WR-Salini announces Diesel powered 2011 programme.

WR-Zytek Pitlane Exit.

Welter Racing's modified Zytek LMP2 chassis.

 

Welter Racing Salini today revealed its ambitious business plans for the 2011 season. Well known for their exploits with a modified Zytek LMP2 chassis, the privateer operation has announced plans to internally design, and develop the first customer diesel LMP1 powerplant.

In addition, WR-Salini also intends to provide the engines to interested privateers, becoming the first non-factory engine manufacturer to develop and sell internally-built diesel engines. Reportedly a Bi-turbo, V8 design, the powerplant will consist of 80% Peugeot manufactured components.

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OAK Racing shows off 2010-spec LMP2 Pescarolo.

Earlier today French team, OAK Racing unveiled their recently updated, 2010-spec Pescarolo-Judd LMP2 at a rain soaked Magny-Cours circuit.

Team driver Guillaume Moreau completed the first laps in the car. While partners Matthieu Lahaye, and team owner Jacques Nicolet are scheduled to receive their first taste of the revised car tomorrow.

Although dated, the still-competitive Pescarolo design has been revised to meet 2010 technical specifications, featuring significant adjustments to both front and rear body work.

The #35 car seen in testing is utilising what appears to be a reduced-drag setup. With front sections of the chassis (previously open) now sealed.

The chassis’ rear bodywork also experienced significant development over the winter. Now featuring a reworked diffuser with particularly distinguished, flared accents.

The extent of the changes can be seen in detail, below.

Porsche GT3-R Hybrid ALMS bound?

GT3_Hybrid

Image courtesy Autoblog.com

Two days ago, Porsche’s GT3-R Hybrid turned it’s first competitive laps at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, during the season-opening round of the VLN championship.

The Manthey-supported GT3-R Hybrid, driven by Porsche works regulars, Bergmeister, Lietz, and Ragginger, managed an impressive sixth place on it’s race debut. With the sister car of Lieb/Tiemann/Bernhard taking victory ahead of factory-supported entries from Audi (Abt-Sport), and BMW (Schnitzer).

Porsche motorsport spokesmen, Steve Janisse and Andy Schupak claim that Porsche is currently in discussions with ALMS organisers to bring the GT3-R Hybrid to North America.

Porsche aims to have the car competing by late 2010, with the goal of participating in the Petit Le Mans classic.

Note that with ILMC (Intercontinental Le Mans Cup) rounds operated under fully ACO-compliant regulations (i.e. Petit Le Mans), any plans for participation would first require an ACO stamp of approval and, due to the base-chassis being a GT3-homologated design (e.g. outside of traditional class structure), special dispensation.

Porsche announces all-star Nürburgring 24H lineup.

 

 

GT3-R Hybrid

Porsche's GT3R Hybrid. - Image Courtesy PorscheAG.

 

Early last week, Sportscargeek covered Manthey racing’s announcement to support eight cars for the Nürburgring 24 hour, one of those cars being the recently unveiled GT3-R Hybrid. Yesterday, Porsche Motorsports announced the all-star lineup that will handle driving duties during the legendary 24 hour race.

The crew consists of Porsche factory heavyweights Jörg Bergmeister, Richard Lietz, Martin Ragginger, and Porsche-Junior team driver, Marco Holzer.

The quartet has no shortage of experience, Bergmeister having achieved back to back ALMS championships with the Flying Lizard team, Lietz taking victory in the 2009 LMS championship (with partner Marc Lieb, also part of the Manthey squad), Ragginger managing two podiums during the 2009 FIA-GT season, and Holzer recently achieving victory in the Dubai 24 hours, all drivers are well versed in the art of endurance.

Longbeach entry list released.

ALMS LogoALMS organisers have released the provisional entry list for round two of the ALMS season in Longbeach, California. The street circuit will play host to a field of 35 cars, the largest grid seen at the event in over fifteen years, and will be the first race run under new LMP equalisation regulations proposed by IMSA during the winter.

Both LMP1/LMP2 will be merged into a single class, simply named ‘LMP’.  Series organisers and fans alike are hoping this will restore some of the action seen in recent years when similar equalisation methods were sought out.

A surprise inclusion is the appearance of Johnny Mowlem in the #52, PR1 Motorsports entry.  With ‘Corsa Car’ appearing as a sponsor/providing support for the car. What this means for the future of the Corsa Motorsports, Zytek-Hybrid program remains uncertain.

The full listing can be seen below:

LMP

  • 1 Patrón Highcroft Racing – HPD ARX-01c – David Brabham / Simon Pagenaud
  • 6 Muscle Milk Team Cytosport – Porsche RS Spyder – Greg Pickett / Klaus Graf
  • 8 Drayson Racing – Lola B09 60-Judd – Paul Drayson / Jonny Cocker
  • 12 Autocon Motorsports – Lola B06 10-AER – Tomy Drissi / Ken Davis / Michael Lewis
  • 16 Dyson Racing Team – Lola B09 86-Mazda – Chris Dyson / Guy Smith
  • 37 Intersport Racing – Lola-B06 10-AER – Jon Field / Clint Field
  • 007 Aston Martin Racing – LolaB09/60-AMR – Adrian Fernandez / Harold Primat

GT

  • 3 Corvette Racing Compuware – Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – Jan Magnussen / Johnny O’Connell
  • 4 Corvette Racing Compuware – Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – Olivier Beretta / Oliver Gavin
  • 17 Team Falken Tire – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Bryan Sellers / Wolf Henzler
  • 40 Robertson Racing – Doran Design Ford GT – David Robertson / Andrea Robertson / David Murry
  • 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Darren Law / Seth Neiman
  • 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Joerg Bergmeister / Patrick Long
  • 62 Risi Competizione – Ferrari 430 GT – Jaime Melo / Gianmaria Bruni
  • 75 Jaguar RSR Jaguar – Jaguar XKR – Paul Gentilozzi / Ryan Dalziel
  • 90 BMW Rahal Letterman – BMW E92 M3Dirk Müller / Joey Hand
  • 92 BMW Rahal Letterman – BMW E92 M3 –  Bill Auberlen / Tommy Milner
  • 01 Extreme SpeedMotorsports – Ferrari 430 GT – Scott Sharp / Johannes van Overbeek
  • 02 Extreme SpeedMotorsports – Ferrari 430 GT -Ed Brown / Guy Cosmo

LMPC

  • 11 Primetime-Braille Battery – Oreca FLM09 – Joel Feinberg / Kyle Marcelli
  • 36 Genoa Racing Genoa Racing – Oreca FLM09 – Tom Sutherland / TBD
  • 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – Johnny Mowlem / Tom Papadopoulos
  • 55 Level 5 Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – TBD / TBD
  • 89 Intersport Racing – Oreca FLM09 – Mitch Pagerey / Brian Wong
  • 95 Level 5 Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – TBD / TBD
  • 99 Green Earth Team Gunnar – Oreca FLM09 – Gunnar Jeannette / Elton Julian

GTC

  • 23 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Bill Sweedler / Romeo Kapudija
  • 28 911 Design Porsche Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Loren Beggs / Doug Baron
  • 32 GMG Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Bret Curtis / James Sofronas
  • 54 Black Swan Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Timothy Pappas / Jeroen Bleekemolen
  • 63 TRG Future Electronics – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Henri Richard / Mark Thomas
  • 69 WERKS II Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Robert Rodriquez / Galen Bieker
  • 80 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Ricardo Gonzalez / Luis Diaz
  • 81 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Juan Gonzalez /Butch Leitzinger
  • 88 Velox Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Shane Lewis / Jerry Vento

Post Sebring race wrap.

In the weeks approaching the 2010 Sebring 12H, the average Sportscar enthusiast was more or likely involved in an argument over Audis presence at the legendary race. While Audi weren’t present (in a professional/race-prepared capacity), that didn’t stop record numbers of fans from flocking to the Southern Florida located circuit, with the expectation of seeing a race.

With the race now run and won, we take a look at the highlights of what turned out to be a fairly decent (and quite eventful) Sebring 12 hour.

The opening ten minutes saw the lead Peugeot take to an early lead (no surprises here), while the second did battle with the Lola-AMR, and Drayson racing entries. Running at what seemed to be slightly off the pace of the other P1 cars, the AMR-Lola (then driven by Fernandez) surrendered third position to well paced Emmanuele Pirro in the Drayson Lola-Judd. Shortly after, Pirro managed to take second place from an unsuspecting Sebastian Bourdais, in what turned out to be one of the highlights of the race. Anybody listening to Radio Le Mans’ audio stream at the time would have heard the trademark Hindhaugh scream of excitement.

Peugeot AMR battle.

Image courtesy of Speedtv.com/Marshall Pruett.

LMP2 started off as predicted. With reigning series champions Patron Highcroft surging out to an early lead. Followed by the Cytosport Spyder, and Dyson Lola-Mazda. Dysons’ car suffered engine related issues in the opening hours of the race, effectively ruining any chance of a win. The big surprise came after the 9 hour mark, after consistent running at close to P1 speeds, Highcroft suffered mechanical difficulties. Brabham hastily retreated to the pits, allowing the #6 Cytosport entry (which would later go on to win the race)  to recover the 5 lap margin drawn out by Highcroft driver trio.

BMW Corvette Risi chicanes

Image courtesy of Speedtv.com/Marshall Pruett.

The GT2 battle was heated from the moment the green flag was waved, with Henzler taking first place off Bergmeister within the opening moments of the race. Bergmeister later reclaimed the class lead, followed by the #62 Risi car,  and the #3/4 Corvettes after the lesser developed Falkens on Henzler’s car began to to wear. Something that may have come as a surprise to some (an expectation by many) was the early departure of the #75 JaguarRSR entry. After the much touted return of Jaguar to competitive sportscar racing, this was a huge disappointment.

As the race progressed, the drama began to unfold. The #3/4 Corvettes collided on pit road (in a very Peugeot-esque moment), effectively ending Corvettes hope of GT2 victory. Doug Fehan (Manager of Corvette Racing) later cited a radio miscommunication as the cause of the collision.  Meanwhile, not pushing for outright pace, the Peugeots continued to lap flawlessly, leading 1-2 overall. The Lola-AMR continued in third place, in much the same manner, opting to preserve fuel and tyres.

P1, P2, LMPC run to turn six.

Image courtesy of Speedtv.com/Marshall Pruett.

Later in the race, the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche suffered another cruel blow (in a history of injustices) when a tyre broke free from the #17 car, damaging the rear-left of the #45. Bergmeister was required to drive a complete lap with a deflated tyre and enter a closed pit area under the yellow flag. Series rules stipulate that no repair work can be completed on a car while the track is under a caution period. The damage was surprisingly minimal and repaired quickly. Unfortunately the #45 car exited pit lane several laps down on the class leaders, and out of the running for victory. The car finished two laps behind the class-winning Risi car, after some spirited driving by Bergmeister, Long, and Lieb.

Setting the pace earlier during test sessions, and in qualifying, BMW ran a relatively clean race (barring some minor incidents involving the #90 car). Mueller managed to spin the #90 car on the last lap, gifting teammate Werner second place in the dying moments of the race. Mueller brought the car home in third place, citing tyre/steering problems as a result of the crash. The #45/44 Flying Lizard cars finished a modest fourth and fifth. A decent effort considering the challenges faced by both cars through the event.

Risi Competizione took their third Sebring GT2 victory, in what is becoming an enduro tradition (on both sides of the Atlantic). Further cementing their status as the team to beat in any event over 10 hours. Drivers Melo, Bruni, and Kaffer managed to maintain a solid pace throughout the 12 hours, making few mistakes and avoiding the mishaps that plagued their competitors.

The LMPC class was, for the most part, a disappointment. With half the GT2 field finishing in front of the class winning car, it’s difficult to take the class seriously. It was expected the car would face technical problems after the 6 hour mark. Having only competed in short sprint races in a cooler European climate. The combination of harsh Sebring heat and bumpy terrain saw most of the cars pitting early with similar failures. The #55 Level5 entry led for what seemed like the entirety of the race, taking the checkered flag with Bouchut at the wheel.

To the surprise of many, GTC ended up providing some great viewing. With the recent addition of some seasoned-pros (Leitzinger, Diaz, Keen etc) to the category, the 997 Cup based-class gave the crowd something to cheer about (in between acting as mobile chicanes for the other classes). The #81 entry of Leitzinger, Gonzalez and Keen took class honours.

By the later stages of the race, Peugeot was only required to keep the car off the walls to take a maiden 12H victory, and did so in 1-2 fashion. The Lola-AMR placed third after a moderately paced, trouble free race. Finishing a modest three laps behind the diesel powerhouse. The #6 MuscleMilk Cytosport team of Graf, Picket, and Maassen finished fourth overall and first in class, completing an incident free race. A solid effort for any privateer.

That was Sebring 2010, and it only gets better from here on in.

Audi unveils R15 TDi Plus.

R15Plus_first_release

AudiSport's second revision of the R15 chassis, the R15+. - Image Courtesy Audi Motorsport.

Today Audi unveiled the changes made to it’s LMP1 chassis, formerly known as the R15.

The revised chassis design, bearing the designation R15+, is a response to late regulation changes made by the ACO in late November 2009 (following protests by both Peugeot & AMR), rendering the (at the time) aero-design ineligible to compete in future races.

The R15+ features a split-front nose design even more radical than the first iteration of the chassis. Due to regulation changes, the previous chassis’ flow-concept (emphasis on air flow through chassis) has been rendered much less effective. Sidewalls (previously in a partially open form) have now been closed, as a result of the design’s new focus.

Audi’s V10 TDi engine has been optimised for smaller restrictors and reduced supercharging pressure. The car’s headlight system also saw a comprehensive overhaul. With the chassis now utilising lighting components found within the R8 LMS production chassis.

Although Audi will be testing at Sebring following the 12H race, they will not compete. Instead the R15+ will turn it’s first competitive laps at the Paul Ricard circuit at the opening round of the 2010 LMS season.