Toyota has announced Fernando Alonso will test their LMP1 TS050 car at the Bahrain International Circuit tomorrow.
The news is the clearest sign yet that the two-times world champion is seriously considering an entry in the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours with the Japanese manufacturer. Alonso is present in Bahrain for this weekend’s World Endurance Championship season finale.
IMSA i WEC 2018/19 (sportski prototipovi)
Posted 18 November 2017 - 22:49
Posted 19 November 2017 - 21:13
Fernando Alonso said he was very impressed with Toyota’s World Endurance Championship car after testing it for the first time in Bahrain today.
The McLaren driver, who is tipped to enter next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours with the Japanese manufacturer, said he was particularly impressed with the car’s performance over a long run.
“It was a great day,” said Alonso. “Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive.”
“They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing. I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that so I am happy.”
Alonso completed 113 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit in the TS050, covering more than 600 kilometres. His best lap time was 1’43.013. The quickest time set by the team during this weekend’s World Endurance Championship round at the track was Mike Conway’s 1’39.517 set during qualifying.
Conway was also among those driving for Toyota today, covering 64 laps. Sebastien Buemi, another of the team’s regular drivers, did a 10-lap run and 19-year-old rookie Thomas Laurent was given 31 laps in the car.
Posted 22 November 2017 - 03:33
INSIGHT: Developing the 2018 Vantage GTE
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
By Stephen Kilbey / Images by Aston Martin
Aston Martin's 2018 Vantage GTE is new in every sense of the word – it features just five carry-over parts from the previous car.
It's visually striking, more aggressive aerodynamically, armed with a turbo-charged Mercedes engine – and after its performance in testing, Aston Martin Racing believes it will immediately be able to challenge for wins and titles against the ever-growing manufacturer pack in the GTE Pro category.
"I've seen it from its early stages, and the development it's been through... it's become more gorgeous," Jonny Adam told RACER. "It's one of the most beautiful cars Aston has ever produced, and that goes for the road car as well as the race car. It's so different from the current car, it's so aggressive – and when you hear it you'll be surprised by the noise."
Aesthetics aside, Adam feels that the improvements made will put the new Vantage on par with Ford, Porsche, BMW and Ferrari's newest challengers at the top level of GT racing in performance terms, too.
Adam, along with newly signed factory driver Alex Lynn, Darren Turner, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen, have all tested the car, and had input into the development direction back at AMR's base in Banbury, too.
They've spent extensive amounts of times helping tweak the cockpit design, the steering wheel, seating position and pedal box, ensuring that it's as drivable as possible, and attractive for both professional and amateur racers.
"We've spent quite a few hours with the design team to go through refinements, and helping improve the cockpit, the driveability," Adam said. "Little things like getting in and out of the car. We want it to be easy for pros, and importantly, for customers. You need gents [gentlemen drivers] to be able to get in and out quick, and make it user-friendly inside.
"We're also in these cars for a long time, so we need them to be comfortable. It's important to get that right. It's nice to get involved in that process, and have your opinion heard. We've improved so much from the first initial design stage.
"There's a lot of box-ticking, because as drivers in the Pro class, we can easily forget that customers will be using this soon, so for them, it needs to be easy.
"The way I would pitch the new car to a customer is like this: The visibility is much better. We sit lower and further back compared to the old car, so we feel a lot more in the car. It improves the center of gravity. The vision is out front and through the windows and mirrors is better, we can see a lot more of the apex and a lot more spread through the windows. Even getting in the car, because the seat is so far back, is a lot easier, because of the size of the doors. It's a lot longer, and it means that any Am can get out quick in a driver change.
"Even the dashboard is a lot squarer – it doesn't have a hump like the current car which takes vision out of the windscreen. It also has lit-up buttons and panels, and an adjustable pedal box too, for the first time. It caters for everyone, and will see you be more consistent over a stint as a result. And that's factoring in only improvements to the cockpit."
The move to a turbo-charged AMG-derived V8 is also a big one, after years spent with the meaty naturally-aspirated 480 bhp V8. This is a seismic change in philosophy, one that has spread across GTE, to the point where next year, in GTE Pro and GTLM in the States, only the Corvette C7.R and Porsche 911 RSR will run with naturally-aspirated power units.
New arrival Alex Lynn is pleased with the decision, because coupled with the car's enhanced aerodynamics, he feels it suits his driving style. Prior to climbing aboard the new Vantage, Lynn only drove the outgoing Vantage for a handful of laps at the 2016 Bahrain WEC Rookie Test. However, it was enough to get acclimatized, and he could immediately feel the difference when he first climbed aboard the new car.
"It drives differently to a naturally-aspirated engine," he said. "But the characteristics of a turbo engine suit my driving style, it's like the M6 I drove at the N24 this year, which was a turbo as well. I personally enjoy driving turbo-powered cars. It means that you focus on preparing the corner exit, as you get more back than before, more of a performance gain. It's a challenge, and it rewards a smoother driver.
"But while it is challenging, it's much more drivable than the old car – it's easier and more user-friendly, it meant I got up to speed quicker. It also has more downforce, which I'm more used to in prototypes and single-seaters. It's a big step up in GT terms and it brings AMR on par with the other big factories."
Adam, however, isn't sure just how much of an advantage running a turbo-charged car is in the WEC.
"We saw at Shanghai for instance, how amazing the racing was, between the turbos and naturally-aspirated cars," he said.
"Is it a big advantage? We're not sure yet, but there's certainly an improvement in terms of torque. The key is that it's drivable, you want the throttle input to be good, and in all conditions, wet, dry, cold or hot."
And, of course, by its nature, the new engine produces a very different sound to that of the current Vantage, though Adam was quick to assure RACER that for those who attend the races, the new Vantage will still be a favorite for fans noise-wise.
"In terms of noise, once you hear it in person you'll be surprised, it sounds nice," he explained. "It's a different noise to the old V8, but I was surprised the first time I heard it that it's still got punch. And to be fair, the competition has gone turbo-powered and Aston Martin wanted it that way with their new cars too, so we decided to have that in the car."
The VP (Verification Prototype) development car – the only one currently in existence – that was shown off at the London launch is the latest of many iterations, stemming from the extensive testing program which has seen the car shaken down multiple times in the UK at Turweston and Pembrey, and pushed to the limits at Snetterton, Pembrey, Aragon, Rockingham, Andalusia (where the team completed 30 hours of non-consecutive running), Sebring and for the first time in AMR history, in a 30-hour non-stop run at Navarra.
All of Aston Martin's factory drivers have taken turns behind the wheel during this time, and Beechdean AMR ELMS GTE driver Ross Gunn was also involved in the early stages.
"Darren was part of the first test, he was the first to drive it, and I was there, and I witnessed how happy he was," Adam explained. "It felt like a new era straight away. So much effort went in from AMR, and it was quite nice to see how much it meant to everyone to just get it out and drive it.
"Then I got in, and immediately I noticed just from pulling away how different it feels. It's very nice, though. It put me on a high, and it helped that it ran so well on its first shakedown, too. There's been so many steps since then, right the way up to the test at Sebring this month. It performs and drives better each time.
Lynn, who was involved in the team's 30-hour run in Spain, agrees, telling RACER that so far the new Vantage has proven to be reliable out of the box, as well as fast.
"The mentality at the 30-hour test was to keep it out of the garage while we simulated a full 24-hour race with a few extra hours bolted on," he said. "As you can imagine with a new car, that's difficult. I think when any factory takes on a 30-hour test, no matter how big or small, it's big task, but it went really well.
"We also got a feel for how the car performed at night there, as it was in the winter and the circuit has zero light. It was pitch black, and that was beneficial. The visibility was good, really good, the lights are stunning; I suppose though, that being a young guy helps, too!
"Then we headed to Florida. We didn't do an endurance test at Sebring, but we did lots of consecutive long runs and ensured that the car didn't have to be pushed out of pit lane for checks."
Adam echoed Lynn, telling RACER that during his time in the car, there have just been a few minor issues.
"There were a few niggles, but the actual running of the car has been great, at every test," he said. "The most impressive part is that they've done a 30-hour test already. Reliability-wise we're on schedule. Don't get me wrong, there will probably be niggles along the way, but we feel on top of things. We think we can win races right away with it.
"There's such a good vibe at AMR because of how well this has gone, and I'm sure that'll translate into next year."
Posted 22 November 2017 - 03:36
Mazda continues hectic DPi testing program
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
By Marshall Pruett / Images by Mazda Motorsports
Mazda Team Joest has kept the angry little four-cylinder turbos alight during an intensive testing regimen in Florida with its RT24-P DPis.
The Multimatic-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship prototypes have sprinted back and forth between Daytona International Speedway and Sebring International Raceway in recent weeks, often leaving one facility as its rivals at Acura Team Penske are loading in or packing up.
Although no official lap times have been posted, rumors of speeds at or below the pole positions set at both circuits in 2017 would suggest the program is making the kind of strides it sought after splitting with its former partners at SpeedSource and taking the remainder of the year off to redevelop the RT24-P platform.
"Mr. Joest and I had a chance to be together a few weeks ago in Germany and from what we've seen in testing, with the entire effort Multimatic has put forth with aero, suspension, and cooling optimization updates to the RT24-Ps, we're pleased with all of the work and processes we've seen," Mazda motorsports director John Doonan told RACER.
"We've had drivers giving direct back-to-back comparison of what we had before to what we have now, the car has been completely transformed. We're encouraged we'll be able to fight at the front and vie for wins and championships. This is exactly what we've been planning to do."
Addressing the RT24-P's speed deficits is only part of the overhaul being conducted by Mazda's partners. The search for greater reliability through on-track testing and off-track durability runs has also been part of the Mazda Team Joest reboot.
"We met first with Multimatic about what was needed, and there were some areas that had options for improvement, and one was improving the overall environment the RT24-P's engines live in," Doonan explained. "They did a massive amount of studies and had a lot of input from AER on improving the climate for the engine, and that will help, and AER has done long runs on the dyno to complete Daytona, complete Sebring, and give us the best chance of finishing where we want to be."
The revamped RT24-P program, with the Nos. 55 and 70 entries, will have its driver roster confirmed and other key aspects of the Joest-led effort revealed between the holidays.
"We take what we do in motorsports to tell our story to the broadest audience possible," Doonan said. "And we'll be making an announcement that won't be ready for the Thanksgiving table, but will be here before Santa arrives."
Last year, the RT24-P project was launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Posted 23 November 2017 - 01:17
Predstavljen sluŽbeni poster za 24 sata Lemana 2018 izdanje
Posted 01 December 2017 - 04:10
Stroll among those confirmed for Jackie Chan DC Daytona entry
Thursday, 30 November 2017
By Marshall Pruett / Image by Glenn Dunbar/LAT
Canadian Formula 1 driver Lance Stroll will partner with FIA Formula E drivers Felix Rosenqvist and Robin Frijns, along with GT driver Daniel Juncadella, to form part of Jackie Chan DC Racing's two-car Rolex 24 at Daytona lineup.
Coming off a starring role at the 24 Hours of Le Mans where the team nearly took the overall victory, the LMP2 class winners should pose a formidable threat to capture America's most prestigious 24-hour race.
"We are going to Daytona to enjoy, compete and of course try and win," said the Williams Grand Prix driver, who made his one and only Rolex 24 start in 2016 with Chip Ganassi Racing. "I always want to be best and most competitive I can be. I'll be out there with some of my buddies in the same car and it is going to be a pleasure to do this race again as I just love to race. We are the four young guns so it will be great fun I'm sure because we go way back together."
Stroll's introduction to Daytona came in a Ford-powered Daytona Prototype filled with a hand-picked all-star lineup that included Alex Wurz and Brendon Hartley. His return in an ORECA 07-Gibson WEC P2 model with drivers at similar stages of their budding careers will add a new element for the Montreal native.
"A big part of Daytona is who you share the car with so I'm really looking forward to it," he added. "There won't be any fuel or tire management to worry about, and it will be racing hard and racing in traffic which I will enjoy. I've heard a lot of great things about the Jackie Chan team so I can't wait to be a part of it. I am really grateful to Williams for realizing I want to keep my racing sharpness through the winter and letting me race at Daytona."
The full lineup for the second Jackie Chan DC Racing entry has yet to be revealed.
Posted 05 December 2017 - 00:17
Montoya 'having a blast' with new Acura DPi ride
Monday, 04 December 2017
By Marshall Pruett / Images courtesy of Acura
Juan Pablo Montoya loves his Acura ARX-05 DPi. It's as serious and simple as that.
In his three decades of professional racing, Montoya has driven just about everything one could dream of. Formula 1 cars with phenomenal power and sound. IndyCars that flirted with 240 mph on big ovals. Stock cars that, well, do whatever they do, and Grand-Am Daytona Prototypes, with their GT-cars-on-steroids charm.
Montoya even tested Porsche's 1000-plus horsepower 919 Hybrid LMP1 car, which he also loved, but we've never heard the two-time Indy 500 winner rave about a car like he has with the ORECA 07 LMP2-based Acura ARX-05. Known for his no-nonsense ways, the Colombian isn't one to heap praise on something where it doesn't belong.
It makes the 42-year-old's unabashed appreciation for the new mount he'll share with Dane Cameron a rather refreshing thing to hear.
"I'll be honest, 100 percent, I've driven some different ones; some have been a lot of fun, some hasn't been so much fun. You can ask anybody that was at the first test that the smile on my face when I was getting out of the car was unreal. I loved it," JPM told RACER.
"You can hustle the hell out of it. The car really rewards driving hard and pushing it. For me, that's unbelievable. Nowadays, most of the racecars you've got to sissy them around and be nice and just drive them on 80 or 90 percent because if you drive them too hard, the tires go. And this Acura, honestly, the more you ask for it, the more will give you. It's unbelievable."
Adding to the purity of Montoya's love for his new IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship career is the motivation that led to his full-time presence in the No. 6 ARX-05. Known for his miserly ways, all those years of earning in F1, NASCAR and IndyCar made it possible for Montoya to retire after the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season when he was replaced at Team Penske by Josef Newgarden.
Without a genuine need to keep going – especially in a sports car series with a smaller profile – the 1999 CART champion could have walked away from the sport. Instead, he chose to continue and, as he reveals, his raw enthusiasm for IMSA's DPi formula helped Penske IndyCar teammate to find peace in hos own transition from open-wheel to the new Acura program.
"For me, that's why I do it," Montoya continued. "If I didn't like the car, I'd go do something different with my life. But to have the opportunity to be in this project and commit to it and to have the pleasure of driving the car is so good, the performance side of the car is incredible.
"I was talking to Helio [Castroneves] and he said, 'The fast corners, how fast can I go through?' I said, 'As fast as you feel like.' He said, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'Honestly, the car will take it and you go through these fast corners and it's like, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. It didn't move. It didn't move. It didn't move.'
"And you push more. It still doesn't move. When you have a feeling like that, oh. And then you put new tires on and you go for it more. And you've still got room. It's like, how the hell could you not want to drive this car? Helio, his mind was blown, and then he drove it and felt what I was talking about. And he loves it too."
Shifting from years of racing spec models in IndyCar and NASCAR to helping Acura Team Penske develop the ARX-05 DPi has also rekindled something warm within Montoya.
"It's so user-friendly and it's so much fun. The other thing I loved is that it's back to a real car, where if you need to develop something, you can," he said. "We can develop the traction control and the braking and this and that and you can make it downshift the way you want to. You can change everything the way you want it and that's just a pleasure. That's pretty exciting, to be honest. I'm having a blast right now, for real."
Posted 07 December 2017 - 13:32
Mazda, Jarvis return to Daytona with Team Joest
Tuesday, 05 December 2017
IMSA News Wire / Image by Alexander Trienitz/LAT
The last time most in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddock saw the pair of Mazda RT24-P Daytona Prototype international (DPi) racecars was at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July, and a lot has happened since then.
Today, the pair of revised Mazda DPis were on track alongside 16 other WeatherTech Championship racecars on the first day of a two-day IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona International Speedway. It was the first "public" appearance for the cars, Mazda Team Joest and some of the team's drivers – including 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona GT winner and 2013 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring overall winner Oliver Jarvis.
Jarvis was introduced last week as one of the four full-time drivers for the team in 2018, joining Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez and Harry Tincknell. And for his part, he's thrilled to be in the WeatherTech Championship.
"It's a dream for me to be here full time," Jarvis said. "I've always wanted to come over to the States and run here. When I got the call from [Mazda Director of Motorsports] John [Doonan], it was a very easy decision to make. I wanted to be here, I wanted to be a part of the Mazda team. IMSA has gone from strength to strength with so many DPi cars. It's probably the strongest field I've ever seen, but with the team we've got, I think we've got a great chance."
Mazda Team Joest did test at Daytona last month, but this was Jarvis' first day back at Daytona in a few years. He joined the team for a recent test at Sebring International Raceway, though, and likes what he has seen thus far.
"The car is still very new, we're still learning every time we go out, but so far everything is positive," Jarvis said. "The car has run well and I'm very happy with the balance. It's the second test for me with the team, I drove at Sebring and then here at Daytona.
"It's very hard to compare because it's completely different tires between the two tracks, but I have to say this test has already been a big step up from Sebring. The team has had time for a little more preparation and we've hit the ground running."
Posted 07 December 2017 - 18:53
WEC confirms LMP1 revisions
Wednesday, 06 December 2017
Marshall Pruett / Image by JEP/LAT
The FIA World Motor Sport Council has ratified the plans fashioned by the ACO and World Endurance Championship to keep its LMP1 class moving forward after the near collapse of the manufacturer-based Hybrid category.
Among the confirmed items, the shift to what the ACO/WEC refer to as a 'super season' that starts in May of 2018 and continues through June of 2019 has received a green light. With only Toyota left to represent LMP1 Hybrids and a larger number of privateer-based LMP1 entries expected next year, the ACO/WEC has dropped the awarding of a Manufacturers' championship for its top prototype category and replaced it with a Teams' title.
With the championship now geared for individual entrants, only the top car from each team at every round will earn points towards the Teams' title. Another adjustment for the class comes in the allowance for current and future LMP1-H manufacturers to supply privateer LMP1 teams with the same internal combustion engines found in their cars. At present, only Toyota would apply, but the opportunity to generate income by powering non-hybrid LMP1 cars could serve as an enticement to bring competition for the Japanese brand.
In another development, the ACO/WEC has suggested manufacturer branding on a privateer LMP1 using its engine could be permitted. It's a sharp turn from its strict adherence to keeping manufacturers out of the non-manufacturer LMP1 grid.
Yet another attempt to make both types of LMP1s perform at an equal level – something that failed in every previous iteration – has been avowed as the lack of manufacturers has forced the ACO/WEC to cater to its privateers.
One more change has been made where all manner of service will be permitted at the same time during pit stops. This ends the prolonged procedure of waiting for refueling to be completed before tires can be changed. It also means that swapping drivers will need to happen with greater urgency when fuel and tires are taken.
Finally, an extra helping of points will be given at Le Mans (50 percent) and at Sebring (25 percent) when the WEC holds its own race two hours after the competing of the 2019 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours event.
"The format of the 2018-2019 'Super Season' and the new system of allocating points depending on the different races as well as the notion of a single car, the highest placed of two entries entered by the same team, guarantees a hotly-contested championship and close competition between the teams," said ACO president Pierre Fillon. "The structure of this new championship looks promising."
Fillon's counterpart, WEC CEO Gerard Neveu, was buoyed by the changes.
"While we wait for the very encouraging 2020 regulations, these new regulations for 2018-19, together with the positive feedback we have had from teams about the 'Super Season,' will guarantee an incredible level of competition in LMP1," he said.
"With no fewer than five GT manufacturers in LMGTE Pro, and increased interest at this stage from gentleman drivers in LMP2 and LMGTE Am, things are looking good for fans of endurance racing in particular, and motorsport in general! We can't wait for 2018 to arrive."
Posted 11 December 2017 - 19:16
Panoz/Green4U Garage 56 program in doubt for 2018
Monday, 11 December 2017
By Stephen Kilbey
The ACO announced today that the applications process for the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours is now open, ahead of revelation of the full entry list in February. As teams across the globe begin putting plans together to file an entry, RACER has learned that Panoz's Green4U GT-EV Garage 56 project, which was revealed at Le Mans this past June, is now in doubt for a 2018 debut.
At Le Mans, Panoz founder Don Panoz explained that the plan was to compete at Le Mans with the new all-electric car in 2018. The Panoz Green4U GT-EV has been designed to run at Le Mans at a pace similar to GTE cars in 50-minute stints during the race, with a tandem cockpit, a low-drag body and a swappable battery pack using hybrid battery technology.
"We're the candidate for Garage 56 next year, and as far as I know, the ACO doesn't have any other candidates," he said.
However, it appears that the ambitious Green4U Garage 56 entry is not yet a fully confirmed project for next year, as a spokesperson for the project explained to RACER today:
"While Don did say at the 2017 Le Mans race that we are a candidate for Garage 56 in 2018, that statement was more of a forward-thinking position reflecting his desire to prove the Green4U Panoz Racing GT-EV concept on the racetrack and hopefully at endurance racing's greatest venue.
"Don's hope is to prove the GT-EV as a Garage 56 entry much like he did with the DeltaWing in 2012. But it's very important to communicate that we have not officially been granted a future Garage 56 slot, whether 2018 or beyond.
"Discussions have been ongoing since our reveal last summer and we hope to have news to share soon, but it would be inaccurate and premature to say at this time that we're a Garage 56 entrant."
However, should it not be be granted a Le Mans entry, Panoz/Green4U hinted that there would be plenty of other opportunities to prove the concept on track.
"There's a lot of other races that would love to have this car in," Panoz told RACER back in June. "It won't run for points, but they would love the attraction of an all-EV sports car. It could run at the Nurburgring (24 Hours), Spa (24 Hours), Daytona (24 Hours), Sebring (12 Hours)."
Posted 12 December 2017 - 15:54
LMP1 program, driver line-up tipped for Rebellion
Monday, 11 December 2017
By Stephen Kilbey / Image by JEP/LAT
Swiss-flagged team Rebellion Racing's 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship driver line-up is coming together, according to a French media report.
Auto Hebdo lists six drivers, including three drivers with extensive experience with the team: Bruno Senna and Mathias Beche, who raced with Rebellion's LMP2 squad in 2017 (pictured), together with potential team returnee and 2016 FIA WEC drivers champion Neel Jani. Also linked to the team's 'Super Season' program is the team's Petit Le Mans star and 2016 LMP2 drivers champion Gustavo Menezes, multiple Le Mans winner and former WEC champion Andre Lotterer and 2017 Le Mans LMP2 class winner Thomas Laurent.
All six drivers are either Gold or Platinum rated, pointing firmly to confirmation of an LMP1 program for the outfit.
RACER sources in the driver market point to just two of the drivers being fully confirmed, Senna and Jani seemingly already contracted to the team for 2018/19.
Confirmation of the team's plans is most likely to come on Wednesday with the team's end-of-year party and sponsor event in Switzerland, but the cat may already be out of the bag after the Auto Hebdo story was retweeted by a senior member of Rebellion management.
If the expected announcement of a two-car LMP1 effort is confirmed it will see the current number of 2018/19 LMP1 entrants rise to nine. Currently Toyota Gazoo Racing and SMP Racing are set to race with two cars apiece, in addition to TRS Racing/Manor, DragonSpeed and ByKolles' previously confirmed single-car efforts.
Posted 16 December 2017 - 16:19
BMW sets IMSA, WEC line-ups
Friday, 15 December 2017
By Stephen Kilbey / Image by Peter Burke/LAT
BMW Motorsport has announced its full driver line-ups for its works FIA WEC and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship M8 GTE programs in 2018.
For its BMW Team RLL IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM program, as was previously announced, American Connor De Phillippi will race, along with John Edwards, Alexander Sims and former BMW Motorsport Junior Jesse Krohn.
Meanwhile, new BMW NA Brand Ambassador Bill Auberlen, Nick Catsburg, Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus will also drive for the team in the four IMSA endurance races at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.
"In Connor De Phillippi, we have brought another absolute GT specialist into the team," said BMW Motorsport head Jens Marquardt. "I am also pleased to see our former BMW Motorsport Junior Jesse Krohn promoted to the works program. At this point, I would like to once again express my respect for Bill Auberlen.
"No other driver has been as closely associated with BMW as he has. Four hundred races for one manufacturer – that is unique."
And for its BMW Team MTEK FIA WEC effort, which will debut the M8 GTE in the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa next May, the regular drivers will be Catsburg, Farfus (who will also race full-time in DTM with BMW), Antonio Felix da Costa and Martin Tomczyk.
Over the course of the season, they will be supported at individual races by BMW works drivers Tom Blomqvist, Eng and Sims.
"The drivers in our WEC squad have been intensely involved in the development work on the BMW M8 GTE from the outset," said Marquardt.
"The combination of GT experience and race talent means we are ideally positioned to achieve good results in our first season in uncharted territory."
Posted 16 December 2017 - 16:21
Mecachrome LMP1 engine tech specs released
Friday, 15 December 2017
By Stephen Kilbey / Image by Mecachrome
Mecachrome Motorsport has released the technical specification of its 2018 LMP1 engine, and hinted at the possibility of developing an an engine for use in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition.
Its FIA WEC V634P1 LMP1 engine is a a 3.4-liter turbocharged V6, which will be available for the 2018/19 'Super Season.' Thus far though, none of the five confirmed privateer teams have announced that they will be using it for their efforts.
The V6 in the LMP1 will include a single turbo similar to the F2 engine Mecachrome has developed. To optimize the maximum output, direct injection (250 bars) will be installed for the LMP1 engine. The turbo, combustion chamber, piston and engine valve will also be modified.
Most of the engine components are produced internally at the Mecachrome factory in Aubigny sur Nere, France, with the exception of the valve spring (NHK, Japan), steel valve (Zanzi, Italy), and the piston and conrod (Pankl, Austria).
"The project for this new V6 engine started about two and a half years ago," Mecachrome motorsport director Bruno Engelric said. "We agreed to build new engines for the GP3 Series and FIA Formula 2 Championship, so when the LMP1 program was launched, it was obvious that this engine would be the perfect basis.
"Obviously, in the WEC LMP1 privateer class, we will have a lot of competition, so we really have to push the limits. We've had to adapt many aspects of the Mecachrome engine and aren't limited by rules – our development is only restricted by whatever the team we're supplying's budget is.
"The single turbo will be in the centre of the "V," and will be very different to the one used in F2. We investigated the possibility of running a twin-turbo, but because of the size of the engine we believe that just one large one will be best.
"We should have a good comparison after Le Mans, we already have a list of parameters to play with. It's a very exciting prospect and we look forward to welcoming any new teams who may want to work with us."
Alongside its LMP1 program, Mecachrome has also revealed it is looking at the necessary modifications to build an engine (based on the 3.4-liter V6) for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
"Following a discussion with the IMSA management team, Mecachrome Motorsport now understand the technical specifications which would need to be matched if they were to use the P1 engine as a basis for a DPI project, and also the budget restrictions in which this would need to be achieved," a Mecachrome spokesperson said.
"Mecachrome also understand how this could be done keeping within the spirit of the championship, and are ready to start discussions with any manufacturer that may be interested in badging the engine for use in a program."
Here are the V634P1 engine technical specifications:
- 6 cylinders
- Single turbocharger in "Hot Vee" configuration
- 180-degree Twin Scroll turbine
- 95-degree Vee angle
- "Split pin design" crankshaft
- Direct and port injection system
- Lean burn combustion system
- Displacement 3396cm³ (207.2in³)
- Bore x Stroke: 96mm x 78.2mm (3.78in x 3.079in)
- 4 valves per cylinder
- Finger Follower actuated valves
- Brushless electronic throttle barrel command
- Bosch MS6.4 ECU
- Dry sump
- Full stressed engine construction
- High strength aluminium, fully machined crankcase, sump, timing drive cover and cylinder head covers.
- High strength steel wet liners
- Mix gear / chain timing drive and ancillaries drives
- Max rev. 9000rpm
- Peak power (@110 kg/h WEC fuel): 650 BHP @ 7000rpm
- Max torque (@110kg/h WEC fuel): 650 Nm @ 6000rpm