurance1st August 2012, 7:27 at 7:27 am #205845
That shouldn’t be an issue. Even though the current engines are only doing hours of usually less than 2 hours, over the course of the season each of the engines in the allocation will do well over 24 hours of running. I wouldn’t have any concerns about reliability. Remember that reliability comes from precision engineering, and removing areas of potential weakness. That’s exactly what high performance engines are all about; an engine which is very efficient and very powerful, is also very reliable. The days of physical material defects and manufacturing issues are pretty much a thing of the past.1st August 2012, 8:51 at 8:51 am #205846
A F1 season is probably about 15000 km of running on 8 engines, so somewhere around 2000 km/engine. The Le Mans distance record was set in 2010 at ~5410 km, and adding warm-up and probably the Thursday qualifying sessions (teams generally change to their race engine between Wednesday and Thursday of LM week), you end up at somewhere in the region of 6000-7000 km on a single engine for that run. So a F1 engine still has some way to go if it has to run at full power for 24 hours. Even the 3.5 L sportscars-with-F1-spec-engines of the early 1990s had to run somewhat detuned in race trim to survive the 24 hours.1st August 2012, 11:50 at 11:50 am #205847
Engine developers do put way more mileage on development engines than they run in the race. They will run the engines for over 24 hours at full power on the bench, at least.
Bear in mind in the nineties F1 engines were being changed several times over a weekend, and often failed to last even a regular F1 race distance. Plus they were revving up to 20,000rpm and delivering over 900bhp in some applications. the 2014 engines will be running around 750bhp, and only revving to 16,000rpm, having a fair amount of power delivered by energy recovery systems. Plus of course, they’ll be thoroughly modern engines, designed using the latest technology and using the latest materials. Engine technology has moved on hugely in the past 20 years.
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