The World’s Greatest Endurance Race Rules Changing This Year
Every race has it’s own rules. Formula 1 rules are thought to be pretty complex, but they have nothing on the World Endurance Championship regulations. The World Endurance Championship regulations which govern races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans are extensive, covering things that would never be needed in a much shorter race.
Endurance racing is less about speed, and more about efficiency, much like the F1. Endurance racers don’t win on time though. They’re judged by the number of miles covered, and how efficient their cars run, using precise amounts of energy during each lap of the race.
Innovation is also a factor in the new endurance race rules. To encourage innovation, some traditional restrictions were actually removed. Race teams can now use their choice of fuel, or even giant engines with massive turbos, rather than being forced to add air restrictors or run on alternative fuels.
What the new rules do require though, is that racers use 25 to 30 percent less fuel than last year to get through the race. To help make this happen, cars can now store more energy through a hybrid flywheel or batteries. Each team is allowed a set amount of energy per lap. They can choose whether to run with a large engine and small hybrid assist system, or the opposite- a small engine and a great deal of assistance through a hybrid system.
Porsche intends to use a small 2.0-litre V4 engine, mated to an 8 MJ hybrid system. This gives it less fuel, but a great deal of electric power. Audi, as it tries to sit at the top of the podium for the thirteenth time, will go with it’s R18 e-tron quattro. “From the calculations we have done, we think the combination of the diesel engine and the 2MJ system is a better combination,” says Audi Sport head Wolfgang Ullrich. They will use a flywheel energy recovery system to store braking energy and redirect it to the car’s front wheels.
With three teams- Audi, Porsche and Toyota competing, and each using different powertrains and hybrid systems, this year’s Le Mans should be more interesting than usual.
By Linda Aylesworth – car-news.ca