HYBRIDS: THE GREAT LEAP FORWARD
have no chance,” explains Beaumesnil.
“That’s why we take into account the
brake specific fuel consumption, which is
the ratio between the fuel you use and
the power that you take from it.”
Diesel has a better ratio than gasoline,
and so turbodiesels will get a slightly
smaller fuel allocation.
The new rules should create a more level
playing field than the one that’s existed since
Audi’s switch to diesel with its R10 TDI in
2006. Pumping more diesel into the
combustion chamber creates more power
– witness Audi’s dramatic decrease in fuel
consumption and increase in power for
2013 – but this option goes away in 2014.
Another contentious issue, one criticized
by Audi, is removed as the operating window
for hybrid systems is opened up. Currently,
the “120 Rule” prohibits Audi from using
the powerboost from its energy-retrieval
systems below 120km/h (approx. 75mph)
because it works off the front axle. In theory,
with all four wheels transmitting power to
the road, that would give Audi a significant
low-speed traction advantage over Toyota.
In contrast, Toyota’s system works off the
rear axle and can be used at any speed.
Next year, retrieval from both axles is
permitted, and stored energy can be used
when and where a manufacturer desires.
At the moment, harvesting of energy is
only allowed in prescribed braking zones,
with the maximum amount that can be
stored and released prior to the next
braking zone set at 500 kilojoules.
This year, there were seven such zones
on the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe,
A major overhaul to LMP1 powerplants
for 2014 will be accompanied by several
subtle, but significant safety-led tweaks.
As radical as the 2014 LMP1 rulebook
might be, the cars are not going to look
radically different to their predecessors.
Witness the first photos of Porsche’s
as-yet-unnamed challenger (page 88).
Yet under the skin there will be a series
of changes designed to improve safety.
Arguably the biggest changes are new
rules to enhance visibility from the cockpit,
the lack of which has been implicated in
a series of accidents in recent years.
A larger field of vision has been achieved
by positioning the driver slightly further
forward and in a more upright position.
This can be seen on the German Kodewa
team’s 2013 Lotus T128 LMP2, which
is built around a monocoque constructed
to 2014 P1 specifications.
A five percent reduction in car
width, together with requests from
Michelin, will mean the end of the
16in.-wide front tires. A 14in.
maximum is set by the new regs.
The monocoque must incorporate
side-impact structures made of Zylon or
PBO, a high-tensile strength polymer
often used in body armor. Wheel tethers,
which were introduced into Formula 1
back in 1995, will become mandatory
for the first time. A rear crash box has
also been introduced.
The other significant change is that
the LMP1 cars of the future will be coupes
only. Safety played a part in the decision to
outlaw open-top cars, but so did tradition.
Coincidentally, the last time open prototypes
disappeared was three decades ago, at
the start of the Group C era.
Audi is set to continue with a turbodiesel in 2014, but on a reduced
fuel-flow rate and tank size relative to gasoline-fueled engines.
ALL IS REVEALED...
Positioning the driver slightly higher and
further forward means the front wheelarches
aren’t such a hindrance to peripheral vision.
Front corner blindspots aren’t completely
removed, but are significantly reduced.
Side-impact protection is
enhanced by a layer of
puncture-resistant Zylon – a
safety feature already used
in Formula 1 and IndyCar.