The rising gas prices have been impacting all of us for many years, but the world of racing seemed almost immune to these price hikes for many years. Well, with the price of fuel teetering in the $4-per-gallon range, even racing circuits are feeling the pinch at the pump. With this pinch and racing series also wanting to become more eco-friendly, they have almost all been looking into ways to modify their cars to fit this mold.
IndyCar and F1 have been at the forefront of these changes, and these changes spawned the birth of the DeltaWing in an attempt to infiltrate IndyCar in 2003. The DeltaWing was ultimately rejected by IndyCar, but its developers didn’t stop there, as they slowly worked toward getting it a spot in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which it finally achieved in 2012. The Nissan DeltaWing, unfortunately, did not finish the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but its strong start did show that it had definite potential.
Now with the DeltaWing scheduled to run in the 2013 American Le Mans Series and taking home fifth place in the 2012 Petite Le Mans, the DeltaWing and its builders are well on their way of realizing their dreams. So what makes the DeltaWing so great?
Click past the jump to read our full review and learn what makes this odd-looking racecar so special. Full story
The Nissan DeltaWing will race as a classified car in the 2013 ALMS, but a hiccup at the Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga, almost nipped those plans in the bud.
Despite scoring a very impressive time - it was only 4/10ths of a second slower than the fastest P2 car in sixth place on the time-sheet - the DeltaWing was struck violently in the left rear wheel by a Porsche GTC class car. The car scraped down the road on its side and then rolled over before suffering a heavy impact with the wall and landing back on its wheels. The impact was measured at 7Gs on the team’s telemetry system, but luckily, driver Gunnar Jeannette was not injured thanks to the car’s carbon-fiber survival-cell.
The DeltaWing suffered serious damages first from the Porsche’s hit, then from the rollover and wall hit. The good news is that, in less than 24 hours, the Nissan DeltaWing team managed to repair the car and it is now ready for Saturday’s Petit Le Mans event - the final round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series..
We all witnessed history, as the eco-friendly, 300-horsepower Nissan DeltaWing competed in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, and actually competed well until it was disabled following an accident. In that race, the DeltaWing was more of an honorary entry, running as “unclassified” and not really eligible to win even if it had crossed the finish line with the best lap time.
That is all about to change come the 2013 American Le Mans Series, as the DeltaWing will be a part of this series as a classified contender. This means that it can earn points and can theoretically win the championship title. In addition to that big news, we get another glimpse of the DeltaWing in action as it runs the 2012 Petit Le Mans race as an unclassified entrant at Road Atlanta on October 21st.
IMSA will use the DeltaWing’s performance in the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans to setup rules for this unusual craft and also to classify it properly. We’ll keep a close eye on how the DeltaWing does in Atlanta and what rules ALMS places on the Nissan-sponsored racecar.
The racing team behind James Glickenhaus’ Ferrari P4/5 Competizione has an eye on building an actual alternative fuel Ferrari LMP1 race car. How serious are these guys?
Apparently, serious enough to actually release a number of teaser images on what the race car is going to look like. With the success the Ferrari P4/5 Competizione had at the Nurburgring earlier this year - it broke the 599XX Evo’s lap time around the ’Ring, making it the fastest Ferrari to blaze around the track - and the fiery burning session it had later on, the team still managed to take 1st place in the Alternative Energy Class in the 2012 24 Hours of Nürburgring.
With the taste of success still fresh, the team is looking at the possibility of building a new alternative fuel LMP1 race car, only this time, it’s got its eyes set on the series’ top dog, the Audi R18 e-Tron Quattro.
“We’re considering various possibilities for 2013 and 2014," the team said in a statement. "The LMP1 rules for 2014 are very suited to an Alternate Energy Car and we’re exploring the possibility of building and racing P 4/5 LMP in 2014.”
While no official details surrounding the car have been released, these teaser photos appear to be more than just a pipe dream for these guys. The cost will most likely be more than just an arm and a leg, but success comes with a true price - literally and figuratively - and the team behind the P4/5 Competizione appears to be willing to pay it.
We are all patiently awaiting the release of the Acura NSX, which we all anticipate launching in 2015 featuring a hybrid-drive system of some sort. If you consider trying to dig up any little bit of information possible to satisfy our cravings as being ”patient.” As we wait, a report from Speed points toward Honda working on motorsport plans for its upcoming supercar as early as 2014.
Speed interviewed Steve Erickson, the vice president of Honda Performance Development (HPD), about this potential and he said “In America, there’s only a couple of sports car options for us. But certainly, I think Le Mans is ultimately where it make great sense to have a car to show its prowess. But I think it all depends on where the regulations go in the future.”
From that quote, we can only think that he is talking about entering the NSX into the American Le Man Series (ALMS), which recently announced a merger with Grand Am. The issue with the regulations is the fact that ALMS does not allow hybrid drive in its GTE class, but Grand Am had already announced that it would launch a GX class for hybrids in 2013.
So the final decision on that depends on whether the new merger adopts the GX class plans of Grand Am, or retains the ALMS ban on hybrid drive.
Another point that HPD is trying to hammer out is whether this will be a full-factory endeavor or if HPD will simply develop the cars and sell them to private customers for racing.
According to Erickson, the decision is “down to internal discussions” and they are trying to figure out “where does it make the most sense to race it?” From those two excerpts we can tell that the new NSX will see time on the race track, it’s just a matter of which race track we’ll see it on and when it will show up.
Last year, we showed you the GreenGT LMPH2 model that was invited to the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, but did not race. Now that Green GT has nearly mastered its art of alternative fuel usage, it is set to enter its newest invention, the GreenGT H2, to the 2013 running of the Le Mans endurance race.
This H2 is nothing short of an impressive piece of work, as it boasts a pair of three-phase electric motors that each produce 200 Kw of power, which equals out to 544 horsepower reaching the rear wheels. What’s even more impressive is the astounding 4,000 Nm (2,950 pound-feet) of torque these motors create – no, that’s not a typo, two-thousand nine-hundred and fifty pound-feet. Being this is fully electric, we assume that this massive torque amount is instantly available.
Now, in order to run an electric motor, you need batteries, right? Not so fast. You’re forgetting about the oft-left-out fuel cell technology. The H2 uses a hydrogen fuel cell to produce the electricity the motors require. The only emissions produced are in the form of water vapor and heat.
You may think that the GreenGT will run away from the competition with its 2,950 pound-feet of torque and 544 horsepower, but you have to remember that this technology is still in production. The GreenGT H2 can only run for a solid 40 minutes at a time before needing its composite tanks refilled with hydrogen.
We’re excited to see the GreenGT H2 in action and this is really our front runner as the eventual replacement for gasoline power in auto racing. It may even wind up in personal cars too.
In the early-1960s, Ford had gained an interest in long-distance road racing and decided it was time to invest in a car that could compete in the likes of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. In 1963, Ford and Ferrari struck a deal for production, but Ferrari cut the project off after they couldn’t come to an agreement as to whether Ford could participate in the Indy 500 or not.
Ford then decided if Ferrari wasn’t going to work with them, they were going to beat them. Ford negotiated with both Lotus and Lola before deciding to go with Lola, but the car was a complete mess and retired much more than it finished. After the 1964 Nassau race, Carroll Shelby stepped in to right the ship.
Between 1966 and 1969, the GT40 went on to win the Le Mans an impressive four times in a row, entrenching it in racing history and propelling Carroll Shelby even further into legendary status. Following the 1969 model year, the GT project was shut down and the GT40 production stopped at just 107 cars, ending its impressive run.
Check out our full review on the GT40 after the jump. Full story
Back in May, we announced that Audi was eliminating the traditional rearview mirror from its R18 Le Mans cars, due to its lack of rearward-facing glass. We also made it clear that a lot of additions to new cars come from successful experiences in the racing world. Well, the R18s ended up garnering a 1-2-3 finish in that race.
As expected, with success comes commercialization, and Audi has announced that its upcoming R8 e-tron will boast this digital mirror technology. This system will consist of a 7.7-inch AMOLED screen mounted in the traditional mirror’s spot. The “mirror” uses a rear-mounted camera to send a video feed, giving the driver a slightly wider field of vision than the average rearview mirror.
Here’s the issue though, the NHTSA’s law book still requires a mirror made from reflective glass to be mounted to all passenger cars. The law specifically states “Each passenger car shall have an inside rearview mirror of unit magnification” and it defines a “unit magnification” as “a plane or flat mirror with a reflective surface through which the angular height and width of the image of an object is equal to the angular height and width of the object when viewed directly at the same distance except for flaws that do not exceed normal manufacturing tolerances. For the purposes of this regulation a prismatic day-night adjustment rearview mirror one of whose positions provides unit magnification is considered a unit magnification mirror. ”
The issue is in the verbiage is that the phrase “ a plane or flat mirror with a reflective surface...” eliminates an LED screen, as it is not a reflective surface. Now, the law becomes nullified is the car comes with side-view mirrors that have 49 square-inches of reflective surface and offer a complete view of the rear end of the vehicle. Those mirrors would be huge for this supercar, so we doubt that exemption will be valid.
We’ll have to see exactly how Audi plans to get around this, or if the NHTSA makes adjustments to its laws.
Click past the jump to read Audi’s press release.
With the exception of NASCAR, the world of auto racing is in a bit of turmoil, especially in Europe. The SRO already announced that the FIA GT1 World and GT3 European Championships were canceled this year, and now we can add yet another European series to this list. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ALO) has just let us know that the European Le Mans Series’ (ELMS) last two races have been canceled.
The ELMS is citing a low number of cars at the starting grid for its cancellation of the final two event. This is not up for debate as a lowly 13 cars were at the starting line for last weekend’s event. Even at the debut event for 2012 only 21 cars in total arrived at the starting grid.
The combination of a competitive GT series in Europe and the global economic crisis are mostly to blame for the lack of entrants. All of the car owners are going to the races where there is the best money to be made, regardless of the event’s prestige.
There is a silver lining to this announcement, as a deal was struck for the remaining 14 teams in the ELMS to join forces with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and run in the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans endurance race held at Road Atlanta. Given all of the European teams show up, this will increase the field at this race to 54 competitors, so things could get a little hairy at times.
The ELMS will give its drivers double points at this race, which will help compensate for the two canceled races.
We are hoping that this all gets settled down, as the ELMS has always been good for exciting races – more so than NASCAR , at least. We could even see a full season of the ELMS and ALMS teaming up, which may be a good idea for both series until this economic recession finishes its course.
We absolutely love the new SRT Viper, and have since the second Chrysler’s performance arm started teasing it. We also love videos of racecars zipping around tracks with awesome flyby shots. Well, you can imagine our excitement when a video of the new SRT Viper GTS-R – the car set to tear apart the American Le Mans Series – was released, showing it ripping up Virginia International Raceway.
This isn’t the first time we have seen the Viper GTS-R in action, but this video is a very telling one. All of the testing videos of the Viper GTS-R were on random tracks that the ALS does not use in its series. Well, VIR just so happens to be a part of this year’s ALS, and SRT has promised us that the SRT Viper will debut this season, but haven’t given a date.
With the VIR race coming up in September, and the fact that the SRT Viper looks just about race ready in the video – sans a little paintwork – we are thinking that the VIR race on September 15th is the likely debut date for this new machine. We could be completely off base here, but on the surface it looks this way.
Regardless of its actual debut day, we do know one thing; we cannot wait to see this thing on the track. Many moons ago, the Dodge Viper used to dominate this series, and we certainly expect to see the Viper jump right back into the 1st place slot that other cars have been keeping warm in its absence.