taking huge gambles would be required at
every step of the design process.
Yet Audi, Porsche, and Toyota
immediately answered the call and, through
the first three rounds, the eco-friendly
regulations devised by the ACO’s Vincent
Beaumesnil and his FIA brethren allayed
any fears that the World Endurance
Championship would become a tedious
fuel-saving exercise for LMP1-H cars.
June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans featured lap
times that eclipsed the best seen in 2013
by more than a half-second, and even with
new-formula reliability issues that inevitably
hit each camp, the 82nd running of the
race was defined by fierce LMP1-H battles.
The endurance classic also brought three
wildly disparate technical interpretations to
the world’s attention, stealing a technological
march from Formula 1 in the process.
“Our target was to motivate our
manufacturers in new ways – to improve fuel
consumption and reduce the use of fossil
energy by 30 percent, while maintaining
the same performance,” says Beaumesnil.
“It’s a massive challenge. Le Mans had
diesel and gasoline; it had hybrid, so it was
logical to do more innovative things with
the technology. The idea was to not
become an economy race, and it isn’t all
about hybrid systems. It’s about every part
of the car being better and smarter – we
are the only series with big freedom on the
internal combustion engine. LMP1-H is in
its own category in motor racing.”
The brilliance of the new rules comes in
a pick-and-choose menu where only
maximum values are documented.
Manufacturers select an engine size, its
corresponding fuel allowance per lap and
Porsche opts for a 2-liter, turbo V4 (ABOVE);
Toyota uses a 3.7-liter, naturally-aspirated
V8; Audi chooses a 4-liter turbodiesel V6.
Toyota (ABOVE) harvests energy from both
axles; Audi and Porsche harvest front only,
with the latter adding heat energy recovery.
LMP1-H: THE ULTIMATE TECHNICAL CHALLENGE