GT-LM racing car 2016

BMW
GT-LM racing car 2016
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P notes are a good indicator of the emotionality of a to put the new generation of vehicles into words - and the situation was clear after the first test drives in Daytona: 'The new GT cars not only look spectacular, they also have a lot of downforce and power - and therefore remind me strongly of the heyday of the old ones GT1 class ', says BMW works driver Lucas Luhr, who drives the new M6 according to GT-LM regulations.

As if the new GT weapon from Bavaria weren't already noticeable due to its massive shape lig enough, it was optically refined for the start of the season. The two cars of Bobby Rahal's RLL team were given a special paint job for the company's 100th anniversary. One of the racers competes in a futuristic 3D look with the starting number 100, the sister car has motifs from the successful BMW motorsport history.

More downforce and more power for GT racing cars

The renovated GT class for Le Mans and the Sports Car World Championship is celebrating its first public appearance in North America of all places. In the IMSA series, the racing season starts at the end of January with the 24-hour race in Daytona. At the first official test, all new GT vehicles from Porsche, Corvette, Ferrari, BMW and Ford were represented, only the new Aston Martin Vantage V8 was missing because the British still cannot afford additional starts in America.

The situation in the highly competitive GT-LM class has once again increased in complexity significantly this year: 3 of the 5 manufacturers are now driving with turbo engines. The new GT-LM regulations, which apply until 2018, allow significantly more leeway in aerodynamics than before, so the cars have more downforce, look more spectacular - and of course drive faster.

In addition, they crash into The GT-LM class has different levels of development and philosophies on one another: With the GT, Ford has developed a new and extreme road car with a view to returning to Le Mans; Although it won't be on the market until autumn, the racing car is already causing a sensation with its radicalism.

BMW with GT3 car As a basis

BMW has based its GT-LM racing car on the M6 ​​GT3 due to the lack of alternatives - but it has only been homologated for races in North America. With the model change to the 488 GTB, Ferrari initiated the switch to turbo technology, while Porsche and Corvette use their existing onesGT-LM racing cars with tried and tested naturally aspirated engine technology have actually only adapted to the new regulations.

The prerequisites for the new season could hardly be disparate, although it should be noted that the new regulations do not represent a revolution in principle - except that turbo engines are now also allowed. The main goals of the new set of rules were improvements in safety such as new standards for racing seats, and the performance window was lashed so that the GT-LM vehicles are faster - especially compared to the GT3 customer sport class.

By far the most spectacular representative of the new GT generation comes from America: The Ford GT is not only an eye-catcher, it is also extremely and radically made - so radical that the Ford men are still difficult to hold back on technical details about the racing car. And for good reason: At Ford, to put it simply, they first came up with the racing car, then designed the road car and, at the same time, developed the racing car. This has evidently led to a certain mess, because because of the race car hurrying ahead, details on the road car that is lagging behind - which is the basis for homologation - have to be changed.

Is the Ford GT a prototype?

In German: Everything at Ford has been radically subordinated to the competitiveness of the racing car, which is why the competition likes to talk about a prototype. 'The Ford GT has a special status, and in order to prevent something like this in the future, one might have to rethink the homologation regulations,' said a German manufacturer representative.

That means: radical small series, which then possibly everything on the racetrack Driving into the ground could be prevented by increasing the minimum number of pieces for homologation. For the time being, the competitors must hope that the Ford GT can be kept in check with the usual Balance of Performance (BOP).

The future will tell whether this will succeed. Everyone is delighted that Ford's entry is filling the water level in the small but exquisite pond of the GT-LM class, but at the same time they fear that they could be overrun. The concern is not unjustified: The Ford GT has been tested since the summer, and there are hardly any details in terms of performance or durability that give cause for concern: 'We just drove - and never stood,' says Ford works driver Dirk Müller.

Ford GT with a thoroughbred racing engine

Ford ignites a real firework of technology with the GT, which should bring advantages - no , must: It has a carbon chassis instead of a conventional aluminum or steel frame; the 3.5-liter V6 biturbo is a thoroughbred racing engine from the prototype sport of the old Grand Am series; the front surface is thanks to the extremely flat construction and a clever design of the body kit20 percent smaller than all other GT-LM racing cars; instead of conventional suspension, the Ford GT uses torsion bar suspension; And only with the Ford GT, the front splitter and front section as well as the entire rear area can be swapped in a time-saving manner using quick-change fasteners - as is otherwise only usual in formula racing. Ryan Briscoe has stated that the traction control from prototype sport did not work in the GT model, which led to a completely new development. 'The reliability is outstanding, we tested in Homestead for two days in December and drove 1,600 kilometers without any problem,' said Briscoe. 'It is an advantage that the engine has been consistently developed in racing for years and is therefore stable. The turbo engine drives like a vacuum cleaner, the response has been incredibly good since the updates in late summer, and the set-up is incredible because of the torsion bar many options - the whole package is really very impressive! '

During the pre-tests in Daytona, Ford held back elegantly: You were fast, but not too fast to make the horses shy. The observers noticed that good lap times rarely go hand in hand with high top speeds, which seems somehow strange. In the acceleration phases in the two banking sectors, however, Ford was always at the forefront, including acceleration from medium speed. And that even though Ford drives with the lowest boost pressure of all GT-LM turbo cars, which can be explained by the fact that in the IMSA series engine power is offset against air resistance - and here the Ford, as already mentioned, is the best car in the whole GT field.

Nonetheless, Ford's radical approach in the paddock is causing irritation, as with Corvette sports director Doug Fehan: 'The Ford is an extreme car, and in theory the BOP should ensure that it The Ford is also a warning shot for all of us, because if we are not careful, the costs in the GT-LM class will get completely out of hand! '

BMW M6 GT-LM: 70 to 100 PS more?

BMW has taken a completely different path than Ford, where a GT-LM offshoot was extracted from the GT3 model M6. The M6 ​​is quite a patty of a car and therefore looks like a foreign body, but the BMW motorsport department has apparently built a good GT car from the existing possibilities - as even the competition admits. This can also be seen from the detailed analysis of the twelve sectors during the pre-test in Daytona.

It was obvious that the BMW had the highest engine power, but that was intentional and partly agreed, because firstly it was compensated the rulebook uses the large frontal area of ​​the M6 ​​with a higher boost pressure, and secondly, the other two manufacturers useTurbo technology pure-bred racing engines, while BMW competes with the near-series engine from the GT3 car - and again received compensation for the boost pressure.

The competition estimates BMW's power advantage at 70 to 100 hp, and promptly the screaming was great when BMW set the fastest time on the first day of the pre-test. In the further course of the test, however, all other competitors drove as fast as BMW. Nonetheless, some of them have once again shot at the Munich-based company, because the car naturally has some special features due to its derivation from the GT3 model: For example, the rear diffuser starts earlier than on the other GT cars, which results in a total diffuser length that is some bad suggests - according to the motto: They can do a lot more than they show. In the end, the only thing left of all the fuss was that at BMW the delta between the theoretically best lap time (adding up all sector best times) and the real best time was the greatest.

60 percent of the GT3 BMW taken over

But the fact is that at such an early point in time in the preseason it is unlikely that such stories alone will be able to twist a rope. And basically all other manufacturers are extremely happy that BMW has gone the way and remains loyal to the scene. The BMW actually consists of a good 60 percent of GT3 parts, the remaining 40 percent are adaptations to the specifications of the GT-LM regulations. For example, the wheel carriers and suspensions had to be completely re-adjusted for the use of Michelin development tires.

When it comes to reliability, BMW believes that it is sorted: Although there were problems with the Ricardo gearbox at the beginning, the new gear sets turned these headaches has now been effectively eliminated.

Ferrari and its development partner Michelotto are pursuing a completely different approach than Ford and BMW: The new 488 is based on the 458, but first of all, the new turbo engine required considerable adjustments to the chassis and its architecture and Geometry, secondly, the Italians interlaced the GT-LM and GT3 cars - but completely the other way around than with BMW.

Concept change at Ferrari

The basic platform here is not the GT3 car but the GT-LM car. This is the more expensive route for customer racing, but Ferrari can apparently afford it because of its name. The only difference in the GT3 car is the engine, the front splitter and the rear wing - the rest is absolutely identical. Customers can buy a conversion kit - and thus change the vehicle class.

Manufacturers with turbo technology must homologate a lambda value with which they drive; on this basis, the boost pressure is derived for individual speed jumps. Ferrari has reportedly homologated on efficiency, i.e. rather lean, while BMW has homologated on bold - i.e. performance. That was withRecognizable pre-test in Daytona: 'We lose time in banking (sectors 4 to 6 and 8 to 12), i.e. when accelerating and at top speed, because we have less power than our opponents,' explains Rick Mayer, technical director at the Risi team. 'Measured against the 30 fastest sector times, we lose six tenths per lap in this area alone.' The top speeds were up to 10 km /h.

Although the base is similar to the 458, the vehicle concept has changed significantly: The 458 was previously the GT car with the lowest downforce, with the 488 the downforce has now been massively increased. Just one example: In order to enable a steeper rise in the rear diffuser, the company switched from a longitudinal gear (Hewland) to a transverse gear from Xtrac. The new Ferrari has the most sophisticated aerodynamics, which can be seen in every detail - be it the front splitter, the side ends of which create targeted turbulence to seal the underbody against air inflows from the side, or be it the door sills, which have a wing-like profile. An engineer revealed that Ferrari ranks at the upper end of the downforce level in terms of the new performance windows - while in the past it was clearly marked the lower end.

The competition is certain that the F1 department at Ferrari helped here. The developers themselves say that the new aerodynamic finesse should primarily eliminate the great pitch sensitivity of the predecessor when braking. 'Here we benefit from the new regulations, as we were allowed to pull the front splitter forward,' says Mayer.

The change to the 488 also required compromises, for example in terms of weight, because the supercharged engine brings with it because of the turbocharger and the intercooler weighs more pounds. So you had to save in other areas, like the battery, which is now 15 kilos lighter than the 458's predecessor. The engine in the GT-LM-488 is a thoroughbred racing engine that was allegedly developed by the F1 department at Ferrari.

Adaptation instead of restart at Porsche

With so much gloss and glitter, those GT-LM manufacturers who rely on continuity for various reasons cannot keep up: Porsche will not bring a completely new GT until 2017 -LM-Auto, Corvette will not even bring the successor to the C7 until 2018. Ergo, both manufacturers made adjustments to the changes in the regulations for 2016. Only Porsche and Corvette continue to run with naturally aspirated engines. Both manufacturers are sure that this will be a disadvantage in the long term, because a lot depends on whether the synchronization of the performance curves between the vacuum cleaner and turbo via the complex arithmetic of the BOP also works.

Because the entire powertrain at Porsche and Corvette remained identical, the focus was on aerodynamics - with varying degrees of severity. Because Porsche was able to improve on aerodynamics during the last US racing season - and was able toSo don't put too much on it now.

'We already had the 100 mm protruding front splitter in 2016, now only the central cutout has been added and of course the new door sills', says Marco Ujhasi, GT project manager at Porsche Motorsport . 'The rear wing is now positioned higher and further back, the cord length of the wing blade has, in return, shrunk to 300 mm.'

Porsche and Corvette should therefore rely heavily on the reliability factor for 2016, because the brand-new GT cars from BMW, Ferrari and Ford could run into reliability problems, especially in the long races at the start of the season in Daytona or Sebring - and whoever is in front there can take a comfortable cushion of points with them for the rest of the season.

Nevertheless It cannot be denied that the new cars with turbo technology should have an advantage in terms of speed, at least in theory. The organizer IMSA is at least making every effort to ensure a balance through the BOP, with a rather complex system of monitoring and control.

Complete control?

The sensors for monitoring technology and performance are actually top: the number of sensors is large, their positioning seems correct, so the data is there. IMSA has the Ladoux data for this, all GT cars were also placed in the Windshear wind tunnel, and all engines were measured on the engine test bench in Concord. After the performance measurement, the engines were dismantled and the hardware checked.

If you drive a naturally aspirated engine, you can almost certainly not cheat due to the close inspection, that seems to be certain. But does that also apply to the turbos? There are still question marks here, because two aspects are not taken into account in the measurements: The exhaust gas back pressure is not logged, something could theoretically be done there; and the lack of a wastegate control could also represent a loophole for particularly clever people.

Another big topic of conversation in the paddock is that all of the measuring equipment that has to be installed costs a good 20,000 euros . If this results in a suitable BOP, the manufacturers will probably not complain. But the data alone does not make a BOP, it depends on who is evaluating it and whether you can draw the right conclusions from it. And the amounts of data are enormous: Up to 7 gigabytes of data per test session accumulated during the pre-test in Daytona at IMSA.

Geoff Carter, the chief technology officer at IMSA, believes in the new system: 'In the past we have only analyzed the way from A to B via the timekeeping, but the new data from the cars allow us to delve much deeper into the matter. We can now see how every single car gets from A to B. Of course the teams and manufacturers still ways to manipulate your Ontrack performance,But I would put it this way: With the new system for checking and control, our toolbox has become larger - and that of the manufacturers smaller. '

Up to seven employees at IMSA take care of the flood of data per training session, of that Just two engineers are responsible for the complete documentation and checking of the boost control. So the effort is really great. We'll see whether it is the yield at the 24h race in Daytona (30/31 January).

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