Le Mans Series

Le Mans Series

Posted on by Simona  

Rumors have been floating recently that the new cooperation between Alpine and Caterham will give birth to a new sports car. While that has surely driven intrigue into this still-to-be-named model, it’s still part of the not-so-distant future.

What is recent, though, is Alpine’s apparent return to 24-hour racing and it’s got quite a racecar in its fold ready to take on all comers. Called the A450, the race car is expected to bring the extra excitement to endurance racing at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours and this year’s European Le Mans Series (ELMS). The car will be raced by the 24-year-old Nelson Panciatici and 29-year-old Pierre Ragues. This marks Alpine’s return to the world of motorsport after an absence of 35 years.

The new Alpine A450 will be powered by a Nissan -sourced V-8 engine that delivers a total of 500 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed sequential X-Trac gearbox. With a total weight of just 1984 pounds, the new race car will hit a pretty impressive top speed of 205 mph.

Speaking of impressive, have a look at the A450; it’s all that and then a little more. The brand’s striking blue and orange color combination harkens back to the days of the Alpine-Renault A442B that raced the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1978. If for nothing else, it’s a fitting tribute to the company’s racing history while also serving a reminder to the rest of the field that Alpine is back and ready to take some names.

Updated 04/10/2013: Alpine officially confirmed today that its first racing car in 35 years will be called A450. The model pays tribute to the A441, A442 and A443 which scored amazing results at the Le Mans in the 1970s. The figure "50" "symbolizes the fiftieth anniversary of Alpine’s first official entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours." The new A450 will be available for purchase in 2016.

Nissan has dropped from the DeltaWing program, but this doesn’t spell the end of the racecar. Rather, DeltaWing Racing Cars announced the first details of its new DeltaWing Coupe that will compete in the American Le Mans Series later this year, possibly as early as at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.

The new DeltaWing Coupe has been specially designed to comply with the new 2014 LMP1 regulations and will include a new tub and wider driver greenhouse, and, of course, its new hardtop configuration. On the coupe version, the driver will sit in the middle of the cockpit, rather than on the left- or right-hand side.

Under the hood, the coupe will receive a new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine developed by Elan Motorsports Technologies. No official specifications have been released just yet, but we are hoping to see at least the same numbers as in the previous version: 300 horsepower, a sprint from 0 to 60 mph made in 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph.

The 2013 motorsports racing season is drawing closer and as such, we’ve seen numerous race teams from different series unveiling their respective race cars.

Toyota Racing is jumping on that trend with the unveiling of the modified TS030 Hybrid car, the same racer that Toyota will be fielding in the Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) this season.

The 2013 TS030 Hybrid race car carries a number of modifications from the 2012 model, particularly the revised version of the hybrid system first used in last year’s race car. With new regulations set to be enforced in 2014, Toyota Racing went to work early in fine-tuning the overall racing characteristics of the RS030, particularly the engine, which for the 2013 model will feature a 3.4-liter, normally aspirated V-8 engine that produces 530 horsepower and the matching super capacitor-based system that delivers 300 horsepower of boost to the car.

Needless to say, a lot is riding on Toyota Racing to deliver results this year. They’ve got the car that can get it done and it’s only a matter of time before the team can justify the preparations they’ve done in the off-season with actual race wins.

BMW recently took to the famous Daytona Raceway to introduce their latest race car that will compete at the 2013 American Le Mans Series: the BMW Z4 GTE.

Racing under the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the Z4 GTE has some pretty high expectations to live up to. After all, it’s predecessor, the M3 GT , was one of the most successful race cars to compete in recent ALMS history. It last won back in 2011 and only lost the title last year to the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R.

So with a year to stew over surrendering its crown to Chevy, BMW is raring to get the 2013 ALMS season started with the Z4 GTE.

As expected, the racecar was built with racing regulations in mind, although if it performs the way its departed brethren used to, so there shouldn’t be any problems scoring some points and gaining some wins.

The real question is if it can return to the top of the ALMS podium, a step currently occupied by the C6.R.

Find out more about the BMW Z4 GTE after the jump

SRT Viper GTS-R

Along with the unveiling of the new-generation Viper , SRT also announced the Viper GTS-R — a model that marks the SRT Viper Racing team’s return to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Today the team officially announced that the GTS-R will be making its racing debut on June 22nd through 23rd in the LM GTE Pro class of the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans.

SRT Motorsports will enter two identical GTS-R models and they will be driven by Tommy Kendall, Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher and Jonathan Bomarito.

2013 will mark the SRT Viper’s return in the 24 Hours of Le Mans after an absence of about 13 years. The sports car entered the series in in 1996 when the original GTS-R had its first racing entry. The Viper also won five international GT championships and the 1997 to 1999 FIA GT championships, plus three consecutive one-two finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTS class. In 2000 the car had its last win at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and afterward it was retired from the series.

Hit the jump for the press release.

In the past few months, we have seen three different Lexus LF-A prototypes testing around Nurburgring: the AD-A , the AD-B, and the AD-X . Our hopes were dashed when we realized these prototypes were nothing but special one-off models and that they would not provide any indication of what the future held for an LF-A special edition, but social media has come through for us again.

Lexus race car driver, Akira Iida, has posted a cool teaser video for a future LF-A GTE Race Car on his Twitter account. The first details suggest that this race car will be used in the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it is also rumored to be battling the lines at the Nurburgring 24 Hours. One thing is for sure, though, Akira Iida will be behind the wheel no matter which race this vehicle stars in!

Lexus has yet to offer any details on their new race car, but Akira Iida seems to be the second-best source on the matter, so we’ll take his word for it. Stay tuned!

Source: Autoguide

Earlier this month, we brought you an all-new video where Porsche actually gave Chris Harris an exclusive ride-along story on the not-yet-released 918 Spyder. That was a very impressive piece and really shows how much respect Harris has gained in the industry. Well, now Porsche is really pulling out all of the stops and entrusting Harris behind the wheel of its multi-million-dollar museum exhibit, the Porsche 962C.

Yeah, we’re talking about the 800 kg (1,763 lb.), 650-horsepower 962C that took home the 1987 24 Hours of Le Mans title. The same Porsche 962C that you can walk into Porsche’s museum and look at but not touch. This guy got to sit in this legendary car’s driver’s seat and whip it around Porsche’s test track at 150 mph.

As always, Chris brought along his ride-along camera and gave us an in-car view of him carefully navigating this legend around the track. Before and after the drive, Chris also gets to interview the lead engineer on the 962 project and gets some insight on just how much planning went into this car, from its rear axle to the massive amounts of down-force the various parts of the body create.

In all, this is a downright awesome video and all of the noises that come from the engine are completely beautiful.

Enjoy!

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.

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 Delta Delta Wing 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 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..

Nissan DeltaWing

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.


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