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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Nissan unveils front-engined, front-wheel drive hybrid GT-R LM NIMSO Le Mans challenger

February 02, 2015

Nissan revealed its Le Mans challenger, the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, during a commercial break for Super Bowl XLIX. Nissan interpreted the sport’s technical regulations in an innovative way, producing a front-engined, front-wheel-drive car that is powered by a V6 3.0-liter twin turbo gasoline engine and a kinetic energy recovery system.

The front tires are wider than those in the rear (14" vs 9") due to the way that mass is distributed in the car. Nissan moved the weight bias forwards to provide traction for the front-engined, front-wheel drive. The aero is also moved forward; hence, Nissan moved the capacity of the tires forward to match the weight distribution. The aero center of pressure, the mass center of gravity and the tire capacity are all in harmony, said Ben Bowlby, Nissan’s LM P1 Team Principal and Technical Director. That means bigger tires at the front than the rear.

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Mercedes AMG PETRONAS unveils 2015 F1 W06 Hybrid

February 01, 2015

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team unveiled its 2015 Formula One World Championship challenger, the F1 W06 Hybrid, ahead of the first day of pre-season testing at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain.

An intensive design phase combining incremental gains and targeted innovation has produced the F1 W06 Hybrid, a car which delivers mechanical, structural, aerodynamic and weight saving developments over its predecessor, the F1 W05 Hybrid. As the age of F1 hybrid power evolves, the requirements for improved safety, reliability, efficiency and performance increase, the team said.

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Renault Sport F1 introduces revamped 2015 hybrid power unit

January 28, 2015

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Renault Energy F1-2015 Power Unit. Click to enlarge.

Renault Sport F1 has unveiled its 2015 power unit for Formula 1 racing, which incorporates a number of changes compared to its 2014 predecessor (earlier post). 2015 is the second year of competitive use for the power units that feature a V6 turbocharged internal combustion engine coupled to energy recovery systems.

In introducing the new unit, Renault Chief Technical Officer Rob White noted that the second year of a new engine “is always difficult. The 2015 power unit project was started six months before the 2014 units took to the track, ie. before we had any significant experience of the technology. Then we also needed to consider the issues arising during the season. It creates a need to be both forward thinking and reactive. Splitting resources between projects is therefore a delicate balancing act, in the short, mid and long term. While certain decisions can be taken upstream, a number of design decisions were taken quite late in the day, in order to benefit from the experience of the 2014 power unit. The result is a power unit that is very different to its predecessor,” he said.

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Mercedes-AMG HPP awarded Dewar Trophy for PU106A Hybrid F1 Power Unit

October 30, 2014

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The Dewar Trophy was presented to Andy Cowell, Managing Director of HPP, along with members of his project team from Brixworth. Click to enlarge.

The UK’s Royal Automobile Club (RAC) has awarded the prestigious Dewar Trophy, presented for outstanding technical achievement in the automotive industry, to Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) for the design of the PU106A Hybrid Formula One Power Unit. (Earlier post.)

The team at HPP was recognized for its development of the most advantageous powertrain within the new Formula One regulations. The aim for 2014 was to raise the engine efficiency from around 29% for the previous normally aspirated 2.4-liter V8 to better than 40% with the new 1.6-liter V6 Hybrid turbo. The successful design, research and teamwork resulted in the Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid Power Unit, which has not only been the dominant powertrain in this first season under the new Formula One rules, but is also arguably among the most thermally efficient gasoline powertrains ever produced, with a claimed thermal efficiency of greater than 40%.

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Audi Sport wins 1st FIA Formula E race in Beijing

September 14, 2014

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Lucas di Grassi, FIA Formula E Beijing (Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team). Click to enlarge.

Audi factory driver Lucas di Grassi and the Audi Sport ABT Formula E team won the inaugural event of the new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship in Beijing. (Next weekend, di Grassi will return to the cockpit of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car in round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Austin). The inaugural round of the 10-race season of the global electric race series was closely contested throughout. Winding round the Bird’s Nest stadium built to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the Beijing course supplied all usual ingredients of a city-center circuit, with a succession of straights, chicanes and 90° bends.

For this inaugural season, the entire field is competing in Spark-Renault STR01E single-seaters. (Earlier post.) Spark-Renault, together with a consortium of leading motorsport companies, produced 40 cars for the race, with each driver using two cars during the 1-hour event. Thirty-five of the 40 cars entered crossed the finishing line without incident.

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Li-ion cell provider XALT Energy partners with Williams Advanced Engineering

September 08, 2014

Williams Advanced Engineering, the engineering services and technology business of the Williams Group, has entered a partnership agreement with XALT Energy, supplier of the lithium-ion cells for the Williams’ battery in the Formula E racing series. This new partnership will also see the two companies collaborate on future projects involving lithium-ion battery technology for a range of applications beyond motorsport.

Williams Advanced Engineering and XALT Energy have worked closely together since June 2013 after Williams was awarded the contract to produce the batteries that will power all 40 cars competing in Formula E, the world’s first fully electric racing series.

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Mercedes-Benz outlines synergies between F1 motorsport and production car engineering

July 10, 2014

Mercedes-Benz has outlined areas of actual synergies between its F1 motorsport activities with Mercedes AMG Petronas and Mercedes-Benz Cars. While there is definitely a technology transfer between race and road car engineering, said Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical) at Mercedes AMG Petronas, “it’s a more subtle process than bolting bits from one car onto another.

There are examples of direct transfer—such as the Nanoslide technology used to coat cylinder bore surfaces (earlier post)—and then there are examples of indirect transfer, such as F1 serving as a research laboratory for developing new solutions and showing the world what is possible, he noted.

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Team TAISAN and Power Japan Plus form partnership to develop electric go-kart powered by Ryden Dual Carbon Battery

June 16, 2014

Racing group Team TAISAN and materials engineer Power Japan Plus—a company that is commercializing a dual carbon battery technology (earlier post)—have formed a partnership to develop an electric racing vehicle, which will be the first to use the Ryden dual carbon battery.

Under this partnership, Power Japan Plus will provide Ryden cells and Team TAISAN will leverage its international racing experience to optimize the battery and develop a battery pack and management circuit. A go-kart powered by the Ryden dual carbon battery will begin test driving August of this year.

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Audi takes one-two win at Le Mans with its diesel hybrids, Toyota third; 13th success for Audi in 16 runs

June 15, 2014

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Audi takes first and second at the 2014 Le Mans. Click to enlarge.

In front of nearly 300,000 spectators at the 82nd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) and Lucas di Grassi/Marc Gené/Tom Kristensen (BR/E/DK) secured a one-two Audi victory in the LMP1 class with the R18 e-tron quattro diesel hybrids.

It marked the 13th Le Mans success for Audi in a tough race that was open for a long time. In the first hours, the Le Mans hybrid-drive prototypes of Audi (earlier post), Porsche (earlier post) and Toyota (earlier post) were battling it out on the Le Mans high-speed circuit. The decision in favor of Audi was only made in the penultimate hour.

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2014 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro Le Mans racer consumes about 40% less fuel than first TDI engine at Le Mans in 2006

June 09, 2014

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Audi is racing three R18 e-quattros at Le Mans. Click to enlarge.

The Audi R18 e-tron quattro diesel hybrids (earlier post) that will race at Le Mans this coming weekend (14-15 June) are the lightest and most fuel efficient LMP1 racers has yet to bring to the track. New WEC regulations require up to 30% less fuel use this year.

For the powertrain, Audi, in the 25th year of the TDI engine, has developed a new diesel 4.0-liter V6 unit for Le Mans. It has been purposefully designed for efficiency and, together with many other optimizations of the race car, such as aerodynamics, helps save energy. Compared with the 2006 5.5-liter V12 Audi R10 TDI, the first TDI engine used at Le Mans, the current race car consumes about 40% less fuel while achieving comparable lap times.

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Mitsubishi Motors running two new MiEV Evolution III electric racers in Pikes Peak Climb

June 03, 2014

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will enter two MiEV Evolution III all-electric racecars in the 2014 edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (23-29 June). MMC has competed twice before in the Electric Division—in 2012 and 2013—and now with the MiEV Evolution III, hopes to take its first victory, this time in the new Electric Modified Division. (Also running in the Electric Modified Division will be a Tesla Roadster from Latvia.)

The MiEV Evolution III racecar is an improved and evolved version of last year's MiEV Evolution II. (Earlier post.) Main components—including the 50 kWh battery from Lithium Energy Japan, high-output electric motor and electric-powered 4WD consisting of four Meidensha electric motors—have been retained with improvements made to give better motive and cornering performance. To reduce weight in the pipe-frame chassis, the design has rationalized and some structural materials have been replaced.

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New Toyota TS040 HYBRIDs take 1st and 2nd at Six Hours of Silverstone in UK; new Porsche 919 Hybrid takes 3rd

April 21, 2014

Toyota Racing scored a one-two finish (#8 taking first, #7 second) from pole position in the Six Hours of Silverstone with its new TS040 HYBRIDs (earlier post) in a the first race of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship season. Porsche’s new 919 Hybrid with two energy recovery systems (earlier post) posted a third its in its first race.

Track conditions varied from completely dry to torrential rain, which ultimately saw the race red flagged less than 30 minutes before the checkered flag. Rain initially came around the 40-minute mark. Both Toyota cars pitted for new tires, the #7 taking wets and the #8 taking hybrid intermediates. With the rain soon easing, hybrid intermediate tires proved the most effective.

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Toyota Racing formally introduces TS040 HYBRID; 1000 PS with 480 PS 4WD hybrid boost

March 27, 2014

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TS040 HYBRID. Click to enlarge.

Toyota Racing has revealed the TS040 HYBRID car and revised driver line-up for the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship. (Earlier post.)

With 480 PS (473 hp, 353 kW) of four-wheel-drive hybrid boost in addition to the 520 PS (513 hp, 383 kW) 3.7-liter V-8 gasoline engine, the TS040 HYBRID, launched at Paul Ricard, has a maximum power of 1000 PS (986 hp, 735 kW). The move to a four-wheel drive hybrid sees Toyota return to a concept which has been part of its racing hybrid development since 2007, when the four-wheel drive Supra HV-R became the first hybrid to win an endurance race, the Tokachi 24 Hours.

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Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 Le Mans prototype makes its debut at Geneva Show

March 06, 2014

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Porsche 919 Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

The Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 Le Mans prototype made its premiere at the Geneva Motor Show. The hybrid prototype will be joined by the Porsche 911 RSR at the Porsche exhibition in Geneva as well as at all eight races of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), the season highlight of which will be the 24 hours of Le Mans.

Porsche 919 Hybrid development began in the middle of 2011 on a blank sheet of paper. With a 16-year absence from the LMP1 class, Porsche engineers have had to develop the racecar without the same experience of their competitors. However, the experience acquired in racing the 911 GT3 R Hybrid (earlier post) and production of the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid (earlier post) has directly translated to the 919 Hybrid.

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New Toyota TS040 racing hybrid features new V8 all-wheel drive hybrid system with supercap energy storage

February 03, 2014

Since 2012, Toyota has been racing its TS030 Hybrid, equipped with a full racing hybrid system, in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). (Earlier post.) Participating in all eight races and with two wins last year, Toyota plans to enter all races this year with two new TS040 vehicles from Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) designed to meet changes in this year’s vehicle rules. Toyota hopes to achieve its first win in this year’s Le Mans 24-hour race, the third race in the WEC series.

The THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System―Racing) powertrain, developed at Toyota’s Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Japan, incorporates a new hybrid system equipped with a new V8 engine and an Aisin AW motor/generator on the front axle in combination with the DENSO unit at the rear to better power all four wheels to meet changes in vehicle rules this year.

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