Category Archives: FIA World Endurance Championship

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Announces Driver Line-Up For 2018 24 Heures du Mans (22.02.18)

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has revealed its full driver line-up for the 2018 running of the 24 Heures du Mans.

The Detroit-based manufacturer will be taking four examples of its Ford GT to the French classic, two from its entry to the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship and two from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

From the WEC entries, the #66 car driver paring of Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla, the two regular FIA World Endurance Championship drivers, will be joined by 2016 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS class champion Billy Johnson. The #67 Ford GT will be driven by regular drivers Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell and, joining them at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Brazilian IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan. Kanaan drove with Joey Hand and Dirk Müller at Le Mans in 2017, finishing 6th in the LM GTE Pro class.

From the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the #68 car will be driven by the regular season #66 car driver line-up of Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sébastien Bourdais. Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon will pilot the #69 car, the #67 car from the North American Championship.

The lights go out for 86th running of the 24 Heures du Mans on Saturday 16.06.18 at 15:00 local time.

Rebellion Racing To Campaign ORECA-Built Rebellion R 13 LMP1 In 2018/19 FIA WEC Super Season (05.02.18)

Swiss racing team Rebellion Racing, 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 champions, has announced that its LMP1 entry for the 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ will be an ORECA-designed-and-built chassis designated the Rebellion R 13. It will be powered by a Gibson engine.

ORECA Group CEO Hughes de Chaunac is delighted at how the project has developed.

“To design this new LM P1 prototype is a wonderful challenge” said de Chaunac. “When the design bureau began developing the ORECA 07, we really wanted to move up to the next level, one step higher compared to the ORECA 05. The successes achieved last year really motivated and convinced us to now tackle this highly competitive main category. Fitted with an atmospheric engine, this LM P1 will face a hard task against the Hybrid car but the Rebellion R 13 will be a very determined challenger.”

Continue reading Rebellion Racing To Campaign ORECA-Built Rebellion R 13 LMP1 In 2018/19 FIA WEC Super Season (05.02.18)

“We Believe That We’ve Created A Chassis That Is Class-Leading.” Ginetta’s Technical Director Ewan Baldry At Autosport 2018 (22.01.18)

The highlight of the 2018 Autosport Racing Car Show for many endurance racing enthusiasts was the presentation and launch of the new Ginetta G60-LT-P1, the new-for 2018 LMP1 car of which TRS-Manor has already announced it will take delivery of two examples for entry into the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’.

Ginetta Technical Director Ewan Baldry spoke additionally at the show to give some insight into the design and build of one the most exciting prototype projects for many years.

Below are some edited and summarised highlights from Ewan Baldry’s presentation.

Engine and Major Component Suppliers:

“Obviously we had designed an LMP2 car before, we had designed an LMP3 and the G58 and G57 cars which are prototype-based but to design a car like this and attempt to sell it for £1.3m, which is what the rolling chassis cost, without an engine, it’s quite a big ask and requires a good level of credibility. So it was logical for us to get on board with a good number of technical partners who could help with the credibility of that programme. The first on that list is Mecachrome. I was at the Cologne motorsport show last November and found their new GP2 engine on a turbo supplier’s stand. I got talking and went to visit them and found that they had assembled all the Renault Formula 1 engines since the year ‘dot’ right to now so they have a huge knowledge of wealth and experience and it’s been great to have them on board.”

“Xtrac is a no-brainer choice for a gearbox for this type of application.”

“The next one is ARS, a composites company. They’re Italian and they’ve had experience of manufacturing composites for programmes like this.”

“The next one is a special one for me. I started my motorsport career because when I was at university I came home after a night out and in those days Open University programmes used to be on the telly in the middle of the night. There was a programme about Reynard Racing Cars and at that point I decided that that’s what I wanted to do. Just a year ago I got introduced to Adrian Reynard who was my hero and we basically recruited their company to do our CFD services and I now count him as a friend which is great.”

“For the wind tunnel programme we chose Williams. I’m not sure you could choose anybody better. “

“And again, I think you would agree, some top-notch names; Öhlins for dampers, Bosch for the electronics, BBS for the wheels and AP for the braking equipment. “

Project Targets:

“Clearly the car has got to be reliable, it’s got to be serviceable and there are a lot of regulations around it as well. The real places where we could make a difference are aero-dynamically and the mass distribution of the car.”

“In terms of engine performance, again, it is relative given. The ACO have a fuel-flow method for controlling engine performance so they tend to cap engine performance by looking to cap the amount of fuel you’re allowed to use per hour so our real focus tended to start on the light weight of the vehicle and we were delighted the other day to put the car on the scales. You never really know until you’ve finished the car and put it on the scales how much it is going to weigh. The minimum weight limit when we line up on the grid at Le Mans this year is 833 kgs so that’s the minimum it’s got to be but your objective is always to make it as light as possible can so then you can apply ballast to the car which will give you performance in terms of the dynamic of the car. Also with a car like this, getting mass distribution forward is always a key requirement, a key focus and a key challenge too. The reason for that is obviously we need to work the front tyres in order to get the energy in them in order for them to heat up. It’s always a tricky thing to do so in order to do that you want to move weight, move ballast forward it gives the tyres more to do and obviously therefore enables them to warm and get into their key operating range.”

“So throughout the process I had to keep going to the CEO of the company to say can we spend a little bit more to take a little bit more weight out of the vehicle and the net result of that was we put the car on the scales the other day and it was 756 kgs. There was only a radio and a drinks system to go in there so we were miles under the 833 kgs target. The down side of that is that I then had to go to my boss and say you know I’ve been asking to spend a bit more money to make the car lighter. Well I now need to spend £25,000 on ballast to get the car up to the weight limit so it didn’t go down too well!”

Aero Package:

“What we’ve done is produced quite a high nose concept. If you look at the car and look down the gap between the side-pod and the front ‘elephant’s foot’ as we call it, you’ll see a void and the reason is to get the front end working first of all. Any aero designer will always start with the front splitter as they’re called, it’s more complex than a splitter, but they’ll start with that and the whole design feeds from that. They’ll focus on that bit first and that’s what we did. That said, we didn’t go quite as extreme as the Audi that never ran. They went really high nose for that but we needed to make sure we compromised slightly to ensure we had good driver comfort. We needed to make sure it was a bit more accessible so what we did was we built a wooden mock-up very early on that had a moveable foot-box and we got a range of drivers to sit in and arrived at what we thought was a good compromise and you will see the results over there. “

Aero Development:

“As I mentioned we used ARC in Indianapolis which is Adrian Reynard’s company and just to explain – they didn’t design anything for us – we design everything in-house at Ginetta. Our objective is always looking at the lift-drag ratio. That’s the result that we’re interested in – how much downforce we can generate for the amount of drag – there is a bit of a trade-off. So we did, I can’t totally remember, it must have been three or four hundred iterations of CFD throughout the programme of the car and it’s still on-going actually.”

“Once we’d arrived at what we thought was a good starting point for developing and testing further we then moved on to the wind tunnel programme.”

“A friend of mine who was an ex-F1 analyst travelled the world looking at various wind tunnel opportunities and decided to stay at home really and use Williams in the end and I’m really glad that we did. So we used Tunnel No1 at Williams which is where they won all the world championships. Tunnel 1 runs a 50% scale model. It has a moving table so it allows the car to yaw. So every time we did an iteration or a run of the car the model makers would make the changes to the car, they come out of the tunnel, the tunnel gets locked down, they press the button and start it and we record all the numbers. So at each iteration the car runs through a cycle – a complete range of pitch, a complete range of roll, a complete range of steer and also of yaw. So after every run we’d got a lift-over- drag number for each of those.”

“So the other key thing we did here – we took the decision to go with pneumatic tyres which again was an expensive decision to take but again with a car like this the flow of the car is so significant to the overall performance and the tyres affect that significantly. If you take a slightly cheaper route you take a solid carbon fibre wheel / tyre but it doesn’t deform in the way that a rubber one obviously does and when the car steers, pitches and rolls we want to try and get deformation so what happens is that the guys at Williams take the Michelin or the Dunlop tyre that we would use in real life and they perform a test where they load the tyre and look at the contact patch and change and then we use an Italian company to look at that and make us a model tyre – 50% tyre – from rubber and it get inflated and then they try to match that contact patch deformation that occurs so we get good representation of what is going on under the car.”

Engine:

“We also wanted to design it around a specific engine although other engines are available and the tub has been designed to accept other possible engine configurations as it’s a customer race car we’re selling. That said, we strongly would advise to go down the Mecachrome route – it’s been a fantastic process so far working with them and to that end as well as I’ll tell you about shortly, the gearbox has been designed to bolt straight to the engine so there’s no integral bell-housing which again gives us benefits in terms of structural stiffness, weight etc.”

“The base of the engine is the GP2 engine and the thing that appealed to us about it was that, first of all, it’s tiny but most of all I guess is that as part of the GP2 signing-off process they’ve had to do hours of durability testing as part of their contractual obligations for Formula 2. So all of the reciprocating components in the engine have gone through that durability programme. What we’ve done is turn the engine into GDI so it’s direct injection. The F2 engine isn’t. For Le Mans, to be competitive, you have to have good fuel efficiency so we had to switch to GDI which gives us 10% – 15% improvement in efficiency. But it is not the work of a moment and Mecachrome have spent all of the nine months that we’ve been developing the new car, developing g the new casting and the new cylinder heads for GDI. We fired up the engine for the first time last Tuesday before we brought the car here and I’m pleased to say it doesn’t sound anything like a Formula 1 engine. It sounds fantastic – it really screams.”

“It’s a ‘Hot V’ so the turbo sits in the V rather than on the flanks of the engine which has been really good for the cooling package and packaging in general.”

Gearbox:

“In terms of the gearbox we did look around but we decided to go with Xtrac for fairly obvious reasons as they’ve got an incredible pedigree at Le Mans and the 24 Hours. I don’t know what the numbers are but I guess that last year they must have had 75% of the cars on the grid. We’ve taken a gear cluster that has won Le Mans many times so we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. What we have done is twisted the cluster slightly to make it go further forwards and lower in the interest of the C of G. The other interesting thing is that, with Xtrac, we have designed our own casing so whereas other cars who use an off-the-shelf gearbox use an adaptor, our case is custom so it bolts straight to the back of the Mecachrome engine. “

Chassis:

“On to the chassis. To our knowledge, we’re not totally sure, but to our knowledge this is the first car to have Zylon panels integrated into it . Zylon panels are effectively mandated by the regulations – they’re effectively an impact resistant structure. And normally they get laminated and cured separately onto the chassis and the bonded on which means that you don’t really get much performance from them other than when the impact happens – if it happens. However the reason it’s done that way is that they generally don’t bond very well in testing of the systems that have been used previously. ARS, the company that we use, and the materials supplier have come up with a new resin system that has enabled them to co-laminate the Zylon into there. So we believe that we’ve created a chassis that is class leading. It weighs just under 60 kgs and our knowledge in terms of everything in LMP2 is that they’re around 75kgs’ I’m not sure what an Audi or a Toyota would be . I’m sure we’re knocking on the door of what they’ve achieved so we’re delighted with that.

“We Are Fighting Again For The Title” – AF Corse’s Alessandro Pier Guide And James Calado Reflect On The FIA WEC At Autosport 2018 (12.01.18)

Photo: www.fiawec.com

2017 FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro drivers champions James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guide were present on the opening day of the 2018 Autosport Show and gave their thoughts on their championship-winning season and the current state of sportscar racing.

Both Calado and Pier Guidi were immensely proud to have won the championship for AF Ferrari and AF Corse.

“It’s a great feeling to be World Champions,” said Peir Guidi. “To be world champion with Ferrari, it’s amazing. For an Italian driver even more. The GT Pro class is, I think, the best class at the moment in the WEC. It’s really amazing to be world champion”

James Calado was keen to explain how difficult their championship battle had been.

“It’s the World Endurance Championship,” said Calado. “The word ‘endurance’ is in there but it’s not an endurance race any more – it’s a flat-out sprint for six hours. Even the Le Mans 24 Hours is just completely flat-out and with one mistake you can fall right down the field. In general GTE Pro especially is extremely competitive. We had a very tight year. It wasn’t easy to win the world title this year. It went down to seven points in the end against our other rival manufacturers.”

“The championship is super-competitive. We had a great line-up of drivers and manufacturers in the championship. It’s only on the up and to be honest, it’s really difficult and very competitive. It’s really nice to get some proper racing in there.”

Calado explained that GTE racing has evolved considerably over the past few years.

“It’s changed a lot. You’ve got reliable cars. Obviously they do break down from time to time but, like I said, it’s flat out. You’ve got to be doing qualifying laps pretty much all the time – it’s that competitive. It’s makes it really enjoyable. Obviously it’s very tiring especially the Le Mans 24 Hours. We had a really bad race. We didn’t finish that one so we lost double points in that one so we had to climb and fight our way back all the way up to the end of the season where, luckily, we won.”

Calado was asked whether the rivalry with the sister car could have affected the outcome of the Championship.

“Between us as a team at Ferrari, we’ve got a great relationship,” said Calado. “There’s no rivalry like you get in Formula 1. We work together to get the best results possible. Ferrari won the manufacturers championship this year. We won the teams championship as well as the drivers title.”

“In Bahrain it was very close We had a good lead. We wanted to win but, to be honest, I just wanted to save the car so we just let the other car by. We crossed the line together so it was a very good year in general for Ferrari and we’re looking forward to this year’s battle again.”

Alessandro Pier Guide considered the Circuit of The Americas as the turning point for his and James Calado’s campaign.

“I think the best moment was Austin and it was the key to the championship.” Said Pier Guidi. “it was (the key to) winning the championship because after Le Mans we were down with the points then we had to recover. We won the race and we came back running for the title and that really was the key and the best moment of the season.”

 

 

“The whole year in general was obviously an amazing year but I think crossing the line in Bahrain to become world champions (was the best moment) – the emotion was surreal,” said James Calado. “Seeing all the guys in the team who worked so hard all year….. Obviously Alessandro as my new team-mate this year and we had a great year together so we’re really looking forward to this year’s WEC super season. We’re also joined up together at the Daytona 24 Hours at the end of this month.”

Calado is looking forward to the Rolex 24 at Daytna but does not under-estimate the challenge of the high banks of the International Speedway.

“It’s tough, especially coming off the banking because your right mirror’s completely blocked. You’re relying on your spotters and when you’re in in the night and it’s cold it’s really easy to make a mistake. It’s not as if you’re going slowly – you’re doing the just short of 200 miles an hour on those banks. So it’s tough. It’s quite a simple track. Obviously quite a lot of straight-line stuff. At the same time quite challenging with everyone so close. It comes down to the last hour normally where there’s a huge fight. Last year we were there and we’re looking forward to going back.”

Alessandro Pier Guidi once to win the FIA WEC title again in 2018 but there is another challenge that he wants to take overcome – Le Mans.

“Yes for sure, we are fighting again for the title but we’re looking to get a better result at Le Mans,” said Pier Guidi. “We will have two times to fight this year because in the WEC super season there are two 24 hours of Le Mans. It’s a great race and I would like to be at least on the podium. So let’s see for next year. We are in a good team – the world champion team. The world champion manufacturer and we will try to be here again next year but I know many things in the WEC will be more difficult so let’s try again.”

The 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship opens at Spa-Francorchamps on May 5.

Ginetta’s LMP1 Challenger Launched At Autosport Live (11.01.18)

Garforth, Leeds-based Ginetta Cars has launched its new-for-2018 LMP1 car, the G60-LT-P1 in front of a packed crowd at the 2018 Autosport Live at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England.

Ginetta Chairman Lawrence Tomlinson was on hand to present the new car, of which the company intends to produce ten chassis.

Also present to introduce the new challenger in the premier class of prototype racing was Ginetta Technical Director Ewan Baldry, Manor Endurance Racing Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon, Chairman of TRS, Zhang Yi and Vice President of TRS, Li Qiao.

Lawrence Tomlinson was delighted to present the car, which was first announced twelve months ago.

“I’m delighted to finally be able to unveil our latest machine to the motorsport industry, and what better time than at the start of our 60th year of manufacturing,” said Tomlinson. “Ginetta has a long history of international success with the G55 GT4, LMP3 and G57. The LMP1 will be a strong contender in the FIA World Endurance Championship and at Le Mans. We have a great team of design engineers in Leeds, have worked with some excellent partners on the project and can’t wait to show you what the LMP1 is made of out on track.”

When asked what his objectives were for the new car, Tomlinson was clear that he wanted to see the G55-LT-P1 win at the world’s greatest motor race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“We want to win at Le Mans and we want an outright victory in the WEC” said Tomlinson.

Ginetta has set an objective of producing ten chassis to support three two-car teams and expects to be straight-line testing the G60-LT-P1 within the next three weeks. The car has been designed to utilise the Mechachrome engine although the chassis can be adapted for other powerplants.

Maxime Martin To Join Aston Martin Racing For 2018 WEC Super Season (19.12.17)

Photo: astonmartin.com

31 year-old Belgian Maxime Martin is to join Aston Martin Racing for the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’.

Martin started in GT racing in the Megane Trophy and Clio Cup France in 2008 and has been a BMW factory driver since 2013, finishing eighth in the 2017 DTM Championship with BMW Team RBM.

“We’ve had an eye on Maxime for several years now, so we are delighted to welcome him to Aston Martin Racing,” said Aston Martin Racing Team Principal Paul Howarth. “He is an exceptionally talented GT driver and now he is the perfect addition to our high-calibre driver line-up.”

Martin is delighted at the opportunity to join Aston Martin Racing.

“I’m extremely excited to join Aston Martin Racing for the WEC Super Season.” said Martin. “I have driven other Aston Martin Racing cars in the past and have been in contact with the team for the past few years, but I am quite honoured to take the next step with this great manufacturer.”

“It’s a new challenge for me and also a big change, but I feel this is the right moment to make this move, especially with the race debut of the new Vantage GTE. I have competed at Le Mans three times before, but to come back again next year as an official Aston Martin Racing driver is an amazing feeling. I very much hope we can look forward to a lot of success together.”

The 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship opens with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5.