The Le Mans 24 Hours race is a testament of skill and endurance of both the drivers and their cars as a total of 55 cars will be running the world renowned race on an 8.47-mile circuit comprising of closed public roads for the duration of 24 hours. Alan McNish, one of the drivers of the Audi R15 TDI is restless and wants to stake his claim on the podium at this years event. The 40 year old Scotsman, who drives alongside Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen, is gunning for his ninth Le Mans triumph.
As we know, the 2009 Le Mans title went to the Peugeot Team with their 908 HDi FAP which was diesel powered. They too have not rested since they won the title in 2009 as they have admitted that in races such as Spa, they have felt their competitors getting faster and breathing down their necks slightly.
Thus they have worked meticulously on the engine and car to produce the best result from the TDI engine. This was also to get the 908 HDi FAP in line with 2010 regulations which was to do with aerodynamics that also affects engine power output, according to Peugeot Sports Technical Director, Bruno Famin.
“The only aerodynamic change is the result of having to adjust to this year’s new engine power levels. We have endeavoured to recover some of the power lost because of the rule changes, which involved working with Bosch on combustion, combating energy losses through friction with Total and enhancing the flow efficiency of the intake and exhaust systems in association with Dow. All the things that gave us trouble in 2009 have been looked at, too, while we haven’t eased up in our ongoing efforts to improve reliability. This is the 908 HDi FAP’s fourth and final year of competition. It is an outstanding car and I think we can look forward to an incredibly thrilling Le Mans 24 Hours; I believe it will be very close from flag to flag,” added Famin.
Since its last race in Le Mans the Peugeot team have been preparing in the form of three races and 11 test sessions. This includes simulation runs, set-up work and the development of a complete range of tyres in association with Michelin.
Unfortunately when you’re on top everyone’s gunning for you, and that is Audi’s agenda at this years race. Audi has further tweaked it’s R15 TDI body and engine as well. Smaller air restrictors and lower manifold pressure were part of the new regulations. This means lower engine output. Thus Audi, like most other teams, are fettling with the aerodynamics to make it more efficient. This has resulted in the R15 sporting a two-nose design along with a modified cooling and tank system.
Even if the air restrictors have been modified, the R15’s 5.5 litre V10 twin turbo engine still produces around 590 HP and an incredible 1050 Nm of torque, which is mated to a pneumatically operated five speed gearbox. Suggestions directly from the drivers have been addressed too, which include better illumination of the racetracks with a new head lamp concept.
Both teams will be under a lot of pressure this year as there are up and coming teams such as Aston Martin Racing looking to topple the leaders off the podium. A very interesting race seems to be brewing and you can catch it from the 12th to the 13th of this June.
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