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Thread: 2015 WEC/ELMS&TUSC news.

  1. #91
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    Rebellion drops Toyota engines for 2015 WEC season

    The Anglo-Swiss Rebellion Racing team is switching engine supplier for its 2015 LMP1 campaign in the World Endurance Championship.

    Rebellion, which has used a normally-aspirated Toyota V8 for the past four seasons, has confirmed that it has decided against continuing with the Japanese manufacturer, but has yet to disclose the identity of the engine that will power its ORECA-built R-One chassis this season.

    Team manager Bart Hayden told AUTOSPORT: "The decision to change has been made, but I can't go into detail.

    "All I can say is that when we looked at the marketplace, we were surprised at the number of options.

    "There is Judd with a V8 or a V10, the AER turbo V6 and the V8 developed by Neil Brown [based on the Audi DTM V8], as well as options from Honda Performance Development and Cosworth."

    Hayden stated that the engine supplier would not necessarily be revealed when the entry lists for the WEC and the Le Mans 24 Hours are published next Thursday.

    Rebellion will be making two full-season entries for the WEC, Hayden disclosed, but the engine switch could force the team to miss the season opener at Silverstone in April.

    "It will be business as usual for Rebellion with two full entries if we are accepted, but it is still too early to say if we will be at Silverstone," he said.

    Hayden revealed that ORECA would lead the design of the engine installation for the R-One.

    He stressed that there was no major dissatisfaction with the Toyota engine, but he explained that the team had opted to look elsewhere because the 3.4-litre V8s were only available until the end of 2015.

    "That prompted us to look at our longer-term future and ask the question, should we make the change earlier?" he said.

    Rebellion is expecting to go into the new season with a largely-unchanged driver line-up.

    "I don't think there will be much of the way of change, but Nissan has yet to make it announcements and I don't know if any of our guys have been in last-minute negotiations with them," said Hayden.

    Rebellion's two entries in 2014 were driven by Nick Heidfeld, Nicolas Prost, Mathias Beche and Andre Belicchi, Fabio Leimer and Dominik Kraihamer.
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  2. #92
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    Nissan LMP1 SuperBowl advert teaser.....

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  3. #93
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    TOYOTA RACING CONFIRMS 2015 DRIVERS
    Friday 30 January 2015

    TOYOTA Racing is delighted to confirm its driver line-up for the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship.

    The team will again enter two TS040 HYBRID cars as it aims to extend its reign as drivers’ and manufacturers’ World Champions.

    As World Champions, TOYOTA Racing will take the #1 and #2 plates while the individual driver line-ups have been fine-tuned for maximum performance.

    The #1 car will feature drivers’ World Champions Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi alongside Kazuki Nakajima. Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Mike Conway will share the #2.

    An announcement regarding a test and reserve driver will be made in the coming weeks.

    Today’s news reflects the team’s satisfaction with the performances, attitude and commitment of its drivers, who played a significant part in a successful World Championship challenge in 2014.

    It comes on the same day as TOYOTA confirmed plans for a World Rally Championship entry in 2017. TOYOTA Racing wishes to place on record its commitment to endurance racing, which will not be adversely affected by the WRC project.

    Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “We are very happy to confirm our driver line-up for 2015. We have worked with all our drivers for a long time now and have developed very strong relationships. This stability and consistency has been a significant part of our recent success so it was a priority when planning for 2015 and beyond. Based on our experiences in 2014, we have decided to modify the line-ups for each car and we believe this will give us the optimum overall performance as the individual driving styles are now well matched. All our drivers are WEC race winners and we are confident they will add to their tally this season and in the future.”

    TS040 HYBRID #1:

    Anthony Davidson
    Born 18 April 1979, Hemel Hempstead, Great Britain
    Le Mans debut 2003
    Le Mans starts 7
    Le Mans best result 2nd (2013)
    WEC starts 17
    WEC wins 5
    WEC best season 1st (2014)

    Sébastien Buemi
    Born 31 October 1988, Aigle, Switzerland
    Le Mans debut 2012
    Le Mans starts 3
    Le Mans best result 2nd (2013)
    WEC starts 17
    WEC wins 5
    WEC best season 1st (2014)

    Kazuki Nakajima
    Born 11 January 1985, Okazaki, Japan
    Le Mans debut 2012
    Le Mans starts 3
    Le Mans best result 4th (2013)
    WEC starts 16
    WEC wins 2
    WEC best season 8th (2014)

    TS040 HYBRID #2:

    Alex Wurz
    Born 15 February 1974, Waidhofen an der Thaya, Austria
    Le Mans debut 1996
    Le Mans starts 8
    Le Mans best result 1st (1996 & 2009)
    WEC starts 20
    WEC wins 5
    WEC best season 3rd (2012)

    Stéphane Sarrazin
    Born 2 November 1975, Alès, France
    Le Mans debut 2001
    Le Mans starts 13
    Le Mans best result 2nd (2007, 2009 & 2013)
    WEC starts 24
    WEC wins 2 (plus 2 LMP2 class wins)
    WEC best season 3rd (2013)

    Mike Conway
    Born 19 August 1983, Sevenoaks, Great Britain
    Le Mans debut 2013
    Le Mans starts 1
    Le Mans best result n/a
    WEC starts 10
    WEC wins 2 (plus 4 LMP2 class wins)
    WEC best season 7th (2013)


    About TOYOTA Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship:
    TOYOTA first competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 1983, marking the start of a long period of participation in endurance racing. Since 1985, TOYOTA cars have raced in 16 Le Mans 24 Hours races, achieving a best result of second place on four occasions (1992, 1994, 1999 and 2013). TOYOTA entered the revived WEC in 2012, as TOYOTA Racing, with its first hybrid LMP1 car, the TS030 HYBRID, which won five of the 14 races it entered over two seasons. It was succeeded in 2014 by the 1,000PS, four-wheel-drive TS040 HYBRID, which won its debut race and subsequently the 2014 drivers' and manufacturers' World Championships. They were designed and built by TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG), where the race team is based. TMG is the former home of TOYOTA's World Rally and Formula 1 works teams, and was responsible for design and operation of TOYOTA's TS020 Le Mans car in 1998-99. TMG now combines motorsport participation with work as a high-performance engineering services provider to third party companies, as well as the TOYOTA family.
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  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by fratelliferrari View Post
    Rob, when can we expect to see the new livery of the AF Corse cars?
    Hi,
    The car will be very close to the 2014 car.
    Actually, we can't speak about the particulars.
    Sorry
    See you at Silverstone
    Riccardo
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  5. #95
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    Thanks Rob! I really liked last year's livery a lot so Iam happy
    Maurizio Arrivabene fanpage:www.facebook.com/maurizioarrivabene

  6. #96
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    Another Nissan teaser...
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  7. #97
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    LM P3 The 2015 season looks very promising!

    ACO Press Release -

    The 2015 Le Mans endurance season will see the introduction of the new category of cars created by the ACO: the LM P3s (Le Mans prototype 3). Vincent Beaumesnil, the ACO Sport Manager, gives a progress report on the situation in LM P3, the first of which will soon have their first shakedown.

    Vincent, can you remind us why the ACO created the LM P3 category? We've got a long-term vision concerning the LM P3 category. It's a crucial step to enable new entrants to access our endurance pyramid. It will help bring new teams and promising young drivers into endurance for whom it will be a crucial step in the context of our endurance driver ladder. In addition, the LM P3s will attract gentlemen drivers who want to race prototypes rather than GTs giving them a fore-taste of endurance that may lead to the Le Mans 24 Hours. Sir Chris Hoy (six Olympic medals in cycling) is a perfect example. This year he will be racing in the ELMS Championship with the aim of being on the grid at the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours. It's also very important to remember that despite its very low cost the LM P3 category has to comply with the same safety standards as the closed LM P1s and LM P2s, which represent a very big difference compared to what can be found in prototypes at the moment at this price level. We can offer everybody a real Le Mans-type prototype - a small closed LM P1! – for a budget that's much lower than the one required for an entry in a national GT championship. At the moment, after various simulations we've carried out, you can count on 400 to 450 000 euros for a full season in ELMS which is pretty reasonable (133 to 150 000 euros per driver).



    Can you give us an update on the current state of the different projects?

    Three chassis constructors have confirmed that they are building cars. Ginetta was the first and the car exists. At the moment, we're in the homologation and crash test phase. Ginetta-Nissans will take part in the pre-season tests for the ELMS at Le Castellet (23-24 March, and they will race in the championship right from the start of the season. They have respected their schedule. LAS Motorsport has also launched the construction of an LM P3. It's an association of a design office specialised in the conception of racing cars, ADESS EG, Sébastien Loeb Racing's team, which needs no introduction, and SORA Racing, the Mayenne-based prototype manufacturer. The third constructor that's currently building an LM P3 chassis is the association between AVE Motorsports and Riley Technologies. The latter is a well-know American company which, among other projects, developed the Cadillacs entered at Le Mans, ran the works Vipers recently, and also builds Daytona prototypes: it's a front-line American firm that's bet on the LM P3s. And we're expecting some really good news in the near future with another prestigious constructor announcing the creation of his own car! Oreca looks after all the client service aspect linked to the engine. The development of the Nissan, a normally-aspirated V8 delivering 420 bhp, is being finished at Nismo in Japan. These are reliable cheap engines that will last 10 000 km between revisions – two seasons in the ELMS. X-Trac is providing gearboxes and Michelin is the sole tyre supplier to guarantee a level playing field and cap costs. Everything's under way so that the 2015 season kicks off without problems and some manufacturers have received several firm orders. LAS Motorsport and Riley Technologies, which threw their hats into the ring after Ginetta, are working flat out to supply their cars as quickly as possible. All three are serious high-quality manufacturers. We should have between six and nine LM P3s on the grid for the Silverstone 4 Hours, the first round of the ELMS on 11th April.



    Are these cars eligible for several championships?

    Of course! But I'd like to point out that while all the teams entered in the ELMS have to do the pre-season tests at Paul Ricard, this isn't the case for the LM P3s. The reason is that the regulations fell two months behind schedule in 2014 so that we could carry out the right simulations for the engine. And we're still two months behind! Even so there will be some LM P3s at Paul Ricard. It's up to the constructors and the teams to finalise their agreements as we don't want to put them under any pressure for the March test sessions. I'd also like to confirm the fact that the LM P3s can take part in the Le Mans 24-Hours test day (31st May 2015) depending on the places available. The teams will have to be very careful about the entry procedures for this test day. It may lead to some logistics problems with two cars in the same pit due to a lack of room, but the LM P3s can take part. The ELMS Championship has been confirmed and the regulations have been published. We've brought in specific rules enabling teams to restrict the number of mechanics working on the cars with a minimum refuelling time. Thus, the same mechanics can change the tyres and carry out refuelling. We've limited the number of tyres. Everything's been done to cap costs. The car is also eligible for the 2015 Asian Le Mans Series whose calendar and sporting regulations will be announced at a later date. But I can confirm that at present we're in advanced negotiations concerning the entry of several LM P3 cars in Asia. And of course, we're also aiming at the United States. Our partner, IMSA, knows all about this car and we discuss the subject on a regular basis. National championships like the VdeV Endurance Series are keeping a close eye on what's happening as well, and we may see LM P3s racing in it this season. All this will help teams to write off the cost of their equipment and that's very important. Not only do we foresee this formula making strong progress over the next three years, but also what we're expecting for the first season exceeds our forecast!




    What prizes will be awarded to the LM P3 entrants?

    The driver or drivers winning the Drivers' Championship in the ELMS will be given a test by Nissan in LM P2 with its Junior team. It's a strong signal as we know Nissan's dynamism in its driver programmes. And don't forget that the Japanese manufacturer is making its comeback to LM P1 this season. This gives the winners a real opportunity to be assessed by a works team, and obviously that can open other doors for the future. The team winning the LM P3 teams' classification in the ELMS will be given an invitation for the following year's Le Mans 24 Hours in LM P2 provided it's entered in one of our series. When you realise just how scarce the places are for this race it's an exceptional prize. Concerning the Asian Series it's a bit early to start talking about prizes, but we'll have a look at that as soon as the regulations are finalised, and they will be just as attractive. To conclude, I'd like to thank Nissan for making such a huge effort to back the LM P3 category by being the official engine supplier and by giving the winner a test. We can only be delighted that we have the support in LM P3 of a major manufacturer that has a worldwide impact.
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  8. #98
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    Thiriet by TDS Racing has chosen the ORECA 05 for an ambitious programme !

    Thiriet by TDS Racing, one of the leading endurance teams in the LM P2 class, comes back to ORECA ! Indeed, the team founded by Xavier Combet and Jacques Morella has chosen the new ORECA 05 LM P2 for the 2015 season.

    On top of the European Le Mans Series, the squad has also submitted an application to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the fourth time in a row. With a brand new closed-cockpit prototype designed by ORECA Technology, the team is ambitious.


    Hugues de Chaunac : “Thiriet by TDS Racing's experience and talent will be decisive !” The cooperation between Thiriet by TDS Racing and ORECA started in 2011, as the ORECA 03 LM P2 was taking its first steps. At the time, the Hérault-based team which had just embarked on its new endurance programme, was also one of the first to have chosen the French prototype. A few months later, at the 6 Hours of Spa, it stood as the first team to have taken the ORECA 03 to the highest step of the podium. That was the first of 23 successes notched up by an ORECA chassis between 2011 and 2014 ! Following on another win in Estoril at the end of that first season, Thiriet by TDS Racing then clinched the European titles in 2012 and ended up vice-champion in 2013 (behind Signatech-Alpine which also relied on an ORECA chassis). After a break in 2014, Xavier Combet and Jacques Morello's team is now about to enter an ORECA prototype again. This time it will be an ORECA 05, powered by a Nissan V8 which is prepared in the workshops of ORECA's engine department in Magny-Cours.

    Thiriet by TDS Racing will take part in all of the European Le Mans Series races and has applied for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ludovic Badey and Pierre Thiriet will be at the wheel, with a third driver to be named. “It's with great pleasure that we return to collaborating with the ORECA group" explain Xavier Combet and Jacques Morello, heads of TDS Racing. "When we had to make a choice on the new car, ORECA quickly made its way to the top of the list. The company's technical expertise has been proven time and time again. And the relationship we have with them has given us some very good results. Seamlessly, the work has begun anew in the best possible way. Our two outfits are working hand in hand to attain one goal : winning. ” “I am happy to welcome Thiriet by TDS Racing within ORECA again”

    The technical skills and sporting qualities of the team are obvious. They are the kind of teams that we'd rather have with us than against us ! The history we share together is lovely – the first win and the first ELMS title – and I am convinced that some more successes are ahead of us. This will be the ORECA 05's first year, therefore we have to remain moderate, but we have one goal in common : to win, and especially at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Together with Xavier Combet and Jacques Morello, we've already found our working habits again. Actually, it's as if we've never stopped working together.” says Hugues de Chaunac, CEO of ORECA Group. “

    Closed-cockpit prototype designed by ORECA Technology's R&D and manufacturer departments, the ORECA 05 will take to the track some time in the first term of 2015 and will first compete at Silverstone as part of the FIA World Endurance Championships's and the European Le Mans Series's first rounds. The ORECA 03, 23 times a winner in LM P2 and successful worldwide in 2014, will still be on the tracks.
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    Krohn Racing Announces Oswaldo Negri to Join Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson

    Houston, Texas - Krohn Racing announced today that Oswaldo (Ozz) Negri, Jr. will join the driver lineup of Tracy W. Krohn and Nic Jonsson for the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), subject to gaining an entry. The official entry list for the ELMS, the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be announced in one week, on February 5, 2015.

    Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn purchased a new Judd-powered Ligier JS P2 car for LMP2 class competition for 2015. They recently raced in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 24-25, along with co-drivers Oliver Pla and Alex Brundle, but suffered an engine failure in the sixth hour.

    Negri, who captured the Rolex 24 pole this year and has a Rolex 24 victory in 2012, will join Krohn Racing for the FIA-sanctioned ELMS series at renowned European circuits. The schedule includes Silverstone, England, April 10-11; Imola, Italy, May 16-17; Red Bull Ring, Austria, July 11-12; Paul Ricard, France, September 5-6; and Estoril, Portugal, October 17-18. The ELMS test will be held at the Paul Ricard Circuit on March 23-24.

    'Ozz', as he's called by his friends, began racing go-karts in his native Brazil at the age of nine. He moved up to the Brazilian Formula Ford series in his early twenties before moving to England to compete in the British and International Formula 3 series in the 1990s. In 1997 Negri came to the United States to compete in Indy Lights for several seasons. He then became a development driver for the Barber-Dodge Pro Series in the 2000's while also beginning his career in sports cars. He has enjoyed a decade-long involvement with Michael Shank Racing in Grand-Am and IMSA TUDOR. For 2015 he will continue with Shank, also driving a Ligier JS P2 entry, in the IMSA TUDOR 10-race series in North America.

    "We are happy to welcome Ozz to Krohn Racing," said team owner/driver Tracy Krohn, of Houston, Texas. "Adding him and his experience with the Ligier and on the European circuits, as well as his sports car racing skills as our Silver driver, will greatly increase our ability to be the formidable team we expect to be this season in ELMS. We are still awaiting official word on our entry submission, but certainly hope we will be one of the LMP2 candidates in ELMS this season. We've known Ozz a long time through our sports car racing in the U.S. and feel he will fit in very well with our team and our plans for European racing with the new Ligier-Judd."

    "We are pleased that Oswaldo (Ozz) will be joining us for the ELMS season, said Gary Holland, Team Manager, Krohn Racing. "As proven by his recent performance during the Daytona 24 hours (pole position winner), he is a great driver and I am sure he will be a seamless fit for the team. He not only brings further European experience of the tracks we will be racing, but also knowledge of driving the Ligier JS P2, as the chassis is the same one he uses throughout the IMSA TUDOR championship this season. He will miss the Austria round due to an IMSA conflict (Mosport), but will do four of the five rounds.

    "I believe this is just is another step toward Krohn Racing securing the success the team deserves. Entering the ELMS is a different avenue for the team, but we believe the growth of the ELMS year-on-year, and the strength in depth on the grid will ensure we can fully test ourselves against the best. We are very much looking forward to 2015 with our driver line up of Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Oswaldo Negri Jr. We hope to really make an impact in the series."

    "I'm pleased for the opportunity to join Krohn Racing for the ELMS season," said Miami, Florida-based Oswaldo Negri, Jr. "I've had the opportunity to test and race the Ligier JS P2 and know what a good car it is. To compete in North America in IMSA with Michael Shank Racing and in Europe in the ELMS with Krohn Racing in the same chassis is a dream for a driver. We always want more seat time and more race time. This is the best of both worlds for me as a driver. I've admired Krohn Racing as a first class operation, been friends with Nic (Jonsson) for a long time and competed against him and Tracy for years. I'm super excited and can't wait to start."

    Krohn Racing has also submitted an entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, June 13-14, in hopes of making Krohn and Jonsson's tenth consecutive appearance as teammates at La Sarthe circuit in Le Mans, France. A third co-driver will be announced at a later time, should Krohn Racing be awarded an entry to the historic endurance classic.
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  10. #100
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    Nissan LMP1 GTR..

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    The Nissan GT-R LM NISMO: Tech Spec & Ben Bowlby Q&A

    You’ll need to embrace a mashup of letters and numbers to digest the insanity housed within Ben Bowlby’s 6-foot-wide by 15-foot-long Nissan creation.

    It’s an LMP1. And not just a normal LMP1, but an LMP1-H. The H is for Hybrid. It conforms to the rules created by the ACO, the French sanctioning body that runs the LM24, aka, the Le Mans 24 hours, and will race there and at the rest of the World Endurance Championship governed by the FIA.

    It’s FWD in terms of which end the IC,-internal combustion-engine sends its power. It’s designed to be AWD, thanks to the H propelling the front and rear wheels. It’s a TTV6-a twin-turbo V6, with DI-direct-injection. And its 3.0-liter engine was not, as some have suggested, originally envisioned as an F1–sorry–Formula 1 powerplant.

    It was originally targeted to have 2000 horsepower, but that figure has been tamed to something in the 1250-1500 region, with the IC contributing just over 500hp and the hopefully 8MJ H Flybrid system offering up the other 750-plus hp.

    Put it all together and we have an ACO LMP1-H that’s FWD, AWD, featuring a 3.0-liter DI TTV6 with an 8MJ H, dubbed the GT-R LM NISMO, that will race in the FIA WEC.

    And, it was created to deliver a giant FU to the competition. How’s that for originality?

    The last time racing cars sent my imagination wandering into truly uncharted territories, it was done by vehicles dreamt up by Jim Hall’s team and Dan Gurney merry band of All-American Racers. For current and future generations of techno-dreamers, I’m willing to bet Ben Bowlby’s Nissan GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 will be their Chaparral 2J “sucker car” or AAR Eagle Mk III.

    The mad Englishman’s latest work grabs the state-of-the-art LMP1 concept, holds it firmly in place, draws a new line, and distances itself from anything Audi, Porsche, or Toyota conceived through the 2014 World Endurance Championship season.

    The front-engine design immediately sets Nissan apart from the rest of its LMP1-H competitors, and every other prototype we’ve seen in at least a decade.


    You can say the GT-R LM NISMO takes after 1997’s front-engined Panoz Esperante GTR-1, but then you’d have to say the Panoz takes after Bob Riley’s 1983 Ford Mustang GTP, which featured a ferocious front-mounted 2.1-liter 4-cylinder turbo, and the lineage continues back through time. What you won’t find is a predominantly FWD front-engined prototype that uses the entire body-inside and out-as an aerodynamic weapon. Nissan, Bowlby, and the entire NISMO design team own that narrative with complete authority.

    Speaking with Bowlby on his free-spirited GT-R LM NISMO, I started by asking him where it ranked among decades of open-wheel and sports car designs that have come from his hands.


    “Well, it’s definitely the bravest that I have been,” he said. “It’s definitely the boldest undertaking. It’s definitely the least comfortable that I have been in putting so many bits of what I have learned over the years together. Normally, the regulations don’t permit you to try and put together such an integrated design.

    “In this particular instance, the WEC FIA and ACO’s regulations give you an incredible breadth of opportunity. The fact that you can effectively make a four-wheel drive car that you don’t have to put the engine on one end or the other. The fact that you can truly look at aerodynamic efficiency and fuel consumption efficiency, or lap specific fuel consumption; play a game of what is the most intelligent way of solving the problem of getting around Le Mans the fastest way over 24 hours.”
    Nissan have joined the other LMP1-H manufacturers in the pursuit of achieving the maximum 8MJ KERS harvesting and release, and like their rivals, it’s a goal more than a guarantee. The GT-R LM NISMO uses a custom KERs unit supplied by Torotrak, better known as Flybrid to those who’ve seen the mechanical systems recently used in other prototypes.

    The device is mounted beneath the keel-just under the driver’s legs-and is driven by the 5-speed transmission that sits in front of the engine. It returns its energy to the front wheels through the same shaft that runs through the V6’s 60-degree engine V, and can send the rest, if the team decides to use AWD, to the rear through a long driveshaft beneath the tub that connects to a differential which then feeds the rear wheels through a complex system of secondary driveshafts and outboard gearboxes.

    With plenty of engine power and the potential for monster hybrid power, a delicate balance of KERS usage is timed to hit once the GT-R LM NISMO exits a corner and achieves something in the range of 70mph. With everything available at once, the Nissan would spend each lap putting on billowing FWD dragster burnouts in every turn.

    “There are lots of things that the engine recovery regulations provide as an opportunity,” Bowlby noted. “They come with a big price from many respects. To recover and deploy 8 MJ is expensive. It’s very time-consuming in the design because there isn’t such a thing as a 8MJ system that just sits there on the shelf. And it is expensive from a weight standpoint. And it’s expensive from a reliability standpoint. If you have an 8MJ system that fails during Le Mans, you’re going to lose over 7 seconds a lap. You can’t do much about it, except peeling the car apart and changing it out. Basically, it is a very big burden on reliability and lap time for 24 hours.

    “Audi, once again, won Le Mans in ’14, and did it with a 2MJ system. Sometimes we have heard the Audi system wasn’t working at all and you could hardly tell in lap time terms because if you lose a 2MJ system it is actually only 1.6 seconds a lap, by our estimation. Anyway, it’s a very interesting opportunity, it’s like a dangling carrot because every megajoule is worth about a half a second a lap as you add it. Our job is to grab that, as a manufacturer. Of course, that is why the Toyotas and Porsches should have been, all things being equal, 2 seconds a lap faster than the Audi with their 6MJ systems. It’s impressive that the Audi wasn’t 2 seconds a lap off the pace, given they were a 2 MJ car.”

    Hybrid power unit design is, arguably, the one great frontier LMP1 manufacturers continue to explore. As Bowlby said, off-the-shelf solutions do not exist for the upper 6-8MJ limits, and for that reason, we’ve seen every LMP1-H constructor adjust their stated use of hybrid power after aiming high and settling for something lower. We know Nissan wants 8MJ-they’d use 80MJ if it was allowed and feasible, but we’ll have to wait until the GT-R LM NISMO turns up for its first race to know whether it has 8MJ, or if the system will even be on the car. Such is the state of development in LMP1-H…

    Turning back to the GT-R LM NISMO’s conventional power source, the tiny, barely-there twin-turbo V6 is easily lost amid the maze of wires, pipes and support systems contained around the Cosworth-based mill. Asking NISMO boss Darren Cox to confirm the engine’s origins was met with an expected answer: It’s a Nissan.


    To be fair, Nissan commissioned it, paid for it, and has the right to call it whatever they want.

    “We selected over a very long period of time in great detail the best solution, not only doing bore and stroke configuration but also the whole of the charging and cylinder pressure, influence on drivetrain and so on,” Bowlby explained. “It is an even-firing V6, smooth running V6, smooth running, low vibration. It’s a lovely engine; it’s a very nice piece. That was where the project started, in a way. That was the first piece that started to come together, other than the concept. It’s a fantastic engine.

    “The engine is 100 percent designed for this particular challenge. It has not got any… it’s not an F1 engine that turned into a sports car engine or an IndyCar engine that turned into a sports car engine. This is from the ground up. How do you best solve the challenge of making a gasoline engine, to the regulations to be successful at Le Mans? It’s with a clean sheet of paper design. And it was designed around the layout of the car and the aerodynamics, the weight distribution, and so on. It’s an engine that was truly designed for this car, nothing else.”

    With its front-engine design, big KERS ambitions, and the flexibility to use FWD with the V6 along, FWD with the V6 and KERS, or AWD with KERS powering the rear, the GT-R LM NISMO is loaded with options.
    Moving away from its drivetrain, which will surely draw the most attention from fans and media outlets, the biggest breakthrough with Bowlby’s Nissan is the through-flow aerodynamics. Your conventional rear-engined LMP1-H chassis is limited for space at the back of the car, and as a result, large, volume-robbing items like the radiators and other auxiliary systems are moved forward where they’re housed in the sidepods.


    The choice to put the radiators at the front of the GT-R LM NISMO, followed, in order, by the transmission and engine, meant all of the primary systems could be contained ahead of the chassis firewall—ahead of the windshield. The engine’s exhaust system and turbos have been raised to clear space between the block and the 14-inch front tires to make space for tunnels that run almost the entire length of the car, and within those tunnels, the Nissan takes aerodynamic efficiency to a new level.

    With air hitting the front of the GT-R LM NISMO, it envelops the car-flows beneath the car via the splitter, and heads over and around the body. By moving the engine and all of its friends to the front, Bowlby was able to create a pair of rectangular tunnels that take their feed from the trailing edge of the splitter’s upswept wing profile and carries large volumes of air around the cockpit and out the highly tapered tail section.

    It’s similar to a catamaran design where the center portion of the car-the one that punches a big, disturbing whole through the air has been taken away to allow the air to pass through the area with ease. By using the empty sidepods as a bypass, Bowlby has significantly reduced aerodynamic drag, and in Nissan’s quest to win through innovation, this core design element should produce improved fuel economy, among other benefits.

    “That is the complexity of the regulations, or the interest in the regulations, and why we turned the car on its head, because we wanted to produce an aerodynamically efficient car,” said Bowlby. “It is very simple. Rather than have to take the air that comes underneath the splitter and force it to take a longer path down the outside of the car by venting it behind the front wheels, then blending it into the air flow down the side of the car and basically pushing it out that way–which makes the car seem wider and less efficient.

    “We gave it an easier path so the air comes underneath the splitter and comes out above the diffuser. It is a more optimized path. And before everybody jumps on the great idea of how cool that would be to do, just try doing it!”

    At approximately 15 feet in length, you can stand at the back of the Nissan, and when the lighting is just right, see all the way through the tunnels and spot the front suspension. Crouch down and take a closer look, and you’ll notice the tub tapers inward starting just below the cockpit openings. Referring back to marine concepts, it does bear a resemblance to a high-performance hull, and in this case, Bowlby has done all he can to make the bottom half of the tub less of a slab-sided creation and more like a “V” to increase the volume of air passing through the built-in tunnels.

    As I mentioned in my behind-the-scenes story, seeing the GT-R LM NISMO run in the wet at Circuit of The Americas [LINK], and the interaction between the spray and the Nissan’s through-flow aerodynamics, was unlike anything I’d witnessed with other LMP1-H creations.


    The carbon-fiber tub is, like the rest of the car, born from a deep hatred of inside-the-box thinking. The size of the Nissan’s cockpit was tailored to fit drivers of limited physical stature–think of the amusement park sign that reads “You must be this tall to ride this ride” and you have the criteria set forth by Nissan and its driver selection.

    Germany’s Michael Krumm, who turned the first laps in the car at Nissan’s proving grounds in Arizona, is considered tall, while Welshman Jann Mardenborough, who could turn sideways and hide behind a broom, is the prototypical Nissan driver. Light, sinewy, and unburdened with excessive height, the GT Academy graduate was seemingly born to work inside the GT-R LM NISMO’s cramped cockpit. For those Nissan drivers who are among the taller citizens, look for their physical composition to contain shorter legs with longer torsos.

    On track, the choice of a turbocharged FWD layout invited the GT-R LM NISMO into the same torquesteer problems I first encountered driving Saab turbos in the 1980s. As the front tires to change direction and feed power to the ground is a complex task, and as Bowlby explains, they went into the Nissan’s design with the problem in mind.

    “As a four-wheel-drive car you can deploy much more power than you can with a two-wheel drive, obviously,” he remarked. “It’s the fundamental physics of a front-wheel-drive to limit the traction capability. However, the regulations have a specific requirement for Le Mans that a 550 or so horsepower front-wheel-drive layout with an adequate degree of aerodynamic downforce can overcome the problem. You can do the simulations and you will find that.

    “Handling the torquesteer is mostly about having a balanced torque distribution of both front tires. We have equal length driveshafts and a carefully refined geometry of the suspension, uprights, steering, and so on. Torquesteer in itself does not seem to be an issue from laying down 550 hp or so.”

    Managing the mayhem that KERS power can add to the front wheels is the next step in mitigating the effects of torquesteer.

    “The energy recovery system deployment typically does not want to take place when you are limited in any way by the amount of power that the gasoline engine can put down,” Bowlby continued. “In other words, you don’t want to be adding recovered energy to a traction-limited internal combustion engine. You’re going to throw the deployment down once you are not internal combustion engine traction limited. It comes afterwards. That means that, in fact, you’re going to deploy the energy from a reasonably high speed, at which point we are already rapidly increasing in downforce. It obviously goes up by the square of velocity.

    “So we find that we can quite quickly lay down really quite a lot more power. We don’t need it coming out of the corner at the beginning of the exit of the corner, but once we are on the straight and we have built up a certain amount of speed we can quickly accelerate the car.

    “And an interesting feature, horsepower being a function of torque and RPM or speed, means that we aren’t actually talking about a ferocious level of torque. We’re talking about quite a lot of power but at quite a high speed. So the torque on the tire contact patch is not particularly outrageous. We will be challenged by our front tires, and to balance the challenge of the rears we’ve made the rears smaller.”

    The narrow rear tires also fit the slim aero profile at the pack of the GT-R LM NISMO.

    Obviously, by having a smaller rear tire we have lost quite a bit of drag, which is quite an advantage,” Bowlby confirmed. “The underside of the floors is pretty much spec, so by having a smaller tire we help, to a reasonable degree, the rear downforce from the other side of the car.

    “It is all really an integrated concept. And the car is absolutely a Le Mans special. No part of it is configured for some of the other rounds. To go from zero to being aero kits for every type of track, everything optimized for all events, is a bit too much to chew at the beginning right now. We’re keeping it simple as far as we possibly can at the moment.”

    The car underwent just two days of windtunnel testing prior to the beginning of its testing program. Thousands of hours of virtual aerodynamic testing through CFD, however, continues to be logged.

    The final design point we discussed brought a smile to my face. As I wrote a few years ago about Bowlby’s DeltaWing, he reached out to me in 2010 while I was at the Monterey Historics where Dan Gurney and his cars were being honored. Ben wanted to know if Gurney’s 1981 “Pepsi Challenger” Indy car was on display, and if so, whether I could send back a few shots of its unique tunnels that sat on both sides of the cockpit.

    Fast forward to the DeltaWing’s launch, and the dart-like sports car, which was fabricated at All-American Racers, sported the same tunnels. With an eye for intriguing concepts, Bowlby put Gurney’s “BLAT” pieces (Boundary Layer Adhesion Theory) to use on the Nissan-powered DeltaWing, and readily admitted the tunnels became the key aerodynamic aids that make its underfloor produce efficient downforce.

    After seeing the GT-R LM NISMO’s through-flow aero design, I was taken back to Gurney’s all-conquering Eagle Mk III GTP car and its semi-through-flow ducting. The Nissan was built around the tunnels for the sake of aero efficiency, while the Mk III, which used bolt-on tunnels beneath the bodywork to feed its rear-mounted radiators, was an addition to the base design.

    I wondered: Was Bowlby inspired by the semi-through-flow 1991-1993 Eagle Mk III when it came time to pen the GT-R LM NISMO?

    “I would definitely say it was a factor in the whole of this car’s genesis!” he said with pride. “For starts, back to the Eagle Mk III, that was an absolutely brilliant design. That’s the fair way to say it. Of its era, it was the best car out there. It was advanced in its aerodynamic performance. I certainly think it was one of the first cars to really exploit the dumping of the underflow from the splitter and out behind the front wheels. In order to do that, a duct was created to position the radiators rearwards almost alongside the engine.

    “The cleverness in how the ducting achieved the efficiency of the shape to make the splitter work well was all very clever. I spent a lot of time looking at that car and enjoying the manipulation of the air and the mechanical systems and so on. It is a very clean and lovely car.”

    Advancing the concept with the GT-R LM NISMO was next on the agenda.

    “The Mk III is not actually a through-duct car,” Bowlby noted. “I’m not taking anything away from it. But still, you look at that and I think other people have looked at trying to duct air within the bodywork at various different levels, and the Mk III was really the first to go there and set the standard. Aero is wonderful. I think it’s great when the regulations give opportunity to do things like this.

    “It’s quite a few parts to manage but in order to do it, you have to make some other compromises in the packaging. Yes, we have got an awful lot of engine and bits and pieces ducted into a very small space at the front, and that is a challenge that has been created. And it also meant that the rear drivetrain is also made more complex than would be the case if we didn’t want to duct the air through there, or you could duct the air and put all the wishbones and suspension and components and drive shaft in the duct, but you would perhaps lose a bit of the advantage that it gave you. If you can do it without that and find a good compromise then it’s a good way to go.”

    We’re a few months away from seeing the fleet of GT-R LM NISMO’s racing in anger against the LMP1-H establishment. Will it leap to the head of the pack right away? Could its sweeping dedication to innovation extend the learning curve required to find Victory Lane? It’s too early to tell, but I’m confident Nissan’s bold entry into the top WEC category will produce wins in the market place before it reaches Le Mans.

    “There was an opportunity to do something different—our own, and Nissan are about being disruptive in the industry, producing value for money, and taking on big challenges,” Bowlby said. “That is the marketing, the core values. People will look at the car and say, ‘you’ve got to be joking. You can’t be serious, that will never work!’ That is why it is interesting and why there are still some dark corners of motorsport that haven’t been explored. You say it’s all been done before, but actually this configuration, concept and idea has not been done before.

    “That is why it is interesting and why there is relevance to where we’re going with road cars. The concept of having highly efficient aerodynamics, the concept of some of the technology in the car from the energy recovery standpoint has benefit for future high performance, yet efficient road cars, is why we’re here. There are a lot of little pieces to this that are relevant and will change people’s perceptions of the technology that Nissan brings to the road in the future. That is really what it is all about.”

    NISSAN GT-R LM NISMO Technical Specification

    Configuration
    Front-engine. Front-wheel-drive

    Engine
    Nissan VRX 30A NISMO: 3.0 litre, 60 degree V6, direct injection gasoline twin-turbo

    Transmission
    5-speed + reverse sequential gearbox with pneumatic paddle shift system. Epicyclic final drive reduction with hydraulic limited slip differential
    Tilton 4-plate carbon clutch assembly

    Chassis
    FIA Homologated weight: 880 kg. Right-hand driving position
    68 litre capacity FT3 fuel tank featuring electric lift and feed pumps. ERS housed ahead and beneath driver’s feet in self-contained module.

    Bodywork
    Carbon-composite body panels. Polycarbonate windscreen with hard coating
CFD and full scale wind tunnel developed ultra high efficiency bodywork geometry, adjustable rear wing.

    Suspension
    Penske dampers with four-way adjustment front and rear, hydraulic rear anti-roll bar system.

    Brakes
    6-piston front and 4-piston rear calipers. NISMO Brake-by-Wire active brake ERS blending. Driver adjustable brake bias.

    Wheels
    BBS centre-lock, magnesium forged 16”x13” front and 16”x9” rear

    Tyres
    Michelin 31/71-16 front, 20/71-16 rear radials

    Electrical
    Cosworth engine control unit featuring: Engine control, gearbox control;
Driver adjustable traction control, Anti-lag system control, Brake-by-wire, lift-and-coast fuel conservation, Drive-by-wire throttle control and ERS deployment strategy control

    Interior
    NISMO 5-point harness
Lifeline lightweight extinguisher system

    Data / display system
    Cosworth Electronics with NISMO steering wheel mounted LCD

    Dimensions
    Length: 4.645m
    Width: 1.9m
    Height: 1.03m
    Minimum weight: 880kg
    Full tank capacity: 68L
    CAVALLINO RAMPANTE PER SEMPRE

  13. #103
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Stowmarket. U.K
    Posts
    16,645
    Inside The Nissan GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 Programme.

    The brief walk from the reception area at Dan Gurney’s All American Racers to the race shop demanded a quick mental recalibration. By the end of my visit to AAR in late September, a full cranial reboot was in order, and once again, racecar designer Ben Bowlby was to blame.

    I was there privately, along with DSC Editor Graham Goodwin, two days after the World Endurance Championship event at Circuit of The Americas where Audi, Porsche, and Toyota battled fought each other with their cutting-edge LMP1 hybrids. Nissan’s new-for-2015 LMP1 machine had been the source of immense speculation since the program was announced in June at Le Mans, and during our first dozen steps inside AAR, the reality of what Bowlby and his mad cast of characters came up with foreshadowed the revelations that would fill the rest of my visit.

    Leaving the reception room, we passed through a door, turned right, headed for another door, and during those 30-odd steps, something odd caught my eye. Composite specialists were working on a chassis mold for the Nissan’s floor, the bottom piece of the carbon-fiber tub where the driver sits, yet it contained a strange, tube-like indent from front to back. Could it be for a driveshaft? Why would a rear-engined prototype need to run a driveshaft to the front of the… Oh, wait.

    Leaving the first building, we walked across the courtyard that connects the different units which house everything from AAR’s truly secret activities to the rolling dynamometer Dan uses for his line of Alligator motorcycles. Through the roll-up door and past the workbench-shrine preserved in honor of the late Phil Remington, we made a final left into the shop where the Nissan-powered DeltaWing was created. On my last visit to AAR, the room was empty. This time, it was a blur of bodies in motion. Dan’s son Justin Gurney greeted us just as I spotted a familiar face from the IndyCar paddock, someone who left a front-running team weeks earlier when the season drew to a close. As I’d learn in the ensuing months, most of the team would be filled by friends, former colleagues, and regulars from American open-wheel and sports car racing.

    Curling our way up the spiral stairs to the makeshift engineering office, we were greeted by Simon Marshall who, as a renowned designer in his own right, forms a powerful creative think-tank with Bowlby and Zach Eakin. Sitting at a conference table in relatively tight confines, Marshall opened a poster tube and removed large, 3D renderings of the car, unrolling them in dramatic fashion while watching our reaction. My first question wasn’t about the car. I wanted to know about the poster tube which bore the name of a commercial printing company.

    Yes, the top-secret, kill-on-sight Nissan LMP1 car had been sent, seen, and printed by an unsuspecting clerk in Southern California without the images making it onto Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Forget spy shots; the P1 car was hiding in plain sight outside the confines of AAR.

    The blood-red car shown from overhead in the first rendering answered the most obvious question: The tub did indeed need a driveshaft running down the middle because with the long hood and exhausts exiting atop the car, ahead of the windshield, it was clear Bowlby had gone for a front-engine layout.

    The Nissan GT-R LM NISMO LMP1, in stark contrast to the other rear-engined LMP1-H competitors, was ass-backwards (as my father liked to say), and it wasn’t by mistake. Modern rear-engined prototypes have suffered from a lack of weight, and therefore balance at the front of the cars. Rules allow small aerodynamic aids to slightly increase downforce, but not to the point where drivers have rocket-fast reactions when they turn the steering wheel.

    With the move to a front-engine design, the forward weight bias issue is solved and, most importantly, it gave great freedom for Bowlby to come up with an aerodynamic treatment that was impossible for the rear-engined LMP1-H manufacturers to execute. If they chose to make the Nissan a puller instead of a pusher, what else had they done that defied convention?

    Marshall showed us a few other angles before rolling up the renderings and taking us into the design office for a virtual tour of the car. With the GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 contained on an incredibly wide computer screen, and sans bodywork, the enormity of the design challenge was unveiled. Yes, the Nissan is front-engined, makes use of a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6… but it’s also front-wheel drive.

    (We’ll pause a few seconds to let that one sink in.)

    An FWD LMP1-H design. Friends, that’s just batshit crazy. Some of the numbers being mentioned as possible combined horsepower and KERS power took the concept to the outer edges of reason. Marshall explained the early targets were in the 2000hp range with the use of an 8mJ “double” Flybrid system fitted to the car, but practical limitations lowered the bar to approximately 1500hp.

    Take the carbon fiber tub, affix the Flybrid KERS unit beneath the raised floor under the driver’s feet, bolt the compact TTV6 to the front of the firewall, then attach the custom transmission/bellhousing unit in front of the engine, and, finally, you have one mightily modular prototype. The mechanical Flybrid system, which is now supplied by Torotrak, uses an array of reduction gears and a weighted flywheel to quickly store and release energy.

    And with its semi-central location in the Nissan, it sends power to the front-mounted transmission through a driveshaft that runs through the engine’s V, and also sends its power rearward through the aforementioned driveshaft cutout in the floor.

    As Marshall zoomed in and peeled away some of the digital layers, he simplified the model to highlight and explain another one of the Nissan’s keystone concepts: through-flow aerodynamics. On every other Le Mans Prototype, air hits the front of the car–some goes over the top surfaces, some goes around the cars, and the rest goes beneath the car under the splitter. The air going under the car travels up the splitter, creates downforce, and some of it is then diverted out the sides of the car behind the front wheels. The rest travels along the floor to the back where it meets the diffuser and exits. So the air traveling over, around, and beneath the car meets up at the back and rejoins like a group of lost friends, after being diverted in every direction by the car. Designers spend thousands of hours coming up with the best way to make aerodynamic downforce while minimizing drag, and drag comes from interrupting the air.

    An LMP1-H punching through the air at 200mph is one giant exercise in disturbance, yet with Bowlby’s through-flow system, he’s found a brilliant method to work peacefully with the air as it envelops the Nissan via huge rectangular airflow channels that start at the rear of the splitter, wrap around the cockpit, and continue to the tail end of the GT-R LM NISMO LMP1. In practical terms, it’s the difference between the hull of an oil tanker making a mile-wide wake and the razor-thin interruption made by an America’s Cup yacht.

    The basic size and shape of the Nissan is no different than the other LMP1-H creations, but with the front-engine design allowing Bowlby, Marshall, and Eakin to pack the car with all of its major systems in front of the tub, the sidepods which normally house radiators and other clutter, have been transformed into empty passages that exploit aerodynamic efficiency.

    Items at the front like turbos and other systems have been elevated to make way for the tunnel inlets, and from a packaging standpoint, you won’t find a spare inch from top to bottom or side to side under the expansive hood. I’d feel sorry for the person who drops their car keys in the engine bay because it might never be found.

    Dragging the 3D model to the left of the screen, Marshall took us to the back of the car, and it was there that we found another engineering solution that breaks new ground. The complex engine and Flybrid system at the front of the car works in unison to turn the front tires through driveshafts that look like bronze tree trunks, and with the sheer volume of engine+hybrid power potentially exceeding what the front tires can handle, the Nissan has been designed to send some of the hybrid power to the skinny rear tires if desired. How that power reaches the tires is the good part.

    Picture the loooooong driveshaft extending from the front of the car to the back of the car, terminating at the rear axle line. It connects to a differential housing that scales upward, high enough for driveshafts to reach across and over the through-flow aero tunnels. Those driveshafts connect to individual gearboxes that also sit in tall housings. With the high differential housing connected to the high outrigger gearboxes via driveshafts, the rear wheels are turned by short driveshafts from the base of the gearboxes.

    The entire exercise is done to prevent sticking driveshafts through the tunnels and reducing aero efficiency. Anyone other than Bowlby would have skipped the Herculean task and lived with the extra drag. Thankfully, he and Eakin, the team’s gearbox genius, chose performance over ease. Toyota played with RWD and AWD versions of its LMP1-H challenger during its development stage, so it’s hard to say whether the Nissan will start racing with FWD, AWD, or a blend of both options, but we do know the systems are in place to be utilized.

    Marshall took considerable pride in explaining the rear-drive layout, and for those without a technical aptitude, all I can say is I giggled a little bit when it appeared on the screen because like everything else on the GT-R LM NISMO, the creativity at play connected with the same curiosity that drew me into the sport as a child.

    Spec cars… cookie-cutter designs… they’re the work of the Devil. Bowlby’s Nissan, his DeltaWing, the wild V4-turbo Porsche 919… those are the cars that feed the soul and remind us to fight accepted norms, and whatever’s written in the rulebooks, with all of our might.

    With a return flight home on the horizon, we concluded the virtual tour, made our way down the staircase, and found a new player in the process, a full-sized engine mockup. Outside in the courtyard, we found the first tub sitting atop a bench being cleaned and inspected. Its dimensions were revealing. Minus doors and a windshield, it was clear Nissan’s driver roster would be limited to those closer to sub-compact stature than 6-footers whose legs would rest on top of the engine.

    The project was fascinating, and still a little ways away from reaching the point of having the first rolling chassis produced and headed for its first test. My wife greeted me after the one-hour flight home to Northern California, and she asked “How did it go?” My answer to her in late September hasn’t changed: “I might have just seen the coolest, craziest racecar design I’ve ever come across.”

    A few months later, just prior to Christmas, I’d get to see the Nissan up close and in action.

    After a bit of bartering at home, I negotiated a two-day, one-night trip to Circuit of The Americas where I’d been invited to document the GT-R LM NISMO’s first visit to a racetrack and, most importantly, the filming of Nissan’s Super Bowl commercial would take place.

    With Nissan USA footing the bill, NISMO’s plans for a European launch for the P1 car were quickly replaced with a chance to be seen during the most-watched annual event in North America. The marketing and PR value was obvious, and with 150 people there to film and support the ad, the race team had an interesting situation on its hands.

    The car, with veteran Nissan driver Michael Krumm on board, had already turned laps at their proving grounds in Arizona, but the trip to CoTA marked the first proper racing facility to log miles with the GT-R LM NISMO. While the race team wanted to cut loose with the car, the main order of business involved 50mph passes behind a Porsche Cayenne fitted with an articulated arm carrying a remote camera system. Forget pushing the boundaries of LMP-H technology: Driver Jann Mardenborough lumbered around in first and second gear in cold, damp conditions, while the director worked through his shot list.

    Through Nissan USA’s relationship with Kevin Doran, Doran Racing team supplied a number of vehicles used during the Super Bowl shoot, including Doran’s JE4 Daytona Prototype. The chassis won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2004, a mere 11 years ago, yet compared to the GT-R LM NISMO, looks like a leftover from sports car racing’s Stone Age.

    Once the initial array of shots was completed, the race team pulled the car into the garage (which had housed Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari Formula 1 car during November’s U.S. Grand Prix) and went to work inspecting the vehicle after its maiden outing.

    With the full crew assembled in the garage, it was interesting to see how much the program had expanded since my visit to AAR. Staff from the Panther Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports IndyCar teams had been signed. Alex Job Racing, Level 5 Motorsports, and Starworks Motorsport team members were now in Nissan garb. Men from Aston Martin Racing, and later, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing, also joined the GT-R LM NISMO effort. It was a warm reception filled with a lot of good folks I’ve known for many years and, I must admit, it was a pleasant surprise to hear so many American accents within a program that will play on a global stage.

    Next to the car sat a row of tables where engine support technicians – dressed in Nissan gear – sat in front of laptops with uniform “Cosworth” logos adorning the outside of their machines. Further down the row, chassis and drivetrain engineers reviewed the telemetry data and downloaded info from the runs, and generally kept to themselves. Mardenborough, who appeared to be bored stiff, sat off to the side and waited for further instructions.

    Although the laps around COTA’s shortened loop, the same configuration used during the V8 Supercars race in 2013, did not take very long, and were mostly processional with the filming in mind, there was a great sense of curiosity emanating from the team.

    Bowlby and Eakin rushed to the fence to see Mardenborough’s first pass, and while the glorious P1 car was partially blocked by two of Doran’s DPs, one major item was captured. A light drizzle coated the track just enough to produce spray when the cars went by, and after they turned more laps, Mardenborough was instructed to drop the hammer and power away from the Cayenne. Bowlby’s face instantly went from pensive first-time father in the hospital waiting room to proud parent.

    Mardenborough shot by from right to left, heading towards the finish line and CoTA’s unmistakable uphill climb, Bowlby’s head swiveled, tracking the rain as it moved down the Nissan’s through-flow channels. He’d run simulations in CFD, but this was the first real-world example of how efficiently the through-flow system worked. We both watched as a perfect rooster tail of spray swept high into the air and it was exactly what Bowlby had expected: the water met in the middle and shot upward in a single, thin column, like a wispy white Mohawk behind the swan-neck mount that holds the rear wing. It was a thing of beauty.

    “I feel like every woman probably feels after giving birth, Never again!” said Bowlby after his car came to a rest on pit lane.

    A gift soon arrived in the form of a crate from gearbox manufacturer Xtrac. With its delivery falling well behind the team’s planned test schedule, the Nissan team was presented with an extraordinary challenge. Its new LMP1-H challenger could sit idle for months and wait on its transmission vendor or, as they soon chose, they could have their own unit cast and start testing while they waited on the final version. An outfit in Michigan produced the casting, which also carried the front suspension and steering, and serves as an integral load-bearing chassis component, and the Nissan team readily accepted the weight penalty that came with the piece. With the proper Xtrac unit onsite, Bowlby’s first interest was to have it uncrated and placed on one of the four digital scales built into the chassis setup pad. How much lighter was the Xtrac product?

    “Top secret, mate, but it’s much closer to where we should have been from the beginning,” Bowlby said with a smile and clear sense of relief. Mechanics descended on the Xtrac piece and prepped it for installation once the day’s filming was completed.

    The overall newness of the GT-R LM NISMO meant it was sent to CoTA without all of its incredible technology in place. The Super Bowl shoot would be done using the engine alone, and once the two-day Dec. 17-18 shoot was complete, the plan was to fit the KERS system and conduct serious runs Dec. 19-21 before taking a quick breather over the holidays.

    More filming took place on that first afternoon, and among the Nissan crew members, the highlight of the experience was still one day away. The next garage over housed a variety of Nissan racecars and stunt cars, including a full JRM-built GT3-spec GT-R, and the car that racer/stunt ace Rhys Millen was going to barrel roll as part of the 100 shots edited into the Super Bowl ad. Even with the most sought-after, advanced LMP1-H car on the planet in front of them, the clear highlight of the filming process was the GT3 GT-R knockoff Millen was going to ride through the air entering Turn 13.

    Daylight had been in short supply thanks to the ever-present clouds, and with the ambient light starting to fade, everyone prepared for night shooting. I went upstairs during that transition and spent an hour with Darren Cox who, as we’ve come to expect, was equal parts brand ambassador and NISMO evangelist.

    How did the new car take its singular shape?

    “The brief was, don’t build me an Audi, or a P1 copy,” he said. “The decision was taken, if you had a new sheet of paper, what car would you build? Let’s be honest, Audi have got $200 billion in the bank in terms of investing technologies. Porsche, basically, almost copied Audi in a lot of respects.

    “Toyota have a Dome chassis with a Super GT engine. They all had something that they could then utilize. Everyone has the same idea. Actually, we’ve just gone, well, there is the tub, we’ll move the engine from there to there, that means you can change the balance of the weight distribution, therefore you can change the distribution of the center of pressure on the aero.

    “Once you start there, that is pretty simple. Almost the craziest thing is, do we have a front or rear-wheel drive? That’s probably the biggest leap. Actually putting an engine in the front, when you look at the modeling, it’s pretty simple. The question is, should it be front or rear-wheel drive? We had that debate as well. Actually, when you look at it, the packaging, using the tires in the back are smaller which means your aero is easier on the back. A number of different factors of why you have the power through the front. It actually becomes simple. But it can’t become simple if you start with a diesel engine that is in the back and 10 years of history [using it there]. You would never think of putting an engine in the front.

    “Then when you get innovative people sitting at a table together, and you go, hang on a minute, [put] the best [ideas] on a blank sheet of paper, it is genuinely what happened. We looked at a blank sheet of paper and the best solution is the engine you see downstairs, which is a V6 twin turbo, four-wheel-drive, the engine is in the front. It must be a GT-R then. Then it’s just a marketing job made easy. We’ve got one of them, we’ll just call it that. If it was a diesel engine in the back we couldn’t have called it a GTR, could we? That’s why we ended up where we are.”

    Preach on, Brother Darren.

    One of Nissan’s PR representatives added to the discourse by laying out their plans for sharing the program with the world.

    “We don’t want to be like the other manufacturers who are guarded, who keep everything under wraps and only tell you what they want to know,” he said. “We are going to be wide open. Come on in, see it all, tell your story however you want—guts and all, and we plan to do the same. Post our setup sheets online. Look at all the little technical details, the spring rates, or whatever. Make this your own car, learn from it, ask questions.

    “We’re all adults here, and that’s how we’re going to treat everyone. There’s nothing that’s off-limits, and that might take some getting used to for some guys, but that’s how we’re going about things.”

    The car barked to life as the director readied his team to film take after take of pit stops being performed. A problem with the Nissan’s battery restricted the shoot, and before long, activities were over and the crew began disassembling the front of the car to perform maintenance and ready the LMP1-H for Thursday’s running.

    We were greeted by fewer clouds the next morning, but high winds made filming, and lapping, more of a struggle than expected. Once the weather improved, the GT-R LM NISMO was joined by Doran’s JE4 for an extended series of laps.

    Perched on top of the Turn 1 photographers scaffolding, the sight of the cutting-edge Nissan being shadowed by the Doran DP was like witnessing a visual hate crime. The mile-wide cockpit on the DP was a stark reminder of how unimaginative rules bred dreadful designs that are just as ugly today as they were back then.

    By mid-afternoon, the Millen barrel roll had taken place, and most who saw it said it wasn’t as violent as they’d imagined. Once the crumpled car was cleared, more lapping took place until the new gearbox surrendered. Specifically, the lower gears had given up, all of the slow speed acceleration and deceleration put undue stress on the internals, and despite halting the shoot for the rest of the day, Bowlby wasn’t overly displeased. His GT-R LM NISMO will eventually spend time behind safety cars at Le Mans where the same stresses will be placed on the transmission’s lower gears, and with the problems that cropped up at CoTA, a redesign was added to the list of priorities to address.

    “This is exactly the kind of thing you want to have happen now,” he said. “Of course, we do not want to complicate the other plans going on with the commercial’s filming, but we can say that if it were not for the type of conditions we were under during the filming, we might not have experienced this issue until a later time. You’re never pleased when your car stops on track, but if there’s something to be learned from it, which we will, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

    With my flight just 75 minutes away and the curtain falling on the Super Bowl shoot, I packed hurriedly and sprinted from CoTA to the Austin airport. With 1900 photos, some b-roll video, and a few hours of interviews locked away, I couldn’t wait to work on the content over the next month as the Super Bowl drew near. The element of surprise, however, was short lived.

    While waiting for the conditions to improve on Thursday, the team polished the bodywork and rolled it outside for a few of us to photograph in natural lighting. We walked around the GT-R LM NISMO, shot inside it, and from every other vantage point that caught our interest. A few extra people appeared in the background from the garage next door, enough so to mention the fact to one of Nissan’s PR staffers. After a day and a half at the track, most of the people involved with the running of the cars and the filming were easily identifiable. Some of the folks that emerged during the open shoot were not.

    By the following Monday, a drawing of the GT-R LM NISMO, done from the exact angle where some of the new people were standing was on the front page of Jalopnik. The drawing wasn’t a guess; although only Jalopnik and the people inside the Nissan program knew it. It was done from a photo, and rotated one or two degrees, those of us shooting the car had captured the same shot. All those who were at the shoot signed non-disclosure agreements, and most, but apparently not all had the camera lens on their cell phones covered with a Nissan sticker. It was always going to be risky by having more than 100 people at the track and expecting everyone to play by Nissan’s rules, and afterwards, more than one person said they were surprised it took so long for the car to hit the Internet.

    And here we are today. The car was seen by hundreds of millions of people, the craziness has been confirmed, and we’ll soon know whether Audi, Porsche, and Toyota will have a Nissan GT-R LM NISMO nightmare on their hands.

    Marshall Pruett
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    Marc Gene Announced As Nissan LMP1 Driver
    on 02/02/2015 00:30


    The first full season driver of Nissan’s Le Mans challenger, the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, has been revealed as Marc Gene. The Spanish ace has an exemplary record in LM P1 racing with eight LM P1 Le Mans 24 Hours races under his belt. Gene’s experience is much in demand and he has been test driver at Scuderia Ferrari since 2005.

    Gene will provide Nissan NISMO with a firm foundation of experience in its driving squad. He describes Le Mans as “the best race in the world” and already knows how it feels to win the great race outright after doing just that in 2009 with Peugeot, going on to race winning success with Audi too in the FIA WEC.

    “We said at the start of our driver search that we wanted an established LM P1 driver who could provide the extra knowledge and experience that can only be gained by having ‘been there and done it’,” said Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. “In Marc we have found a Le Mans winner, who has raced for two LM P1 works teams and can provide a guiding hand for the other drivers who are stepping up to LM P1. We are very happy to welcome Marc to Nissan and look forward to the development of a successful relationship.”

    Five Minutes With Marc

    How important do you think it is for a new team to have an experienced driver like yourself?

    “Nissan NISMO is a great team already. From the very beginning I have experienced a very good atmosphere in the team. The mechanics and engineers are all very professional and most have Le Mans experience. From my side, my experience in works teams will definitely help Nissan as I have already faced the challenge we are all now facing. Our goal is to reach the podium and ultimately win Le Mans. However we are all aware that at Le Mans there are no shortcuts and we will only achieve our goals with time and hard work, especially now that it is probably the most competitive Le Mans ever with four different manufacturers.”

    What does it feel like to win Le Mans?

    “Winning Le Mans was the most intense feeling I have ever had as a racing driver. I was lucky to be in the car for the final stint and on that long last lap, with all the marshals congratulating me and with more than 200,000 spectators cheering, it was impossible to contain my feelings. Then came the podium and all you can see is this huge crowd, thousands of fans who have followed the race from the beginning.”

    You will compete in the full FIA World Endurance Championship season. What are your expectations for the year ahead?

    “This season we should just focus on learning about and improving the car every time we head out onto the track, whether for testing or racing. Making it to the finish would already be an achievement on it’s own. I hope we can show that the car is competitive, especially at Le Mans.”

    What can you tell us about the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO from a driver’s perspective?

    “I like the aggressive look of the car, which is a consequence of a well-thought and different design, not seen before at Le Mans. From the very first laps I felt very comfortable. I could feel the very powerful engine and high efficiency of the aerodynamics.”

    Are you happy to become a Nissan driver?

    “I am delighted and very excited to drive for Nissan. I have always looked closely at Nissan and it’s motorsport programmes, especially at the GT-R activities and of course it’s road car models. Now to be competing with Nissan in the LM P1 GT-R in the most demanding and prestigious race in the world is something I am very proud of.”

    Date of birth: 29 March 1974
    Place of birth: Sabadell, Spain
    Nationality: Spanish
    Lives: Barcelona, Spain
    Languages: Spanish, Catalan, English, French, Italian and German.
    Twitter: @marc_gene

    When Nissan was looking for an experienced LM P1 driver, Marc Gene’s name came up over and over again. The Spanish racer provides the experience that any new LM P1 team needs. He has been there and done it, winning Le Mans outright in 2009.

    Marc’s racing career began in karting when he was 13 years-old. Over the years he worked his way right up the single-seater ladder, arriving in Formula One in 1999. After two seasons with Minardi he received a call from Sir Frank Williams, who asked him to join the Williams F1 team as a test driver. Then in 2005, Marc took up the role of Test Driver for Scuderia Ferrari, a position that he still holds today.

    Sports cars beckoned for Marc in 2007 and he joined what was then the brand new Peugeot LM P1 programme. It proved to be a successful relationship, the highlight being Marc’s victory at the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours, when he became the first Spaniard to win the great race.

    Multi-lingual Marc is a great academic who loves to read and to learn about all manner of subjects. He has a degree in Economics and was once an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

    Career Highlights

    2014
    • Second place at the Le Mans 24 Hours with Audi
    • Winner of the 6 Hours of Spa (WEC) with JOTA
    • Ferrari F1 Test Driver (2005-present day)

    2013
    • Third place at the Le Mans 24 Hours with Audi
    • Third place in the 6 Hours of Spa (WEC) with Audi

    2012
    • Fifth place at the Le Mans 24 Hours with Audi
    • Winner of the 6 Hours of Spa (WEC)

    2011
    • Fourth place in the Le Mans 24 Hours with Peugeot
    • Second place in the Sebring 12 Hours with Peugeot

    2010
    • Winner of Sebring 12 Hours with Peugeot
    • Le Mans 24 Hours with Peugeot – DNF in 22nd hour whilst running second

    2009
    • Winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours with Peugeot – first Spanish winner

    2008
    • Second place at the Le Mans 24 Hours with Peugeot
    • Runner-up in European Le Mans Series with Peugeot
    • Winner of 1000kms of Spa with Peugeot

    2007
    • Third place in European Le Mans Series with Peugeot – Winner at Monza, Silverstone and Interlagos
    • Le Mans 24 Hours with Peugeot – DNF after 22 hours

    2005 – present day
    • Ferrari F1 Test Driver

    2001 – 2004
    • BMW WilliamsF1 Team test and reserve driver (fifth place at 2003 Italian GP)

    1999 – 2000
    • FIA Formula 1 World Championship with Minardi – Sixth place in 1999 Nurburgring F1 GP

    1998
    • Open Fortuna by Nissan Champion

    1997
    • International F3000

    1996
    • Golden Cup Superformula Champion

    1994-1995
    • British F3 – Rookie of the Year in ‘94

    1993
    • European Formula Ford – Second place European Championship and Formula Ford Festival

    1992
    • Spanish Formula Ford

    1987-1991
    • Two-time Spanish Karting Champion (88 and 90)
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  15. #105
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    here is the Superbowl launch advert...

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  16. #106
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    I almost hope Nissan win next year for having the balls to develop an LMP1 car with the engine where it should be - at the front.

  17. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Architect View Post
    I almost hope Nissan win next year for having the balls to develop an LMP1 car with the engine where it should be - at the front.
    reminds me so much of the old Panoz. Looks, ok, doesnt do it for me, but sure Tobes loves it Bring on Silverstone. Takes alot to go another way and do a front engined LMP1.
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    Onroak Automotive Press Release – 02.02.2015

    Ligier JS P3, the Onroak Automotive LM P3 sports prototype

    Onroak Automotive completes its sports prototype range with the Ligier JS P3, a car aimed at the new LM P3 category. The French constructor was already present with success in the LM P2 category with the Ligier JS P2 and the Morgan LM P2, and in the CN category with the Ligier JS 53 EVO.

    Onroak Automotive waited for the final set of regulations to be announced before signing off the design of the Ligier JS P3, the aim being to present the most complete car complying with the LM P3 regulations. The constructor wants to take the time required to fine-tune this new LM P3 sports prototype before its homologation, which will then be frozen for three years.

    The Ligier JS P3 will take full advantage of its close links with the Ligier JS P2, in particular in terms of its design and its aerodynamics directly inspired by the latter, a choice dictated by efficiency.

    In addition, the Onroak Automotive design office knows all there is to know about adapting all kinds of engines to its chassis, in particular the Nissan V8s.

    The Ligier JS P3 will be presented at Le Mans in June 2015 during the Le Mans 24-Hours week. A limited production run will be made this year and the first cars will be available for teams in September.

    Jacques Nicolet, President of Onroak Automotive: “This Ligier JS P3 confirms our ambitions to design and sell a complete range of sports prototypes for endurance. We were already present with success on the market for the CN and LM P2 categories. Backed by our know-how, our experience, and the time we’ve given ourselves for its design and development we’re convinced that this new car will be a success. We’d like to build up a real endurance ladder and accompany our clients from one category to the next.”
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    SARD Racing Team And Team Morand Join Forces

    After two successful seasons in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), Swiss Benoit Morand joins the LMP2 class of the FIA WEC while Japanese team SARD RACING TEAM is coming back in an international championship.
    Over the past two seasons in the highly competitive LMP2 class, Benoit Morand and his Judd-powered Morgan claimed one overall victory, finished in the top 3 in the final standings of the 2014 ELMS and twice received the chequered flag in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Founded in 1972, Sigma Automotive Co Ltd started its racing activities as SARD (the acronym for Sigma Advanced Research and Development) in the mid-eighties, establishing a long-term relationship with Toyota, notably in endurance racing. SARD and Toyota scored their best result in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1994, with the runner-up spot for the 94 CV prototype driven by Jeff Krosnoff, Eddie Irvine and Mauro Martini.

    These two approaches of motor racing, blending Benoit Morand’s reputation of originality and performance and SARD’s Japanese tradition and racing experience, are joining together today to create TEAM SARD-MORAND. The team is initiating an exciting challenge, which starts in 2015 with a significant presence in the LMP2 grid of the FIA WEC with two Morgan EVO SARDs.

    Katsuyuki Sato (SARD RACING TEAM President): “Benoit Morand has the spirit to win and the knowledge needed to be a strong team which seems a usual things for a team manager but it is not occasional case in today’s motor sport. We would also like to demonstrate our new technology in FIA WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

    Benoit Morand (Team Principal): “For a young team like us, it is an honour to share our destiny with SARD RACING TEAM. SARD’s long history demonstrates that this team has always been searching for new challenges while combining a professional spirit with a family environment.”

    TEAM SARD-MORAND choose an involvement of international level in the LMP2 class of the FIA WEC, a world championship in great expansion attracting many renowned new teams as well as drivers of high reputation. In order to tackle with a fierce competition, TEAM SARD-MORAND will enter two cars in 2015 and aim at battling as soon as possible in the LMP2 top positions.

    Shin Kato (SARD RACING TEAM founder): “Our best finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is second so you can easily guess our next target. As far as I know, the LMP2 class will be very competitive in 2015, notably because of a growing number of entries.”

    Benoit Morand: “TEAM SARD-MORAND is born to win races, it’s in our genes! The Morgan chassis received a new 2015 homologation. After discussions with our partner Onroak Automotive, it rapidly was obvious that thanks to the changes which can be made, the chassis will keep a very good level of competitiveness. We know the Morgan very well and it is the best option for TEAM SARD-MORAND in 2015.”

    TEAM SARD-MORAND will once again collaborate with Onroak Automotive, and the two Morgan EVO SARDs entered in the FIA WEC will feature the 2015 technical evolutions designed by Jacques Nicolet’s staff, and will be fitted by a 3.6 litre V8 SARD engine. Dunlop has been working with Benoit Morand since the inception of his team and will carry on this year as the tyre supplier for TEAM SARD-MORAND.

    Hideki Noda (SARD RACING TEAM General Manager): “In the two previous seasons Benoit Morand run and won with the Morgan chassis. Endurance racing is not just about speed, there are many conditions required for victory. I think the Morgan is really reliable and easy to drive, and this is very important for our drivers.”

    Benoit Morand: “SARD RACING TEAM became a team of worldwide reputation thanks to their long relationship with Toyota, but they remain very humble. Hideki Noda previously was a driver of very high standard outside Japan and his global comprehension of motor sports will be very helpful.”

    Jacques Nicolet (Onroak Automotive President): “I am very pleased and proud to keep on partnering with Benoit Morand who will trust us once again by entering a second chassis by Onroak Automotive for his great leap in the FIA WEC. We have developed a new aero kit, the Morgan LMP2 EVO will be even more performing, and I hope it will offer the team even more victories very soon.”

    For their two Morgan EVO SARD chassis, TEAM SARD-MORAND blend the experience and talents of drivers from all over the world. Christian Klien from Austria (a former Formula 1 and LMP1 factory driver, who raced with Benoit Morand’s team in 2013 and 2014) and Koki Saga from Japan (a Super Formula and Super GT stalwart in his country) will share the #39 car. The third driver will be announced shortly. Pierre Ragues from France and Oliver Webb from the UK (both claimed the LMP2 drivers’ title, in 2013 and 2014 respectively) will be at the wheel of the #43. They will joined by the winner of the “Race To 24” show for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the remaining rounds of the 2015 FIA WEC. The team mate of the Ragues-Webb pair for the Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps race will be announced soon.

    Christian Klien: “It was satisfying to witness a private team improve in stature and become a race winning team in the 2014 ELMS. I am proud to have contributed to this progress and have enjoyed working closely with Benoit Morand, his wife Gladys and the other team members. My goal was to compete in FIA WEC, to do so with the team I raced with the last two years is even better. SARD RACING TEAM has already a very valuable experience in top sports car racing, whilst Morand proved his strength in last years ELMS and the 24h of Le Mans. The combination of these two very enthusiastic and passionate units creates a great opportunity to become a top WEC sports car team. I love being able to bring the experience I have from Formula 1 and as a factory LMP1 racing driver to a private team and built it up from there. Endurance racing is all about precision and consistency, the whole team has to pull in the same direction. I will help my team mates as well as the race engineers as much as I can. At the end of the day it is a team sport and only if we work closely together we can be strong and compete for race wins. I am very motivated and looking forward to the FIA WEC season to begin.”

    Koki Saga: “I believe that the FIA WEC is a one of the highest-level championships in the world. In fact, during the whole season of the FIA WEC, attractive competition is coming up every single race. I definitely make use of this huge chance to get the 2015 LMP2 title. In Japan, we believe that the 24 Hours of Le Mans are one of the most prestigious races in the world. I know that many racers in the world wish to participate the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Joining in this race is an honour but it is also very challenging.”

    Pierre Ragues: “A world championship definitely requires a new approach. The season is longer and so are the races, lasting 6 hours. Of course the climax of the season will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans I will compete in for the ninth time. The FIA WEC is a high-standard challenge and I am really looking forward to starting the season, I kept great memories of my 2012 season. For the second half of the season starting in Germany, we will have a very tight schedule, with five events in less than three months! My goal at the wheel of the #43 car will be to bring experience and performance. As usual we will have to work together as a team, which is the key to the success in endurance racing. I felt very comfortable inside the team last year and I am sure that we will once again do a great job together. Our pre-season tests will be very important, we will have to be ready and immediately competitive at the start of the first round at Silverstone.”

    Oliver Webb: “This is the best stage for me: after winning the ELMS and coming third at Le Mans, both in my first attempt, I am ready for the world stage. To do this with a great two-car team and the combination of skills, professionalism and knowledge of TEAM SARD-MORAND, it will be a very successful year and one where we can tackle some amazing tracks. I can’t wait after the ELMS championship to have longer races and some amazing places in the world to race at, and also to show our skills as a team together on the best stage there is, the FIA WEC. This is a great opportunity to show what we can do and work together to win the FIA WEC LMP2 championship.”

    For TEAM SARD-MORAND, 2015 will be a year of discovery in the FIA WEC and its circuits, but the team will be aiming at podium finishes before even higher objectives in 2016.

    An announcement regarding the “Race to 24” show, whose winner will join Pierre Ragues and Oliver Webb at the wheel of the #43 Morgan EVO SARD, will be made on Wednesday February 4. More information to come soon, stay tuned!

    http://www.planetlemans.com/2015/02/...m-sard-morand/
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  21. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    reminds me so much of the old Panoz. Looks, ok, doesnt do it for me, but sure Tobes loves it Bring on Silverstone. Takes alot to go another way and do a front engined LMP1.
    I think it's certainly uglier than any other front-engined car I've seen in the last few years. It'll be fun to see it racing though, assuming it's going to be more reliable than the Delta Wing. It's a fascinating time for prototypes.

  22. #112
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    These new Prototypes r so cool looking.

    Dont really know what to say about the Nissan.
    It carries GTR yet its a front driver? And it doesnt resemble
    a GTR at all. Interesting though.

    Great articles n pix!!!

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    The 488 GTB debuts, pix on facetube today.
    What will this mean to teams like Risi that run the 458's in the WEC?

  24. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    The 488 GTB debuts, pix on facetube today.
    What will this mean to teams like Risi that run the 458's in the WEC?
    this maybe 458s last year of arcing. The 488GTB will take a while to get "race" ready and prepared. Looking good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    this maybe 458s last year of arcing. The 488GTB will take a while to get "race" ready and prepared. Looking good.
    Can't wait for a 488GTB AF Corse version
    Maurizio Arrivabene fanpage:www.facebook.com/maurizioarrivabene

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    Not sure how much really needs to change. The 458 GT car will internally be very different to the 458 road car as it is externally.

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    REBELLION RACING CHOOSE AER ENGINES FOR 2015

    03/02/2015 - 19h23


    Rebellion Racing’s LMP1 cars will compete with a new power plant for 2015 after forging an engine partnership with Advanced Engine Research (AER).

    The Swiss team’s two Rebellion R-One non-hybrid LMP1 cars will be powered by AER P60 V6 GDI twin-turbo engines, switching from the naturally aspirated Toyota RV8K-LM 3.4 litre V8 engines used to date. Rebellion has registered for two entries in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

    It is a forward thinking decision because an engine change was certain at the end of the 2015 season as this would have been the last year of the RV8K-LM. However, changing for a new engine partner one year earlier than necessary was not an easy decision to make. Rebellion Racing had four highly successful years with the Toyota RV8K-LM engine and a great relationship with TMG and Toyota Motorsport engineers and management staff.

    The team believes that Advanced Engine Research will provide an extremely competitive engine package and that the P60 engine configuration gives the best maximum power / torque / efficiency combination available on the market for an LMP1 team.

    Rebellion and its chassis partner ORECA are already working against the clock to develop a revised version of the Rebellion R-One to be fitted with the AER V6 twin-turbo engine. As the decision to change engine has been made deep into the off-season, the team has informed the FIA WEC that their cars will not be ready in time for the start of the 2015 championship. The team will miss both the FIA WEC Prologue at Circuit Paul Ricard and the first round of the championship at the 6 Hours of Silverstone. The team will be putting all their efforts into making the debut of the new Rebellion R-One AER cars around the time of the 6 Hours of Spa.

    Bart Hayden, REBELLION Racing Team Manager: “We are delighted to announce our new association with Advanced Engine Research for the 2015 FIA WEC season and beyond, this partnership is exciting news for REBELLION Racing. We are pleased to welcome them as our new engine partner and look forward to building a productive and successful working relationship. The AER P60 engine has shown good performance on track already and we believe that this engine will marry well to the Rebellion R-One chassis. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank TOYOTA and TMG who have been so closely associated with our team and their continued hard work since we started our engine partnership at the end of the 2010 season. We have enjoyed a strong relationship that has resulted in many class successes and overall victories over the past four years. We are faced with a significant amount of work to upgrade the R-One cars to accommodate the P60 engine and we are fully determined to do it in the best way possible, that is why we will not be ready in time to debut the new cars at the season opening race at Silverstone.”

    Mike Lancaster, Advanced Engine Research Managing Director: “We thank REBELLION Racing for choosing to work with AER and to use our AER P60 V6 GDI twin-turbocharged LMP-1 engine. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to work with such a well-respected and successful racing Team and we have already been impressed with the dedication and in-depth knowledge of the entire Team. We look forward to the 2015 WEC and Le Mans race with REBELLION Racing and we hope to build on the Team’s successes for the future. ”
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    Press Information - Automobile Club de l'Ouest
    Si vous visualisez mal cette lettre, consultez-la en ligne.



    Paris, 05 February 2015

    2015 Le Mans 24 Hours
    Only a few more hours to go!




    Who will be at the start of the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours? Find out this afternoon when the list of entries for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours will be announced. Surfers can view this event live on video during a broadcast made possible thanks to Michelin.

    Entry requests for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours closed on Tuesday 27th January at midnight. Since then the selection committee has met. The results of its work will be announced in a few hours!

    The list of the 56 cars selected to take part in the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours on 13-14 June, those entered for the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series will be revealed today 5th February 2015 at 15h00.

    During this broadcast surfers can also see the on-the-spot reactions of some of the major players who have been selected this year.

    The Automobile Club de l’Ouest will also unveil the Le Mans 24-Hours poster and the advertisement for the 83rd event.

    Thanks to Michelin this conference can be viewed live on video on 24h-lemans.com, fiawec.com and europeanlemansseries.com.



    Practical information
    The 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours
    83rd running
    3rd round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship

    Dates : 13-14 June 2015

    General enclosure ticket price: 56,25 euros (ACO members) 75 euros (non ACO members).

    Free for young people born after 14th June 1999 accompanied by an adult.

    Test day: Sunday 31st May 2015.

    Scrutineering and administrative checks: Sunday 7th and Monday 8th June 2015.

    Free practice and qualifying: Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th June 2015.

    Start of the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours: Saturday 13th June 2015 at 15h00.

    Information: www.24h-lemans.com

    Facebook: 24 Heures du Mans – ACO Official

    Twitter: @24hoursoflemans Hashtag : #LM24

    WebTV : Lemans-tv.com




    Become a member of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and live the 24 Hours of Le Mans in privileged conditions!




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  29. #119
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Stowmarket. U.K
    Posts
    16,645


    FIA WEC: the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italias and the titles to keep.

    February 5th, 2015 – Following the victories in the GT category since the birth of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC, first edition in 2012), the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italias are ready to defend the titles won in the best competition for GT cars in the world.

    Confirmed the squads in the LM GTE Pro category.
    Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander, GT Drivers world champions in 2014 (Bruni had already won the title in 2013 after the leadership also in 2012, the inaugural year of the WEC in which the GT Drivers’ World Championship was not awarded ) will be at wheel of the Ferrari 458 Italia #51.

    Davide Rigon and James Calado will race in the Ferrari 458 Italia #71. The two young drivers in last season – the year of their debut in the WEC with an AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia – gained five podiums in total (out of eight races); four of these results came in the last four races.

    In the LM GTE Am, currently the participation is sure for Emmanuel Collard, Francois Perrodo and Rui Aguas with an AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia.
    AF Corse Press Office - Riccardo Delfanti
    Last edited by Rob; 5th February 2015 at 21:30.
    CAVALLINO RAMPANTE PER SEMPRE

  30. #120
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Stowmarket. U.K
    Posts
    16,645

    NEWS ALERT
    Paris - 05 February 2015
    Hello Mr Robert Allum,

    FULL GRID FOR 2015 WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP

    05/02/2015 - 12h04



    In Paris today the ACO revealed an incredible 35 entries for the forthcoming FIA World Endurance Championship season which begins at Silverstone on the 12 April. The large grid includes 21 LMP entries, with 11 LMP1 and 10 LMP2 cars entered for the full season. The LMGTE entry is evenly split with 7 cars in both Pro and Am categories, making a total of 14 in all.

    LMP1: The Largest Class in 2015

    For the first time there will be four manufacturers competing for the World Endurance Championship title. On Sunday Nissan revealed the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo which will take on the might of reigning World Champions Toyota, 24 Hours of Le Mans winners and double World Champions Audi, and race winners Porsche. The Japanese manufacturer also announced Marc Gené as its first driver signing and today has revealed that reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class winner and ELMS Vice Champion Harry Tincknell will become a Nissan factory driver in 2015. He is joined by Olivier Pla, the French driver also stepping up from LMP2 after scoring four wins and seven pole positions for G-Drive Racing in 2014, and reigning Super GT GT500 Champion Tsugio Matsuda who has also competed in the WEC’s LMP2 class in 2014.

    Toyota has confirmed World Champion Anthony Davidson as the lead driver in the no1 TS040, with Alex Wurz in the no2 car. Audi has announced Marcel Fässler and Lucas di Grassi as the lead drivers in the no7 and no8 R18 e-tron quattros, with Porsche confirming Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas in the no17 and no18 919 Hybrids.

    The manufacturer driver line-ups are essentially unchanged but with two notable full time additions for 2015. Audi recently announcing Oliver Jarvis as the replacement for Tom Kristensen, while Toyota has confirmed that Mike Conway would be racing for the team full time this season.

    There are three LMP1 privateer entries for the 2015 season. Three-time champions Rebellion Racing are entering two Rebellion R-Ones, with Nicolas Prost and Matthias Beche announced as the lead drivers. For 2015 the Swiss team will switch from Toyota to AER engines. Team Bykolles, formerly Lotus, will enter a single CLM P1/01 – AER with Swiss driver Simon Trummer named as the lead driver.

    LMP2: Quality AND Quantity in 2015

    After smaller than expected grids in 2014 the LMP2 category bounces back in 2015 with a large ten-car entry that features six different manufacturers – Alpine, HPD, Ligier, Morgan, ORECA and Strakka Dome.

    2014 LMP2 Vice-Champions G-Drive Racing return as a two-car team in 2015, racing the Ligier JS P2-Nissan that proved to be so successful for them last year. Four-time race winner Roman Rusinov and Columbian Gustavo Yacaman are the two lead drivers named for the Russian team. 2013 LMP2 Champions OAK Racing also return to the WEC in 2015, with team owner Jacques Nicolet named in the no35 Ligier.

    After claiming three LMP2 victories last year, KCMG will also return in 2015 with the new Nissan powered ORECA 05 driven by Matt Howson.

    Following two successful outings in 2014, American team Extreme Speed Motorsports will compete for the entire WEC season in 2015 with a pair of the brand new HPD ARX 04B-Hondas with Ed Brown and Scott Sharp named as the lead drivers.After a difficult year of development in 2014, Strakka Racing will finally be able to showcase the new Strakka Dome S103–Nissan in 2015. The Strakka Dome will be the only LMP2 car to use Michelin tyres, all others being on Dunlop rubber, and Nick Leventis, Jonny Kane and Danny Watts will all return to the WEC this season with the British team.

    Double European Le Mans Series Champion Signatech Alpine is bringing the Nissan-powered Alpine A450B to the World Endurance Championship in 2015, with reigning ELMS Drivers Champion Nelson Panciatici confirmed by the team.

    Another team moving up from the ELMS is Team Morand. The Swiss team has formed a partnership with Japan’s SARD Racing to form a two-car entry for Team SARD Morand running the Morgan Evo–SARD. Christian Klien will drive the no39 car entered under the Japanese flag, while Pierre Ragues will drive the Swiss-entered no43 Morgan.

    LMGTE Pro: Three Manufacturers and Plenty of Action in Store

    Triple World Champion Ferrari is back to defend its title with a two-car entry run by AF Corse. Gianmaria Bruni will also return to defend his world title, racing the team’s no51 Ferrari 458 Italia, with Davide Rigon named in the no71 F458. The Italians will face fierce opposition from a two-car entry by Porsche Team Manthey and a three-car assault by Aston Martin Racing.

    Two race wins and second place in the manufacturers title last season gives the German team a strong foundation on which to launch its 2015 campaign but nothing less than the world title will be good enough for the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans class champions. Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet have been named as the lead drivers in the no91 and n92 Porsche 911 RSRs respectively.

    Two becomes three for Aston Martin Racing in 2015 with the LMGTE Am Champions Young Driver AMR moving up to the Pro class to race alongside the no97 Aston Martin Vantage of Darren Turner and no99 Vantage V8 of Fernando Rees. The ‘All Danish’ no95 car will feature Lotus F1 reserve driver Marco Sørensen.

    LMGTE Am: Star Quality on the Grid and Chevrolet Corvette Returns to the WEC

    Seven cars and four different manufacturers makes the battle for the GTE Am title an exciting prospect in 2015. American acting star Patrick Dempsey will join the grid racing a Porsche 911 RSR for Dempsey-Proton Racing, with a second Porsche 911 being run under the Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing banner with Christian Ried leading the no88 car.

    2012 LMGTE Am Champions and 24 Hours of Le Mans class winners Larbre Competition return to the WEC in 2015 with the Corvette C7R. The very experienced Italian Gianluca Roda is named by the French team as the lead driver.

    Last season’s WEC LMP2 Champion SMP Racing transfers to the GTE Am category with a single Ferrari 458 for 2014 ELMS Champion Victor Shaitar, while AF Corse will also enter a single Ferrari 458 with Francois Perrodo as the lead driver.

    As well as the three LMGTE Pro cars, Aston Martin Racing will be running a further two Vantage V8s in the LMGTE Am class for Germany’s Roald Goethe (no96) and Canadian Paul Dalla Lana (no98).

    Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, said: “This grid represents the very top of endurance racing in the world today. We welcome back the teams and drivers who raced with the WEC in previous seasons and we also welcome the new teams who are joining the World Endurance Championship for the first time in 2015. With thirty-five entries received for the new season, the large number provides all the proof needed to demonstrate that the WEC is providing the correct environment for all the manufacturers, teams, drivers and sponsors who wish to compete at the highest levels of motorsport. The WEC and the 24 Heures du Mans is the top of the endurance pyramid and it is very good to see representatives from each continent – Europe, North America and Asia - where the ACO has established continental series.

    “The LMP1 regulations have been a great success and have created an environment for technical innovation and excellence. This season we welcome Nissan to the WEC family and the Japanese manufacturer has chosen a radical design to challenge Audi, Porsche and Toyota. The fact that the WEC technical regulations are flexible enough to allow such a different concept is testament to the successful governance of the championship by the ACO and the FIA. This is true for all the classes, which is reflected in the quality of the teams that have entered for the 2015 season. We are looking forward to The Prologue next month and then the first race at Silverstone in April.”

    Jean Todt, President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, said: “Over the past three years the WEC has surpassed all our expectations in terms of growth, popularity, innovation and excitement and in 2015, with the announcement today of a season entry of 35 cars, those elements will again be to the fore. With new teams, new drivers and the prospect of even closer competition I am sure that the 2015 season will be another thrilling season for the World Endurance Championship.”

    Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, President of the FIA Endurance Commission, said: “To have four manufacturers in LMP1, three more in GTE and a full season entry of 35 cars is a good indication of the health of the WEC. The design of the new Nissan GT-R LM Nismo has certainly provided many column inches in the media and has set social media alight but from an engineering perspective it also demonstrates that the new regulations have allowed a major motor manufacturer to come up with a solution to a set of rules that is very different from their rivals. This is a key factor of what endurance racing is all about and we are very happy to have provided a framework that has allowed technical innovation to be prominent. We look forward to an exciting season of racing across all four categories of the World Endurance Championship.”

    Gérard Neveu, CEO of the World Endurance Championship, said:“Thirty-five cars is a very strong entry list to be going into the fourth season of the WEC. The high level of interest is a result of all the different elements that make up this championship being fine-tuned to provide the best stage in the world of sportscar racing. The WEC represents the Spirit of Le Mans and we have been showcasing endurance around the world for the past three years. The results have been large crowds that have been growing steadily, with great entertainment both on and off the track that keeps everyone involved in the event. We look forward to welcoming you at a round of the WEC this year.”

    LMP1
    1 Toyota Racing - Toyota TS040 HYBRID (Anthony Davidson)
    2 Toyota Racing - Toyota TS040 HYBRID (Alexander Wurz)
    4 Team ByKolles - CLMP1/01-AER (Simon Trummer)
    7 Audi Sport Team Joest - Audi R18 E-tron Quattro (Marcel Fassler)
    8 Audi Sport Team Joest - Audi R18 E-tron Quattro (Lucas di Grassi)
    12 Rebellion Racing - Rebellion R-One-AER (Nicolas Prost)
    13 Rebellion Racing - Rebellion R-One-AER (Mathias Beche)
    17 Porsche Team - Porsche 919 Hybrid (Timo Bernhard)
    18 Porsche Team - Porsche 919 Hybrid (Romain Dumas)
    22 Nissan Motorsports - Nissan GT-R LM NISMO (Harry Tincknell)
    23 Nissan Motorsports - Nissan GT-R LM NISMO (Olivier Pla)

    LMP2
    26 G-Drive Racing - Ligier JSP2-Nissan (Roman Rusinov)
    28 G-Drive Racing - Ligier JSP2-Nissan (Gustavo Yacaman)
    30 Extreme Speed Motorsports - HPD ARX-04b-Honda (Scott Sharp)
    31 Extreme Speed Motorsports - HPD ARX-04b-Honda (Ed Brown)
    35 OAK Racing - Ligier JSP2-Nissan (Jacques Nicolet)
    36 Signatech Alpine - Alpine A4508-Nissan (Nelson Panciatici)
    39 Team SARD Morand - Morgan Evo-SARD (Christian Klien)
    42 Strakka Racing - Strakka Dome S103-Nissan (Nick Leventis)
    43 Team SARD Morand - Morgan Evo-SARD (Pierre Ragues)
    47 KCMG - ORECA 05-Nissan (Matt Howson)

    LMGTE Pro
    51 AF Corse - Ferrari 458 Italia (Gianmaria Bruni)
    71 AF Corse - Ferrari 458 Italia (Davide Rigon)
    91 Porsche Team Manthey - Porsche 911 RSR (Richard Lietz)
    92 Porsche Team Manthey - Porsche 911 RSR (Patrick Pilet)
    95 Aston Martin Racing - Aston Martin Vantage V8 (Marco Sorensen)
    97 Aston Martin Racing - Aston Martin Vantage V8 (Darren Turner)
    99 Aston Martin Racing - Aston Martin Vantage V8 (Fernando Rees)

    LMGTE Am
    50 Larbre Competition - Corvette C7R (Gianluca Roda)
    72 SMP Racing - Ferrari 458 Italia (Victor Shaitar)
    77 Dempsey-Proton Racing - Porsche 911 RSR (Patrick Dempsey)
    83 AF Corse - Ferrari 458 Italia (Francois Perrodo)
    88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing - Porsche 911 RSR (Christian Ried)
    96 Aston Martin Racing - Aston Martin Vantage V8 (Roald Goethe)
    98 Aston Martin Racing - Aston Martin Vantage V8 (Paul Dalla Lana)

    * Designated drivers are listed for entry list purposes only and could change
    Last edited by Rob; 5th February 2015 at 21:41.
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