another option, which is why we opted
for using the energy from exhaust gases
from the turbocharger.”
Naturally, Porsche’s rivals came to a
different conclusion and execution.
“If you go for the turbo with exhaust gas
recovery, it’s lighter, but you do not receive
a full charge and it drops efficiency from
the combustion engine,” counters Vasselon.
Three avenues taken, and each has
have to be intelligent; it won’t be a street
engine optimized for racing. Toyota doesn’t
want to promote city cars with V8s…”
Managing a tech-heavy fleet of LMP1-H
cars also required growth within the ACO.
“When I took my post in 2009, we had nine
people for technical inspection at Le Mans,”
says Beaumesnil. “This year, I had 40.”
From the ACO’s Equivalence of
Technology formula, LMP1-H cars are able
to use different fuels, displacements, cylinder
counts, induction methods and ERS, while
posting similar lap times. Thanks to the
Eo T system – a wholly unrelated concept
to Balance of Performance, manufacturers
choose a path, build their cars, and are
judged on their choices head to head on
the race track. Simply put, LMP1-H is a
contemporary take on motor racing’s
earliest principle: May the best car win.
“BoP should never be mentioned with
LMP1-H,” Beaumesnil states emphatically.
“After they make their decisions, we do not
interfere. They fight very hard to improve
– if one car is two seconds faster, then it is
faster. The other manufacturers must find
two seconds. We will not give it to them.
This is the spirit of racing we honor.”
Toyota began the 2014 FIA World
Endurance Championship campaign
with back-to-back wins for its TS040
HYBRID at the 6 Hours of Silverstone
and Spa-Francorchamps, before Audi
hit back with its 13th overall victory
in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
But with Porsche’s all-new 919
Hybrid already earning a podium and a
pole in its first three races, the season
is turning into a three-way fight as the
WEC heads to the Circuit of The
Americas for round four, Sept. 20.
At the Silverstone season-opener,
the No. 8 TS040 of Sebastien Buemi,
Anthony Davidson and Nicolas Lapierre
led a Toyota 1-2 in a race cut short by
torrential rain. But the No. 20 Porsche
919 of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley
and Mark Webber put in an impressive
cameo, finishing third on its debut.
Pole and an early lead for the No. 14
Porsche of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani
and Marc Lieb served notice of intent,
but the 6 Hours of Spa morphed into
a more familiar Toyota-Audi duel, with
Buemi, Davidson and Lapierre earning
a second consecutive win, ahead of the
R18 e-tron quattro of Lucas Di Grassi,
Loic Duval and Tom Kristensen.
The 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans was a
nail-biter, with multiple leaders and the
result in doubt until the end. The No. 2
R18 of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer
and Benoit Treluyer finally led an Audi
1-2, ahead of Buemi, Davidson and
Lapierre’s delayed Toyota. Porsche,
too, took a turn in the overall lead.
(ABOVE) Audi’s hard-fought 1-2 result
at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 13th
overall win at La Sarthe for the marque.
LMP1: THE sEason so far
(ABOVE) Sebastien Buemi, Anthony
Davidson and Nicolas Lapierre celebrate a
second consecutive 2014 victory at Spa.
Anyone thinking the high-tech LMP1-H rules would transform
the WEC into a high-speed economy run was forced to think again
after a close-fought 24 Hours of Le Mans. All three LMP1-H
manufacturers led, and the final result was in doubt until the end.
“If one car is two seconds
faster, then the others must
find two seconds. We will
not give it to them”
proven to be the best fit for its marque. Audi
even tried a shaft-driven turbo ERS system,
but abandoned it in pre-season testing.
Using 6MJ ERS systems should have
unlocked a number of fuel strategy options
for Porsche and Toyota and disadvantaged
the 2MJ Audis, but with efficiencies gained
elsewhere, the R18s matched or exceeded
their laps turned per stint at Le Mans.
Which begs the question, is there such a
thing as a wrong choice among the
available LMP1-H options? Based on the
results so far, the answer is a definitive no.
With much to showcase, the individual
manufacturers are getting the message out
about the new breed of prototypes and their
ultimate relevance to road car technology.
“What’s important for us is to promote
the combination of hybrid systems and
gasoline engines,” Vasselon explains. “We
Porsche engineers keep
an eye on their highly
complex baby, the 919
Hybrid. Unique among
the three participating
LMP1-H factory teams,
Porsche uses kinetic
and heat energy