Le Mans 24 Hours
Audi have chosen the most efficient engine of the 3 manufacturers, a 4.0 V8 turbo diesel, and so their calculations say they need to rely less on the hybrid. The Audi system is a development of their 2013 solution, using a fast spinning flywheel to store the energy collected from, and redeployed to, the front axle. At around 200 BHP its the least powerful in the field but still more than current F1 (160BHP).
Toyota have used what they learned last year and added to it. Their supercapacitor system harvests energy from both axles and has the advantage of re-charging quickly. It also releases energy very quickly again through both axles, and linked with a normally aspirated V8 petrol engine, Toyota are admitting to the TS-040 producing over 1000BHP. ONE THOUSAND horsepower!
The Porsche 919 (say nine-nineteen)hybrid has been in development since 2010 and with a 2.0 litre V4 petrol engine would seem to have the most to do. However Porsche have supplemented a front axle motors system with energy recovered from the spinning turbo, all stored in a battery pack. This takes longer to recharge but has the advantage of longer deployment to help the engine and giving incredible top speeds.
All of these systems are using cutting edge electronic control systems for hybrid, throttle and braking functions. Already the lessons learned are breaking onto road car thinking. However the most important thing for all of us, at the track or on the daily commute, is that the new Sportscar regulations have produced 4 solutions from 4 manufacturers, (the three above and Nissan who join in 2015). Solutions that give us racing at 200MPH+ four times a lap at Le Mans, covering over 3500kms on one engine and gearbox, at lap times the same as last year but using 25-30% less fuel. Now that's a relevant dividend from racing! Oh and they sound great too!
You can join us at the race with the Radio Le Mans Travel Club. We have our own exclusive trackside camp site, and can also organise all your travel, wherever in the world you're starting your trip.