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24 Hours of Le Mans

A look at the 2011 LMP1 and LMP2 regulations

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest announced the 2011 regulations on Monday (December 20th), the same day the entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Intercontinental Le Mans cup and the Le Mans Series opened up. The latest draft of the regulations is based on four key elements; Safety, Sustainable development, Level playing field and cost capping.

Let’s take a class-by-class look at the new regulations, starting with the LMP1 and LMP2 categories.

LMP1 – new regulations in place for three seasons (2011-2013)

The biggest changes in the LMP1 are the aerodynamic changes on the engine cover (the shark fin) as well as the new, less powerful engines. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest aims to reduce the overall speed around the Circuit de la Sarthe and prevent the LMP1 cars from setting lap times that are below the 3:30 mark. The engine power is expected to go down to around 520 bhp and the new engines should use less fuel.

Fuel tank capacity will be reduced in 2011 as well. Whatever the outside ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure is the petrol-powered cars will have a maximum of 75 liters, while the diesel cars can only have 65 liters onboard.

Another change is the acceptance of hybrid technologies in 2011. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest will keep an eye on the safety aspects with hybrid technologies and will also make sure that hybrid technology will not be used for driver aids. All kinds of hybrid technology are allowed – including flywheel systems – as long as the recovery and release of energy from the brakes is on either the front wheels or the rear wheels (not both). Cars equipped with hybrid technology will have a minimum weight of 900 kg but will have a reduced fuel limit; 73 liters for a petrol car and 63 liters for a diesel.

Another interesting article in the technical regulations is the much disputed balance of performance, or ‘Adjustment of the performance’ as it is called in the Automobile Club de l’Ouest regulations. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest wants to keep the performance level of the different types of engines and/or fuels within 2% of each other and therefore reserves the right to adjust the minimum weight of a car, the air restrictor sizes and the fuel tank capacity.

In 2011 the Automobile Club de l’Ouest will also accept 2010 cars. These cars must run in their 2010 specification and are only accepted if they ran in at least one Automobile Club de l’Ouest-sanctioned race in 2010. The only changes made to the 2010-spec cars are modifications to the engine for the new air restrictors and the fitting of smaller (75 l) fuel tanks.

LMP2 – new rules in place from 2011 until 2015

The new regulations for LMP2 are set in favour of privateer teams. The key element in the LMP2 regulations is cost capping. LMP2 will only be open to privateer teams; manufacturer squads are not allowed.

According to the new Automobile Club de l’Ouest regulations the price of a new LMP2 chassis can not exceed EUR 345 000,00, while an engine for the LMP2 category can not cost more than EUR 75 000,00. For 2011 a race engine should be able to last 30 hours before being revised, while the revision costs can not exceed EUR 35 000,00. In the coming years the running time is set to increase from 30 hours to 40 hours and then to 50 hours. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest may cancel the homologation of the car if the prices defined are not respected!

In order to keep control over the costs of running an LMP2 car only one evolution per year is permitted and this evolution should be homologated before the first event of the season in which the car is entered. A low drag kit may be homologated by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, but the price of this upgrade kit can not exceed EUR 10 000,00.

Teams with a 2010-spec LMP2 chassis can run this car until 2013 with the conditions that a new homologation form must be completed, no bodywork modification is allowed, the minimum weight of the car will be increased to 920 kg and only for the Le Mans 24 Hours a low drag kit may be used, as long as the price does not exceed EUR 5 000,00. Further changes are only allowed if they are required to replace the engine with a new-spec engine. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest will reserve the right to modify the 2010-spec cars if their performance exceeds that of the new 2011-spec models.

Every team that enters an LMP2 car will have to include a gentleman driver in its line-up. This means each team will have to enter a Silver or Bronze driver in its line-up. Bronze drivers are however not allowed to race an LMP1 car.

Discussion

Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. “prevent the LMP1 cars from setting lap times that are below the 3:30 mark” I fail to see how this can be a good thing. Even the Astons and non pug oreca managed times below that this year, while the lower budget Drayson, rebellions and Kolles got very close. Even the LMP2 HPD’s nearly did it.

    What the ACO should be doing is getting the diesels to be around 3:26 with the Astons.

    Posted by SchellZ | December 22, 2010, 6:52
  2. @schellz:

    I totally agree. For the last few years there have been 5 classes at Le Mans, Pertol LMP1, deisel LMP1, and the other three.

    GT1 was a joke last year, as was seeing those beautiful Aston Martins getting no-where dispite being phenominal cars, to look and hear.

    Why can’t they use ballast or something like that to reduce the speed of teh deisels, or say to everyone “go deisel”, then Audi or Pug could sell some engines.

    I don’t know what to do, but there’s no way, having been to the last 4 Le Mans races, that the pertol LMP’s and the deisel LMP’s compete on the same level playing field.

    Having said that, when Audi brought the original R8 it blew the competition away.

    Posted by phil | December 22, 2010, 12:46
  3. @phil,

    ‘when Audi brought the original R8 it blew the competition away’. Without any factory team to compete, that wasn’t too hard was it?

    For the rest I find these new rules downright silly. When I read this nonsense, it smells like there are far too many former EU and/or socialist environmental extremists in the governing body of Le Mans.
    All this constant overfocusing on emisions, economy and socalled sustainabillity does the race (and the sport) hardly any good.
    A racecar should seize meters after it crosses the finishline, scream at the top of it’s revs and create a feeling of awe.
    If it were up to these guys, it should hardly make any noise whatsoever and preferably blow nice smelling colored flowers out the exhaust pipes…

    Posted by GTfour | December 22, 2010, 14:16
  4. They’re making the cars slower?? Sounds like they’re taking a leaf out of the FIA book!

    Posted by Danny | December 22, 2010, 15:35
  5. @Danny,

    You’re right there too. Many of the bureaucrats in the ACO have come from the FIA. This is a bad thing.
    As we all know, the FIA has allways tried to clip the wings of any race/ race series which could rival their coveted F1 circus.
    The ‘old boys’ network of them have thus entered the ACO for some ten to twelve years now. Very negative points concerning Le Mans and their bad influence are a.o. the flattening of the Hunaudieres hump, the destruction of the section after the Dunlop bridge, the removing of the caracterfull ‘village’ and replacing it for a glass and concrete cold F1-style shoppingmall and many toecurling nonsensical socalled ‘safety rules’. One of them being to flood the Arnage and Mulsanne sections with light, taking away the whole ‘nightrace’ effect…

    Posted by GTfour | December 22, 2010, 16:23
  6. Big manufacurers are also overseen by big governments. i.e corvette.

    In cost cutting the racing part can esily seen as non essential elements. So to prove that it’s necessary, the green factors have to be made as one of the priorities.

    Besides big manufacturers need to be challenged, and have a reason to put their mega crews to work. These rules will only challenge them to find a way to get power.

    At least that’s my opinion

    Posted by Bamba | December 22, 2010, 16:40
  7. Well we have to wait in see, but there has to be a level playing field in LMP1. We just need to wait in see what happens in the 2011 Lemans season!!!!!!!

    Posted by christopher bouchard | December 22, 2010, 17:08
  8. “When I read this nonsense, it smells like there are far too many former EU and/or socialist environmental extremists in the governing body of Le Mans.” indeed. it seems this is about protecting the environment, using less fuel, lowering costs and so on, so basically everything just not racing.

    Posted by lms | December 22, 2010, 19:30
  9. wait, so we’re looking like this for Le Mans next year laptimes wise….
    P1: 3:30-3:45
    P2: 3:45-4:00
    LMGTpro: 3:55-4:00
    LMGTam: 4:05-4:15

    they really need to speed up the prototypes and make a bigger distance between P2 and the GT cars. i would say about 8-15 seconds between p1 and p2 and then another 10 seconds between P2 and GTpro and then another 5 or so to GTam…

    alms is going to be every interesting next year as the P1′s are going to be about 7 seconds faster than p2, which seem to be the same speed as LMPC and just a little faster (maybe 4 seconds) than the GT2 cars which are about 6 seconds faster than the GTC cars.

    Posted by Dan | December 22, 2010, 20:11
  10. For God’s sake, we don’t need any compromises in Le Mans. One trans-Atlantic flight brings more emissions and pollution than whole Le Mans series in whole year! I wanna see superior LMP1 beasts just like in last years. Yeah, slow down diesels a little bit, why not? But that’s everything we need. Will the cars be any safer by lapping 3:30? Of course not.

    Posted by jimmy | December 29, 2010, 3:02
  11. @Jimmy

    Or better yet, just make the non diesels faster!

    Posted by SchellZ | December 30, 2010, 4:12
  12. It’s really not so much about the speed…it’s the capital.

    They want to reduce the cost of opportunity, to give the more life to the series

    Posted by Bamba | December 30, 2010, 7:01
  13. they should reduce the displacement (cc) of the audi’s and peugeot’s to give the petrol powered cars more of a chance or just give the diesels an 75 litre tank and the petrols a 90 litre tank. they should keep this years regulations and just reduce the fuel tank capacity. also they should bring back the GT1 catagory which is like a third of the racing gone.

    Posted by ollie butler | December 30, 2010, 21:48
  14. @ollie

    A third of the racing? Of the four LM24 classes last year, I’d say GT1 was even less than a quarter, more like a sixth.

    Posted by SchellZ | December 31, 2010, 4:17
  15. They did not get rid of GT1. GT1 was done in by pure economics. Those cars cost as much as a P1 car. It’s not coincidental that former GT1 teams could easily move on to P1.

    The GT1 cars in the FIA GT are not proper GT1 cars. Their only strength is straight line speed.

    A well developed GT2 is faster than them in overall performance.

    Posted by Bamba | December 31, 2010, 16:04
  16. Very exciting! Go on Aston!!

    Posted by William Mound | January 3, 2011, 4:58
  17. Whenever a company controls a race for a decade, radical regulations are bound to happen. The big problem comes in when the champ adapts to the regulations faster than the other companies. Many of the new lmp regulations are aimed directly at Audi and Peugeot. That’s why Audi made 4 different models in 1 decades!

    Posted by Aaron | May 11, 2011, 14:24
  18. I do not understand this at all. I thought racing was supposed to be a race to see who is faster. When one car beats every one else to death it makes the other step up.that makes great racing! All these new rules to slow down the cars is a slap in the face of true race fans. Leave the companies alone and let them compete. It will make fans of the world get what they want. Wonderful pulse pounding racing.

    Posted by Michael | October 31, 2011, 6:54
  19. It’s not difficult to make a car that can do 300mph and lap Le Mans a minute quicker than they currently do with no regulations. The challenge is to make their latest car lap Le Mans as quick, if not quicker, with a 3.7 V6 as opposed to a 5.5 V12, while being safe for drivers.

    Posted by Phil | November 4, 2011, 18:55

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