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A.C.O. announces 2009 rules
At Silverstone today the A.C.O. unveiled their long awaited 2009 rules. The main highlights include rebalancing the diesel vs. petrol equivalence, reduce costs, increase safety and postpone the next rule revision to 2011 instead of 2010.

Don Panoz, Patrick Peter and Stéphane Ratel were thanked initially to reinforce the link with the ALMS, LMS and FIA-GT series. Immediately afterwards, the headlines of the new rules were revealed. In the words of A.C.O. President Mr. Jean-Claude Plassart the rules intend to preserve “sportive competitiveness”, “safety improvement through speed reduction” and “cost reductions to ensure the preservation on motorsport” with special accent on environment areas (including noise) and economy of resources consumption. Le Mans also wants to profile itself as the big laboratory of new automotive technologies: hybrids, alternative energies, etc.

The rules were designed by an A.C.O. committee of 4 top executives advised by an engineering team. The guiding lines for the rules were the following:

1) A new equivalence in diesel vs. petrol engine performance for the LMP1 class.
2) Ensure equivalence in performance of open and closed prototypes, allow and encourage GT1 engine utilization in prototypes.
3) Maintain the performance differences between LMP1 and LMP2.
4) Make LMP2 and GT2 more accessible for privateers.

1) Reduce performance on all classes looking at a target of a 3.30 quickest lap around Le Mans.

Cost reduction
1) Increase tire change time to reduce tire consumption.
2) Allow only standard production engines in LMP2 (including GT2 engines)
3) Mandatory use of one engine for 2 races (exception made of the Le Mans 24 Hours)
4) Align GT1 and GT2 with FIA-GT rules for 2010

In the are of sustainable development there will also be measures including usage of eco-fuel, reduce tire consumption and noise reduction to a maximum of 110db in 2010.

For the 2011 rules (originally they were planned for 2010, more details tba 15th Nov)
1) A new set of revised rules will be issued in 2011, the A.C.O. has new aerodynamic studies in course to define this.
2) Usage of new technologies will be stimulated and promoted.
3) The CO2 emissions will have a substantial reduction.
4) Hybrids will be allowed to race for points as of 2010, 2009 will be a year of collaboration with constructors to define safety and equivalences.
5) Invitations for Le Mans might be issued in 2009 to hybrid cars but they will not be classified/earn points.
6) No revolutions, no fundamental modifications in current aerodynamics of LMP1 and LMP2
7) Both open and closed cars will be allowed

Daniel Poissenot gave more details on both areas:

For 2009:

LMP classes
-10.5% performance reduction in diesels
-Turbo pressure reduction (6.5%) and new restrictors (2 x 37.9mm) will achieve this
-10% restrictor reduction on LMP2, restrictors will have 0.3mm increase for cars with airco
-The rear wing measures will be reduced (150mm vertical x 250mm horizontal x 1600mm transversal with 20mm minimum Gurney flap)

GT classes
-The rules are still being discussed with FIA and constructors (Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, Corvette) for the final definition
-Minimum weight will be increased by 25kg in GT1 , 20kg in GT2
-Also a reduction of rear wings will be applied (25 mm min Gurney flap in GT1, 15mm in GT2)
-Restrictors will be reduced by 2% in GT1 , 5% in GT2
-32 degrees Celsius will be the maximum temperature allowed in the cockpit, no restrictor breaks whatsoever
-The cars will have to have 5mm extra ground clearance.

In general:
-The refueling and tire change will still be non-simultaneous procedures. The tire changes will only be allowed to be performed by 2 mechanics using only 1 gun.
-No pre-heating of tires will be allowed.
-1 engine must last 2 races in the LMS, ALMS and Asia series.
-A 112db noise limit will be implemented for 2009.
-The fuel for both diesel and petrol engines will have a 10% of bio-fuel.
-Rules will be created for hybrids in cooperation with constructors (e.g. the announced KERS system will be measured and controlled before defining rules)
-For 2010 homologated hybrids will be fully included in the rules.

Rules for 2011
- A significant reduction of engine capacity for LMP1. LMP1 will in fact use today’s LMP2 engines (and A.C.O. will stimulate their use/development as of 2009)
-LMP2 will be encouraged to use GT2 engines with the same restrictors as of today, this will be the rule in 2011.
-Aerodynamics will only have safety-based reviews, no fundamental changes to today’s rules when it comes to performance.

Finally Mr. Plassart announced the flexibility of the A.C.O. to slightly review the rules if valid reasons arise and are justified by the teams.

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