ACO to balance car performance ahead of Le Mans Following the Spa 1,000km the ACO issued an official statement revealing that it is considering adjusting the regulations to balance performance. It states that:
“The second round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup has just finished, and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has noted the performances of each of the cars entered. In view of the Le Mans 24 Hours (11 & 12 June 2011), the ACO technical staff having already foreseen the possibility of balancing the performances between the cars in each category after two races, are going to study this possibility in compliance with the technical and sporting regulations.
The aim of the ACO is not to introduce a permanent system of equalizing performances but to adjust, if necessary, the new regulations introduced this year after analyzing the results. Only the race results and not those in practice (free or qualifying) will be taken into account. These adjustments will be introduced as soon as possible in view of the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours”
There have been two major bones of contention this year, firstly the ongoing equivalency dispute between diesel engined cars and petrol engined ones and secondly the LMP2 regulations. The LMP1 regulations state that:
1. According to article 1.3 of the ACO Sporting regulations (ACO Sporting Regulation) : 2% maximum between the different power train technologies.
2. According to article 19 of the ACO technical regulations:
ART. 19 – Adjustment of the performance (ACO LMP Technical Regulation) The ACO wants to maximize the equality of performance between the LMP1s that use different types of engine and different fuels. For this purpose, the ACO reserves the right to adjust the following elements for each type of engine and/or each type of fuel: Minimum weight of the car ; Air restrictor sizes ;Fuel tank capacity. For these possible adjustments, only power and torque of the engine must be taken into account. Comparison between technologies as follows : Diesel 2011/Petrol 2011 ; Diesel 2011/Diesel 2010,; Petrol 2011/Petrol 2010 ; Petrol 2010/Diesel 2010.
The fastest race lap at Spa in 2010 set by a diesel car was 119.797 set by a Peugeot 908 HDI FAP. A Lola-Aston Martin was the fastest petrol car in the race with a 125.255 a difference of 4.55%
In 2011 that was 123.699 set by a Peugeot 908, the best petrol runner 128.970 a Lola-Toyota a difference of 4.26% so it seems likely that the ACO will penalize the diesels somehow to regain
In LMP2 the ACO regulations allow the following:
ART. 19 – Adjustment of the performance (ACO LMP Technical Regulation) The specifications defined at the beginning of the season can be changed after the first and / or the second race, if necessary, by the ACO to maximize equality of performance.
• The following elements can be modified for each model of car: Minimum weight of the car (handicap ballast) ; Air restrictor size ; Fuel tank Capacity ; Any other technical restriction that the ACO may deem necessary.
Comparison between technologies as follows : Different engines ; Cost capped cars / Non-cost capped cars
In GTE Art. 19 – Balance of performance (ACO GTE Technical Regulation) In order to maintain the gap between the different model of cars within a range of 0.5% of lap times, the ACO will keep the possibility to adjust the performance of the LMGTE cars.
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