Official: Nissan’s Le Mans-bound ZEOD RC electric racecar nearing completion [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Hybrid, Technology, Nissan, UK, Electric, Racing

Nissan ZEOD RC Electric Race Car Assembly

Nissan is working away on its ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car) which is still on pace for a Le Mans arrival in 2014. As of right now, the DeltaWing-shaped car’s carbon-fiber tub and chassis have been completed. The next step will be installing the twin electric motors and fitting the seat of driver and GT Academy winner Lucas Ordóñez. If the current schedule sticks, the zero-emissions racer will hit a UK track for test laps in September.

But while those initial shakedown laps will be under full electric power, it’s unclear whether the setup fielded in the UK will survive until Le Mans. Nissan itself says that it will be testing a number of “electrified” drivetrains ahead of the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is a significant departure from race car design – usually, the teams know what’s powering their car before they start building it.

“Just developing a single powertrain option in only 12 months would be a mammoth task but we’re looking to carefully examine a number of options to ascertain which will be best suited for Le Mans,” said Darren Cox, Nissan’s global motorsport director. Take a look below for a video and press release from Nissan documenting the ZEOD RC’s build process.

Continue reading Nissan’s Le Mans-bound ZEOD RC electric racecar nearing completion [w/video]

Nissan’s Le Mans-bound ZEOD RC electric racecar nearing completion [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 Sep 2013 15:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Nissan’s Le Mans-bound ZEOD RC electric racecar nearing completion [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Hybrid, Technology, Nissan, UK, Electric, Racing

Nissan ZEOD RC Electric Race Car Assembly

Nissan is working away on its ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car) which is still on pace for a Le Mans arrival in 2014. As of right now, the DeltaWing-shaped car’s carbon-fiber tub and chassis have been completed. The next step will be installing the twin electric motors and fitting the seat of driver and GT Academy winner Lucas Ordóñez. If the current schedule sticks, the zero-emissions racer will hit a UK track for test laps in September.

But while those initial shakedown laps will be under full electric power, it’s unclear whether the setup fielded in the UK will survive until Le Mans. Nissan itself says that it will be testing a number of “electrified” drivetrains ahead of the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is a significant departure from race car design – usually, the teams know what’s powering their car before they start building it.

“Just developing a single powertrain option in only 12 months would be a mammoth task but we’re looking to carefully examine a number of options to ascertain which will be best suited for Le Mans,” said Darren Cox, Nissan’s global motorsport director. Take a look below for a video and press release from Nissan documenting the ZEOD RC’s build process.

Continue reading Nissan’s Le Mans-bound ZEOD RC electric racecar nearing completion [w/video]

Nissan’s Le Mans-bound ZEOD RC electric racecar nearing completion [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 Sep 2013 15:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Toyota releases its Le Mans recap, ‘The Ultimate Endurance Race’

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Toyota, Racing

Two weeks ago, Audi released its short video about this years 24 Hours of Le Mans, and now Toyota has put the experience into its own words and pictures. Called The Ultimate Endurance Race, the clip and accompanying press release focus on how hybrid power helped Toyota claim second and fourth places with the TS030 Hybrid in just its second year competing at Le Mans.

There are some brief scenes of the battles had this year, like when Lucas di Grassi in the Toyota almost kissed Allan McNish in the Audi above, but the best part might be when Toyota promises it will be back. Next year, it’s gonna be good. You’ll find the relevant words and the images just below.

Continue reading Toyota releases its Le Mans recap, ‘The Ultimate Endurance Race’

Toyota releases its Le Mans recap, ‘The Ultimate Endurance Race’ originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: How Porsche got Patrick Dempsey into the driver’s seat for Le Mans

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Porsche, Celebrities, Humor

Patrick Dempsey changes drivers

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. Ask Patrick Dempsey and he’ll likely tell you the same secret for landing a role on a hit TV show or, for that matter, driving a Porsche in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That’s because, like McQueen and Newman, Dempsey has earned his place in that rarified field of actors who also race. He’s competed in Baja and Grand-Am, co-owns an IndyCar team, and this year returned to Le Mans where he and his teammates Joe Foster and Patrick Long finished fourth in the GTE-Am class behind the wheel of their Porsche 911 RSR.

It’s a grueling race, and the fluid transition between drivers behind the wheel is a key element to success. Check out the satirical video below to see how Dempsey and company got ready.

Continue reading How Porsche got Patrick Dempsey into the driver’s seat for Le Mans

How Porsche got Patrick Dempsey into the driver’s seat for Le Mans originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Peugeot reveals Le Mans-derived 208 Hybrid FE prototype

Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Motor Show, Hybrid, Europe, Hatchback, Peugeot

Peugeot 208 Hybrid FE - front three-quarter view, white

You can’t leave a team of racing engineers sitting still for too long. They need something to keep them busy. Just ask the guys at Toyota or Peugeot.

Toyota shut down its Formula One program in 2009 and didn’t get to Le Mans until last year, filling the vacuum left by Peugeot’s departure at the end of the previous season. In the meantime, the engineers at Toyota Motorsport GmbH developed the TMG Sports 650. Peugeot Sport had a similar lull after shuttering its LMP1 program before it launched Sebastien Loeb’s 208 T16 Pikes Peak challenger this summer. This is what they were working on in the meantime.

It’s called the Peugeot 208 Hybrid FE, and it’s set to debut next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Working in partnership with French oil company Total, the Peugeot racing team applied many of the lessons it learned from developing the 908 HDi FAP prototype to a base Peugeot 208 Access.

They bored out the 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine to 1.2 liters, gave it direct injection, replaced all the internal components and coated new ones in DLC (Diamond-Like Coating, a hardener used in motorsports engines and suspension components). All of this was done in order to increase torque by 25 percent (now up to 88 pound-feet) while keeping power steady at 68 horses. They then installed the 908’s electric motor for another 22 lb-ft of torque, along with its lightweight lithium-ion battery pack. They decreased aerodynamic drag by 25 percent (thanks in part to low-rolling-resistance rubber and a narrower track) and cut 20 percent off the structure’s curb weight to optimize efficiency.

The result is a prototype that sacrifices none of the donor car’s creature comforts (save for the air conditioning system) and can hit 62 mph from a standstill in 8 seconds flat, return 141.2 mpg (on Europe’s liberal efficiency cycle) and emit just 49 grams of CO2 per kilometer. All of which may not be as exciting as what Toyota’s racing team did with their down time, but as environmental impact becomes increasingly vital to global automakers, it could prove more important.

Continue reading Peugeot reveals Le Mans-derived 208 Hybrid FE prototype

Peugeot reveals Le Mans-derived 208 Hybrid FE prototype originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Ferrari considering return to Le Mans racing in 2015

Filed under: Motorsports, Ferrari

The Ferrari (No. 21) of Masten Gregory, of USA, and Jochen Rindt, of Austria, crosses the finish line to win the grueling, 24-hour Le Mans automobile race in Le Mans, France on June 20, 1965. The Ferrari (No. 18) of Pedro Rodriguez, of Mexico, and Nino Vacarella, of Italy, finished seventh while the Ferrari (No. 27) of Swiss drivers Armand Boller and Dieter Spoerry finished sixth, covering 2,862.7 miles averaging 121,09mph. (AP Photo)

Rumors are swirling that Ferrari may be contemplating a return to Le Mans racing as soon as 2015. Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports the Italian automaker may apply the development of a new 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engine for Formula One to an LMP1 car for Le Mans, and have it ready for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in two years. This follows hints made by Scuderia Ferrari CEO Stefano Domenicali last month that the newly developed F1 engine could be used for “some interesting projects.”

Ferrari has a history of success in Le Mans racing, though it hasn’t won the big endurance outright since 1965. The image above captures the exact moment when the No. 21 car of Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt crossed the finish line that year to win the race. That win was the last of six consecutive outright victories before the infamous arrival of the Ford GT40 in 1966. Despite never reaching the top of the podium again, Ferrari’s nine wins still stand as the third most overall by a manufacturer behind Porsche (16) and Audi (11).

If Ferrari does return to Le Mans in 2015, the LMP1 class will suddenly be teaming with worthy competitors for Audi, which has dominated the race since 2000. After Peugeot’s exit from the sport in early 2012, Toyota entered the race in 2012 and has continued to develop its TS030 Hybrid LMP1 car. Porsche, meanwhile, is well into developing a new LMP1 car that will first compete in next year’s race.

Ferrari considering return to Le Mans racing in 2015 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mark Webber to quit F1, join Porsche for 2014 Le Mans

Filed under: Motorsports, Europe

Pro driver Mark Webber

Mark Webber has announced he’s leaving the Red Bull F1 team to join Porsche in that company’s quest for victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Australian has signed a contract that will keep him with his new employer for the next “several years.” Porsche says Webber will helm the company’s new LMP1 sports prototype at Le Mans and will also compete in the World Endurance Championship. This won’t be his first go at the legendary 24-hour race – Webber has competed at Le Mans twice before. Now he’ll be joined by Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas.

Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen is likely to fill Webber’s seat at Red Bull. The team originally wanted to pull Jenson Button from McLaren, but was unable to lure the British driver from his seat. Toro Rosso drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne are other possibilities for the open slot at Red Bull. You can read the brief Porsche press release on the move below for more information.

Continue reading Mark Webber to quit F1, join Porsche for 2014 Le Mans

Mark Webber to quit F1, join Porsche for 2014 Le Mans originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Jun 2013 11:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorsports: 24 Hours of Le Mans an on-and-off love affair

Filed under: Motorsports, Europe, Aston Martin, Audi, Chevrolet, Nissan, Porsche, Ferrari, Racing

There was little usual about this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans – intermittent rain in the weeks before the race meant cars didn’t get on track as much as they wanted, and intermittent rain during the race meant cars went off track a lot more than they wanted. The race started with a wet track, and one of the records broken because of the random downpours was the number of times the safety car led the field – 11 times this year – although the record of two hours and 53 minutes of lapping behind the safety car, set in 2011, was not eclipsed.

None of that served to dampen the action. With little more than an hour left in the race there were cars still only a few seconds apart fighting for position, leads still changing because of pit stops and everyone drafting anyone they could.

Things didn’t go the usual way up front, either – well, not exactly…

Continue reading 24 Hours of Le Mans an on-and-off love affair

24 Hours of Le Mans an on-and-off love affair originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Jun 2013 10:13:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorsports: 24 Hours of Le Mans ends with broken records [spoilers]

Filed under: Motorsports

24 Hours of Le Mans

The 2013 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans has come to an end, and the results require the use of an eraser on the old record books. If you don’t want to know how it ended, now would be the time to stop reading, because the results are just below.

Continue reading 24 Hours of Le Mans ends with broken records [spoilers]

24 Hours of Le Mans ends with broken records [spoilers] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 23 Jun 2013 12:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorsports: Overnight action from the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Filed under: Motorsports, Europe, Aston Martin, Audi, Chevrolet, Porsche, Ferrari, Racing

Audi R18 E-tron Quattro at Le Mans 2013

We won’t go into a recap here, but there are still leading positions being fought for in all classes – it’s so close that leads are changing when a car goes into the pits. We’ll let the recap wait until the end of the race, so for now enjoy some shots from last night’s action at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Overnight action from the 24 Hours of Le Mans originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 23 Jun 2013 12:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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