2012 LeMans: Diesels slowed
The ACO has announced a significant reduction in performance of the diesel-powered LMP1 cars for 2012.
Issued in a technical bulletin on Monday, the ACO has cut the power of the turbo diesels by 7 percent, reducing the size of the air restrictor by 1.6 mm and taking away 200 mbar of boost. Fuel capacity has also been reduced from 65 to 60 liters.
These wholesale changes, which will not be in effect for next month’s Intercontinental Le Mans Cup season-ending Six Hours of Zhuhai, comes in the wake of the continued unrest in the current balance of performance from gasoline-powered teams, which have been unable to match the pace of their diesel counterparts this year's Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.
In 2012, the safety of all prototypes will be reinforced, and the equivalences between the different engines powering the LM P1 cars in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Le Mans Series and American Le Mans Series will be readjusted.
Following the undertaking given after the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the FIA have worked together to modify the Le Mans 24-Hours regulations which, in keeping with the agreement signed with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), form the basis of the rules governing the future World Endurance Championship.
Three main areas were at the centre of the discussions:
1. The equivalences between diesel and petrol engines
In this context, the ACO and the FIA carried out a wide-ranging study to analyze the performances of the cars, and then to decide on the appropriate measures to be taken. A number of tools were used in the context of this survey: readings by timing systems specially installed at Spa-Francorchamps and at Le Mans, some of which the teams entered for the Spa-Francorchamps 1000 km (7th May 2011) and the Le Mans 24 Hours (10-11 June 2011) were unaware of, the information provided by the data loggers installed on the cars this year and all the times recorded on the different circuits.
In addition, the engineers were contacted and asked to provide under guaranteed secrecy all the technical information about their engine.
Finally, all these data and analyzes were restudied, interpreted and validated to calculate the new equivalences.
- All the refuelling equipment will have the same flow.
- No modifications will be made to the petrol engines.
- The performance of the diesel engines will be pegged back by around 7% by decreasing the size of the air restrictors and the supercharger pressure. The diameter of the restrictors will be reduced from 47.4 mm to 45.8 mm for engines that have a single restrictor, and from 33.5 mm to 32.4 mm for those engines that have two. In addition, the supercharger pressure of the turbos will be reduced from 3 000 to 2 800 milibars.
- The fuel tank capacity of diesel-engined LM P1 cars will be reduced by 5 liters (65 to 60 liters).
Following the accidents in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours the ACO and the FIA have had fresh discussions, and have carried out new tests to improve the safety of the cars, the first priority of the FIA-ACO regulations. The following measures will come into force for the 2012 season.
After the work carried out by the FIA Safety Commission with the manufacturers/constructors the dorsal element on the engine cover, the shark’s fin, will become mandatory on all LM P1, LM P2 and FLM prototypes and openings will be made above the front and rear wheels.
To improve rearward visibility (with the exception of the LM P1s), the size of the rearview mirrors will be increased, and they must be equipped with a night mode as well as an electrical adjustment system that enables the driver in the cockpit to alter the rearview mirrors to meet his needs. The camera system at the rear will be mandatory on LM GTE cars and allowed on all the others.
3. Hybrid engines
The release of energy is allowed on the front wheels but only above 120 km/h. Safety measures concerning the specific brakes for hybrid engines have also been defined.
This extract is taken from a document called “Sporting guidelines 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship.” The complete sporting regulations will not be announced before the 30th November 2011 after the next meeting of the Endurance Commission scheduled for 21st November 2011.
FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
As previously announced, the FIA World Endurance Championship - in partnership with the ACO - will comprise a minimum of six events, including the “Le Mans 24 Hours”. Apart from this event, the duration of the races will be six to 12 hours. The Championship is exclusively reserved for Le Mans Prototype (LMP) and Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance (GTE) cars, although vehicles using technologies considered to be innovative may be admitted without scoring points.
FIA World Endurance Championship titles will be awarded to the champion drivers and manufacturer (reserved for the LMP1 category). In addition, a World Cup will be awarded to the winning LM GTE Manufacturer (including Pro and Am), as well as FIA Endurance Trophies to the winning teams in LM P2, LME GT Am, LM GTE Pro and best private LM P1.
For all events other than the Le Mans 24 Hours, points will be awarded according to the following scale for all categories:
1st 25 points
2nd 18 points
3rd 15 points
4th 12 points
5th 10 points
6th 8 points
7th 6 points
8th 4 points
9th 2 points
10th 1 point
And 0.5 point (awarded to any car classified lower than10th in the general classification)
For the Le Mans 24 Hours only, these points will be doubled.
In each category an additional point will be awarded to the car on Pole Position and each driver of its crew.
For 2012, the number 1 will be attributed to the manufacturer having won the 2011 LM P1 manufacturers’ title in the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.
Vincent Beaumesnil, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s Sports Manager: “Every year we progress by carrying out analyses to establish the equivalences between the different engines. The groundwork carried out with the FIA demanded in-depth research. Our main objective was not to put everybody on an equal footing in terms of performance (lap times), but to define the true potential of each of the competing technologies. In terms of security the work carried out in collaboration with the FIA and the manufacturers – who made a decisive contribution to our research – will reinforce safety even further. I can only say that I’m delighted with the efficient and rapid technical teamwork between the ACO and the FIA.”
Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, FIA Endurance Commission President: “The closeness of the collaboration between the FIA, its Endurance Commission and l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest, his highlighted by the excellent work that has been undertaken by all parties since the announcement of the new FIA Endurance Championship on June 3rd. This bodes well for a successful 2012 season when technical innovation will marry with sporting excellence to provide a memorable inaugural championship for so many fans and industry stakeholders."
The entrants in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the FIA World Endurance Championship and the various Le Mans Series have all been informed of these modifications to the rules. They will come into force at the first event on the 2012 calendar reserved for cars complying with the ACO technical regulations governing the Le Mans 24 Hours.