New regs will force fuel conservation with near unlimited hybrid additions while reducing restrictions on the ICE.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Jun 23, 2012
The future with Audi’s turbo diesel hybrid LMP1 entrant and eventual winner of this years 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s releases its 2014 LMP1 prototype regulations.
The technical regulations governing the Le Mans 24 Hours will also govern the Le Mans Series in LMP1 starting January 1st 2014 in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the American Le Mans Series.
The Reasons For Diesel and Hybridization
According to the committee, since 1959 the thermal efficiency of cars taking part in the Le Mans 24 Hours has been highlighted in the various race classifications. To put it simply, it is a question of covering the greatest distance in 24 hours using as little fuel as possible (energy expended/number of kilometers covered). This classification still exists and is called the Michelin Green X Challenge, the winner of which in the 24 Hours receives an invitation to take part in the following year’s race.
This idea is becoming more relevant with each passing year with the inevitable reduction in fossil fuel finds. The automotive industry is currently battling for every mpg and is something that motor sports cannot ignore any more.
In 2008 the Automobile Club de l’Ouest announced a large reduction in the power of the engines in the LMP1 category of around 150 HP.
In December 2010 it was also announced that the technical regulations coming into force in 2014 would allocate a quantity of energy to each car. This fundamental notion is the cornerstone of this new text. Thus to win the race the entrant has to make the best possible use of this quantity of energy. Efficiency becomes just as important as outright performance and reliability. The introduction of new regulations based on the allocation of a quantity of energy was adopted almost unanimously in June 2010 by the ensemble of manufacturers and teams (works and private) entered in the various Le Mans Series.
In June 2011, in parallel with the announcement of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2012, the first hybrid car started the Le Mans 24 Hours. It was entered by Swiss team, Hope Polevision but retired.
In September 2011 the consultations and studies undertaken by the ACO and the FIA began.
On 14th June 2012, the 2014 regulations were announced.
A transition period of one year for cars complying with the 2013 regulations will be studied during the summer of 2012.
Lindsay Owen-Jones, the FIA Endurance Commission President:
Six Basic Principles Guide the 2014 Regulations
“Thanks to in-depth work and excellent collaboration, today the ACO and the FIA have announced a unique set of extremely innovative technical regulations for 2014 that are in phase with the times we live in. It should encourage the development of powerful and spectacular cars and also the development of technologies that have real meaning for the everyday motorist. Private teams haven‘t been forgotten either with simple but competitive alternatives. I hope that the 2014 LM P1 technical regulations will rouse your enthusiasm in the same way they have for all those who were involved in drawing them up.”
Drawing up the Regulations
- Efficiency and Sustainable Development
The concept of allocating a quantity of energy to the cars is conditioned by thermal efficiency with a goal of reducing fuel consumption can reach 30% compared to the current LMP1 class of cars. Energy recovery systems will be allowed to capture up to four times more than present.
- The Sport Will Not Suffer
The level of performance will be equivalent to that of the 2012 season while improving acceleration. These regulations have been designed to ensure that the drivers have to go flat out without having to adapt their driving and without having to manage a fuel consumption strategy.
To ensure that competition remains and that the spectators can understand what’s going on out on the track, a simple and comprehensible system with little in the way of complicated calculations will enforced. The car that finishes in front of the others is the winner. Dah!
- Technological Advances
The new regulations will allow manufacturers to showcase the soundness of their work and the quality of the technology used.
- Cost Reductions
Cost capping for the major manufacturers (control and limitation of certain technologies, rules) as well as enabling private teams to stay competitive on limited budgets were at the center of the rule making committees discussions.
As in the case of every evolution of the regs it remains a priority for the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) to keep both drivers and spectators as safe as reasonably achievable.
- Race Technologies Will Be Eventually Transferred for Consumer Use
The 2014 regulations is the result of numerous studies, discussions and working groups spread over six months from September 2011 to May 2012 and carried out by the engineers of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
The working group was made up of twelve manufacturers and designers (chassis, engines, tires, fuels) with ten meetings taking place.
The contribution of the participants focused on the following six points
- Definition of the technological factor (energy equivalence between diesel and gasoline engines)
- Definition of the engines allowed (thermal engines and energy recovery systems)
- Aerodynamic improvements
- Improvement in the driver visibility
- Evolution of race car chassis and dimensions
After that simulations and calculations were carried out by both in-house and external engineering teams with the help of specialized technical consultancies before the data was homologated, the coherence of the results was checked with both the manufacturers and private teams.
Here are the main guidelines of the different sections in the 2014 regulations: the thermal engines, the energy recuperation systems and the chassis/bodywork ensemble.
Energy recovery systems
- 4-stroke piston engines (cost reduction – adaption to road-going use)
- Free cubic capacity for manufacturers, high turbo pressure (4 bars) (efficiency, adaption to consumer use)
- Cubic capacity limited to 5.5L for private teams (cost reduction)
- Power of the cars controlled by a homologated fuel flow meter (efficiency)
- Freeing air inlets: air restrictors cancelled, variable admission systems allowed
(technological opportunities, efficiency, adaption to consumer use)
- Fuel injection pressure free (technological opportunities, efficiency, adaption to
- Fuel: evolution to 2nd generation E20 bio fuels (currently E10) (sustainable development)
- Fuel: Diesel or gasoline (cost saving – adaption to consumer use)
- Possibility of an opening in the medium or long term to other sources of energy that have reached maturity (hydrogen, 100% electric) (technological opportunity)
- Very costly exotic materials and systems banned (electromagnetic valves) (cost reduction).
2014 LMP1 Rules
- Five categories of energy defined from 0 to 8MJ per lap of the Le Mans circuit (technological
- Systems are free provided they can be measured (technological opportunity)
- Number of systems limited to two per car (cost savings)
- Systems homologated on a seasonal basis. No evolution or category change will be accepted during the season (cost savings)
According to the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the following table enables each manufacturer to choose the option that best suits its project and budget.
All the figures above are defined on the basis of one lap of the Le Mans circuit.
Autonomy: Difference up to 2 laps between 0 and 8 MJ, thus between a car with no hybrid system and another fitted with the most powerful hybrid system.
These figures are given as an indication and are based on simulations.
The final figures will be confirmed after tests on test beds in September 2012.
Note that the manufacturers officially entered cannot enter with cars with no hybrid systems.
Specific safety points
- Two-seater closed cars only (tradition, efficiency and safety)
- Weight: 1,870 pounds for hybrids – 1,826 pounds non-hybrids (efficiency and cost saving)
- Total width 74.8 in compared to 78.75 in currently (efficiency)
- Improvement of visibility. The driver will now sit higher in the car and further forward and the
height of the front wings will be decreased (safety).
- Front aerodynamic device adjustable for simplified aero balance (cost saving).
- Evolution of the lower front end of the car to improve efficiency without compromising stability in case of loss of control (efficiency and safety)
- New positions of the holes in the wings. This is aimed at making the cars more efficient and less unstable laterally while reducing drag (efficiency).
Consequences on the sport
- Wheel tethers in case of impact (safety)
- Lateral protection panels in Zylon, a highly-resistant polymer also called PBO (safety)
- Rear crash box (safety)
- Improved regulations on the power of the lights (safety)
- Adjustment of the performance of the cars in the column without KERS if necessary to protect private teams which use them (sport and spectacle)
- The overall level of the energy allocation could be modified if the performance objectives do not conform to simulations (sport and spectacle)
- Testing limitations (cost saving)
- Limitation on the number of engines (cost saving)
- Limitation of hybrid systems (cost saving)
- New technology will be granted freedom with regards to powertrain (that is engine and hybrid system) in accordance with the development of road vehicles.
- Engines are free from encumbrances. The limitations of cylinders, displacement, restrictors and turbo pressures have been eliminated.
- Large reduction in the use of fossil fuels by up to 30%!
- The hybrid systems are free as long as their energy contribution can be measured but are limited to two per car.
- Private teams are protected.
- The cars will have closed bodywork to improve safety with weight and width reduced.
All told, this is the direction of the our transportation future and with motor sports onboard, expect to see quick advances of the technology just being considered to be in our personal vehicles a lot sooner than what we have received in the past. In fact, considering NASCAR’s disassociation with the real world of actual $’s spent on fuel by the consumer, fuel consumption and emissions, maybe the racing organizations Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) will bring sanity back to racing which just so happens to consider lower emissions of all types while providing lower fuel consumption and faster vehicles. Which organization would you follow? Which organization should we follow?
You can read the Le Mans releases in their entirety without edit at the following: