Saturday, June 11, 2011

Deltawing Concept to Le Mans in 2012! : Highcroft to campaign Gurney-built racer on world's greatest racing stage

Project 56 Group - DeltaWing concept RaceCar

Some of the biggest names in American motorsport have joined forces for the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans to showcase a unique concept demonstrating extreme performance with half the weight and horsepower of a traditional racing car.

The Project 56 group brings together the design talents of DeltaWing Racing Cars LLC; the manufacturing capabilities of All American Racers - the company owned by 1967 Le Mans winner and American racing legend Dan Gurney; and back-to-back American Le Mans Series championship winning racing team, Highcroft Racing.

American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón founder Dr. Don Panoz has also joined the project as a key advisor.

The group has received an invitation from Le Mans 24 Hour race organizers, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest to contest the 2012 race as an additional 56th entry.

The 56th place on the grid is reserved for a technologically innovative car to participate “outside the classifications” – a vehicle showcasing new applications and unique technologies previously unseen in the world’s greatest endurance race.

While racing cars have traditionally strived for increased performance through gains in horsepower and aerodynamic downforce, the DeltaWing concept concentrates on exploiting efficiency gains found outside contemporary regulations to reduce fuel consumption without reducing performance.

The new and experimental car is targeting competitive performance with only half the horsepower of the outright contenders. It does this through halving the amount of aerodynamic drag of traditional racing cars as well as a similar reduction in weight.

The Project 56 Group is in discussion with engine partners to provide a 1.6-liter turbocharged power plant for the project – producing approximately 300 horsepower.

The car will be unlike any previously seen at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car features a slender nose with extremely narrow front track – minimizing the horsepower required to push the car to speeds of 200mph around the 8.5 mile circuit.

Eliminating the use of traditional wings, downforce for the DeltaWing is generated solely beneath the car by the contoured underbody.

The DeltaWing selection was revealed today at the ACO’s annual press conference coinciding with this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans event.

Construction of the new machine will begin next month at Gurney’s California facility. The Highcroft Racing team will begin track testing of the new car later this year.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest and most famous endurance race. First held in 1923, the event has attracted the world’s finest automotive manufacturers and drivers.

Highcroft contested the race for the first time in 2010 while Gurney won the race in 1967 aboard a Ford GT40 with AJ Foyt – famously spraying champagne on the podium for the first time to kick start a now world-renowned tradition.

  • Vehicle weight: 475kg
  • Horsepower: 300 BHP
  • Wheel base: 2.9 m
  • Aerodynamic drag: Cd 0.24
  • Front track: 0.6m
  • Rear track: 1.7m
  • O/A length: 4.65 m
  • O/A width: 2.00m
  • Height: 1.03 m
  • Brakes: Carbon discs and pads
  • Fuel cell capacity: 40 liters
  • Chassis construction: Lightweight composite
  • Front tire: 4.0/23.0 R15
  • Rear tire: 12.5/24.5 R15
  • Weight distribution: 27.5 percent Front, 72.5 percent Rear
Key Technical features:
  • Engine and transmission are “non-stressed members” in the chassis structural design which allows the installation of a wide variety of lightweight powertrains.
  • The car features a 4 cylinder 1600cc liquid intercooled turbocharged engine that will produce approximately 300 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and weigh 70kg.
  • Transmission is a 5 speed plus reverse longitudinal design with electrical sequential paddle shift actuation. The differential features an efficient variable torque steer/differential speed-controlled planetary final drive reduction layout with the entire transmission weighing only 33kg.
  • Vehicle weight distribution is necessarily more rearward than traditionally seen with 72.5 percent of the mass between the wide track larger rear tires.
  • 76% of the aerodynamic downforce acts on the rear of the car which has a lift to drag ratio of >5.0.
  • Rear wheel drive coupled with the rearward weight and aerodynamic distributions greatly enhances inline acceleration capability.
  • Unique amongst today’s racing cars, more than 50% of the vehicle’s braking force is generated behind the center of gravity giving a dynamically stable response.
  • Locking propensity of the un-laden front wheel at corner entry is greatly reduced due to virtually no lateral load transfer with the narrow front track/wide rear track layout, steered wheel “scrub drag” moment is virtually zero greatly increasing tire utilization and reducing mid turn understeer.
  • Advanced computer modeling of structures, impact energy management, aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics and tires has been used to develop the DeltaWing design.
  • Driver position, restraint layout and energy absorbing structures designed to meet the latest occupant survival criteria.
[Source :ALMS]


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