A quick look at what’s changed and what to expect at the opening round of the 2016 FIA-WEC racing series. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – April 11, 2016 2016 Porsche 919 Hybrid is ready to defend its 2015 FIA WEC Manufacturer Championship title throughout the 2016 racing season. The season opener at Silverstone is where it will all begin. The Silverstone 6 Hours is now a classic on the World Endurance Championship (WEC) sports car calendar. Since 2012, the race has been part of the FIA WEC. With its mix of high-speed corners, Silverstone represents a unique challenge for drivers and engineers while the British weather is traditionally unpredictable, as witnessed in 2014 when a heavy downpour ended the race early. For 2016, new regulations for the LMP1 category require manufacturers to use hybrid drivetrain and establish a direct link between performance and energy efficiency. This means that a large amount of energy from recovery systems may be used, but entails a proportional reduction in the permitted amount of fuel per lap. The quantity of fuel consumed in each lap is accounted for down to a hundredth of a gallon. The WEC allows engineers a great degree of freedom in terms of the hybrid drive concepts. The teams can choose between diesel and gasoline engines, naturally aspirated or turbocharged engines, various displacements, and one or two energy recovery systems. In this way, the regulations prevent the LMP1 cars from becoming faster, yet at the same time fuel the engineers’ efforts to generate more power from less fuel. Audi Audi will start to its fifth season in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) on April 17. On the 3.65 mile track at Silverstone near the UK town of Northampton, the brand will be contesting the season opener with two new LMP1 race cars. At last year’s event, endurance racing fans witnessed a thrilling competition, as the Audi drivers and their rivals overtook each other several times per lap. In the end, the brand with the four rings won. Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) were the fastest drivers last April, crossing the finish line with a 4.6-second advantage following a nail-biting race. Toyota TOYOTA-GAZOO Racing also heads to Great Britain this week for the eagerly-anticipated opening round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Silverstone. TOYOTA, starting its fifth season in WEC, will compete with its new TS050 HYBRID race car for the first time, taking on LMP1-Hybrid rivals Porsche and Audi as a nine-round battle for World Championship honors begins. In bright sunshine last year at Silverstone, the lead TS040 HYBRID completed 201 laps, or 735.3 miles, at an average of 122.1 mph including time lost for seven scheduled pit stops, during the six hours on its way to third place. TOYOTA has had a car on the podium at every Silverstone WEC race it has entered and expects to continue that run this weekend, demonstrating significantly improved competitiveness compared to the 2015 season. 2016 FIA WEC Audi R18 TDI-Hybrid For the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the Le Mans 24 Hours, Audi has redesigned their R18 from scratch with almost nothing in common with its predecessor. A new Li-Ion regenerative braking storage and new aerodynamics should improve efficiency with little to no loss of performance. It features even more advanced aerodynamics, the monocoque and the suspension are new, as well as many systems in the race car such as central hydraulics. For the 2016 racing season, the Audi LMP1 sports car is a vehicle that is more powerful and clearly more efficient than its predecessor. While the new R18 is Audi’s strongest race car to date, it consumes less fuel than any of the generations before it. About ten percent less from early testing. With the new hybrid system and around 1,000 hp of system output, the new R18 puts more power on track than any of its predecessors with a focus on maximum efficiency combined with high performance. The R18 now processes 50 percent more hybrid energy than its predecessor, storing it in a battery for the first time. 2016 FIA-WEC Toyota TS050 Hybrid The TS050 HYBRID features a new 2.4L direct-injected and turbo charged engine combined with 8MJ hybrid system to meet the 2016 WEC regulations, which limit fuel flow and total fuel energy consumed. The team will use the high-downforce specification TS050 HYBRID to meet the particular demands of Silverstone high-speed, sweeping corners. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing at the 6 Hours of Silverstone 2012 - #7: Qualifying 3rd; Race 2nd. 2013 - #7: Qualifying 1st; Race 4th. #8: Qualifying 2nd; Race 3rd. 2014 - #7: Qualifying 1st; Race 2nd. #8: Qualifying 5th; Race 1st. 2015 - #1: Qualifying 4th; Race 3rd. #2: Qualifying 6th; Race 4th. The new 2016 TS050 in race ready trim during trials. 2016 FIA WEC Porsche 919 Hybrid The Porsche 919 Hybrid powertrain concept consists of a 900+ hp, direct injected and turbocharged downsized 2.0L V4 gasoline engine and two different energy recovery systems that are more efficient than ever before. Although the 2016 regulations stipulate an eight percent reduction in fuel consumption, the 919 in early testing has almost equaled its lap times from the previous year at the official WEC Prologue in Le Castellet. For the six-hour race on the demanding Silverstone Formula One circuit, the prototype received aerodynamically optimized body work for high downforce in the fast corners. For the first time Porsche is fully exploiting the WEC regulations by deploying three different aerodynamic packages to make the car best suit to the respective race tracks. For 2016, the electric drive has become even more powerful and efficient. A powerful electric motor sits between the wheels up front powered by a new generation of in-house developed Li-Ion battery cells. The 2016 Porsche 919 chassis structure remains unchanged, as does the hybrid drive concept with its two different energy recovery systems (regenerative braking from the front axle and exhaust energy recovery). The 2.0L 90 degree V4 loses a bit of weight while driving the rear axle. Last season, the output of the combustion engine was well above 500 hp. But the 2016 regulations stipulate a lower amount of energy from fuel per lap and reduce the maximum fuel flow for prototypes. For the 2016 919, this means around eight percent less fuel and power which costs about four seconds for every lap of Le Mans. Through the new restrictions, the combustion engine has dropped to below 500 hp. The kinetic energy produced at the front axle when braking is converted into mechanical energy in a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) system and then converted to electricity and stored in a Li-Ion battery. The second regeneration system is installed in the exhaust tract, where the exhaust-gas stream drives a second turbine in parallel with the turbocharger. It uses excess energy from the exhaust pressure that would otherwise escape into the environment. The VTG technology used here – that is, the variable adaptation of the turbine geometry to the level of exhaust pressure – drives the turbines, even at low engine revs and low pressure. The additional turbine is connected to an electric generator. The electricity produced is also stored in Li-Ion battery. When the driver calls up the full-boost, additional power output of more than 400 hp will acelrate the car simailr to a 900+ hp race car. This power is applied to the front axle by the electric motor, and it temporarily transforms the 919 into an all-wheel drive car with system power of around 900 hp. For each circuit, the team works on developing the strategies for when and to what extent energy is recuperated and called up. Porsche 919 Hybrid Two energy recovery systems worth upwards of 400 hp plus a powerful 500 hp 2.0L drive last year’s Manufacturer champion. Li-Ion Battery Initially, Porsche was using KERS flywheels and supercapacitors for storage. For 2016, they are using an 800V Li-Ion storage battery. The FIA WEC regulations allow four levels of power recovery and use ranging from two to eight megajoules (MJ) of deployable energy. The calculation is based on the 8.45 mile lap of the Le Mans course, and is adjusted for the other eight racing circuits. The high level of efficiency of the combustion engine, the recovery systems and the energy storage enabled Porsche in 2015 to become the first and only manufacturer to choose the 8 MJ class. In this highest regeneration category, an FIA flowmeter device will limit the permitted amount of fuel per lap to 1.14 gallons of high octane gasoline. Engineers also have to take into account the fact that the more powerful the energy recovery and storage systems are, the bigger and heavier they tend to be. Next Sunday, the hybrid sports cars from Audi, Toyota and Porsche will be meeting again in a field of 33 participants. The Silverstone season opener will be the first assessment of where everyone stands.