Honda and Wirth Research in new LMP1 and LMP2 sportscar programs California based Honda Performance Development, (HPD), and Wirth Research are stepping up HPD’s globally successful sportscar program in 2011 with a highly revised version of the internationally victorious HPD ARX-01c LMP2 prototype plus, more significantly, a striking new LMP1 contender designed to compete in the premier class at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Both newcomers take full advantage of Wirth Research’s groundbreaking ‘Development in the Digital Domain’ techniques. The application of innovative and environmentally friendly Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) produces quicker, more cost effective solutions to complex design scenarios than traditional wind-tunnel and physical testing techniques.
The capabilities and prowess of Wirth Research’s CFD techniques and HPD’s racing engines and systems were fully demonstrated by the outstanding successes of the HPD ARX-01c in 2010. The US-based Highcroft Racing entry captured the outright title in the American Le Mans Series while the sister Strakka Racing (photo) entered HPD AXR-01c not only scored multiple LMP2 class and overall victories in the Le Mans Series but also savored a remarkable debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours, taking top LMP2 honors and finishing an amazing fifth overall.
Now, building on those notable achievements, HPD and Wirth Research have developed the new HPD ARX-01d. Designed to meet the latest 2011 LMP2 regulations, the previous 3.4-litre normally aspirated V8 has been replaced with a new 2.8-litre twin-turbo V6 created once again by Honda Performance Development in California. A raft of technical changes and upgrades has been activated to accommodate this cost effective and efficient production-based V6 unit.
HPD’s all-conquering V8 engine, however, will be retained to power the HPD ARX-01e – a new prototype designed specifically to race at Le Mans. Though based on the class winning HPD ARX-01c, the HPD ARX-01e has been totally re-engineered to 2011 LMP1 specifications with bigger tires, revised mechanicals and new CFD developed aerodynamics.
“The results we achieved in 2010 speak for themselves and underline the belief we have in our unique process of Development in the Digital Domain. Now we have taken full advantage of the flexibility and efficiency offered by these advanced CFD technologies to develop our hugely successful sportscar program in two different directions,” explained Nick Wirth, Technical Director of Wirth Research.
“We are immensely proud with the successes we enjoyed in 2010 on both sides of the Atlantic but a new year brings new rules, new challenges and new opportunities,” continued Wirth. “With the HPD ARX-01d we are confident that we have developed a car capable of taking over where its predecessor left off and thus remaining the dominant force in the LMP2 category. Adding to this, the introduction of the HPD ARX-01e – the first car we have designed specifically for Le Mans – gives us a realistic chance of scoring an even more impressive outright result at 24 Hours.”
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