Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Porsche is returning to prototype competition with a new LMDh program, Jaguar does the Vision Gran Turismo thing again with a crazy electric endurance racer, Peugeot details their powertrain for LMH project, Mazda Classic will start reproducing parts for the RX-7 in Japan, and your automotive news for the week.
Porsche confirms LMDh program
In news that has set the motorsport community on fire this week, Porsche is coming back to prototypes. The executive board at Porsche AG has approved the development of a Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) prototype which is expected to hit the track in 2023. Porsche hasn’t raced in prototypes since 2017 with the mighty 919 Hybrid. The fallout from dieselgate contributed to the demise of that extremely successful program. Now, Porsche has just over two years to build a new one.
“The new LMDh category allows us to fight for overall victories with a hybrid system at the Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring classics – without breaking the bank. The project is extremely attractive for Porsche. Endurance racing is part of our brand’s DNA,” explains Oliver Blume, CEO at Porsche AG. The as of yet unnamed car will see competition in bot the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship. As permitted by class rules, the car is expected to produce 680 horsepower with its hybrid powertrain and weigh around 2,200 pounds while wearing Porsche-designed bodywork.
LMDh is an attempt to replace the dead LMP1 category of prototypes as the new top level of prototype racing. As exciting as the cars of LMP1 were, it proved unsustainable with very high development and operating costs. LMDh aims to solve that problem by adopting and improving on IMSA’s current Daytona Prototype International formula. This means the chassis is built by one of four approved manufacturers while the OEM provides their own engine and most of the bodywork. A spec hybrid drive unit from a single manufacturer (I believe) is then equipped so that teams don’t have to develop one themselves. It’s an evolution of the DPI formula that’s worked rather well in IMSA for a few years already. LMDh takes that to the next level while retaining its cost-effectiveness, which is perhaps the single biggest problem that LMDh fixes over LMP1.
So far, it’s working. Acura and Audi have recently committed and it’s likely that one of the remaining DPI contenders, Cadillac, will commit soon as well. The other current DPI manufacturer, Mazda, is a toss up. But having two giants in endurance prototype racing, Audi and now Porsche, sign on to LMDh after closing their LMP1 programs is the huge boost that IMSA and WEC needed. It shows fans of endurance racing that the good times may soon return. And it shows IMSA that they had the right idea all along. According to Sportscar365, fifteen manufacturers have been involved in LMDh discussions and several more commitments are expected. They were very right.
[Source: Porsche, Sportscar365]
Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo
It’s been a while since we’ve talked about a Vision Gran Turismo, but here we are. Starting with Gran Turismo 5 several years ago, the Vision Gran Turismo program was a way for manufacturers to create a virtual halo car of sorts. Free from any restrictions or real-life engineering obstacles, some ridiculous stuff has come out of the program over the years. Now that we’re approaching Gran Turismo 7 due out next year, Jaguar is helping to keep the VGT program going with their second car. Their project is called the Jaguar Vision Gran Turismo SV. It’s wild.
Fitting in with Jaguar’s rebranding efforts to go fully electric, the VGT SV is an all-electric endurance race car based on the Vision Gran Turismo Coupe they revealed last year. Four electric motors produce a casual 1,877 horsepower and allow for a 0-60 mph time of just 1.65 seconds and a top speed of 255 mph. Though it’s just a video game car, it’s “fully engineered” as if it were a real project. Though the powertrain is fully virtual, they approached it as if they were building a real battery pack and motor setup, taking battery’s impact on center of gravity and balance, thermal management, and longevity into account. None of that stuff will likely be simulated in Gran Turismo 7 but it’s nice to know it’s there. Virtually.
The other thing they spent real engineering hours working on is its aerodynamics which have been optimized, tested, and proven in state-of-the-art simulations. This is to say such a shape could theoretically work in the real world if it could be built. Two movable sections of the large integrated wing rise at speed for extra downforce but then tuck away when needed to minimize drag. This results in a drag coefficient of Cd 0.398 while also generating just over 1,000 pounds of downforce at 200 mph.
Players who have been given the privilege of being allowed to buy a Playstation 5 direct from a retailer and not a shitty scum of the earth scalper can get behind the wheel sometime in 2021 when GT7 releases. No specific date has been set in stone yet.
[Source: Jaguar, Gran Turismo]
Peugeot reveals LMH powertrain
While the smart manufacturers have been signing on to the LMDh program, some have decided that Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) is the one for them. So far Toyota and Peugeot are the only OEMs to commit to this platform. ByKolles and Glickenhaus are smaller teams joining in as well. But Peugeot’s entry is notable because it’ll be the first prototype from them since the mighty 908 ran its last race in 2011. It’s hard not to get excited about their LMH program even if LMDh makes more logical sense as the future of top level prototype racing.
This week, Peugeot has peeled back the bodywork to show us how this thing will move. And it helps paint the picture of why they chose LMH. It’ll be an all-wheel-drive hybrid setup with a gas engine powering the rear wheels and an electric motor powering the front wheels. A 2.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 sits at the back and contributes 680 horsepower on its own. It’s attached to a seven-speed gearbox. Meanwhile, a 900-volt battery pack gets sandwiched in between the engine and the cockpit firewall. That battery was developed by Saft, a Total subsidiary, and powers a 268-horsepower electric motor on the front axle.
LMH rules allow for many different kinds of powertrains, hybrid or not. So in an attempt to balance them out, the gas engine provides power below 75 mph and the electric motor can only kick in at speeds beyond that or when charging is needed. The role of the gas engine will be scaled back when the electric motor is active so as to not exceed the maximum allowed total system power of 680 horsepower (roughly the same as LMDh).
This revelation ties into Peugeot’s intentions to produce a road going version of their LMH car. Now that we’ve been provided this context, Peugeot clearly thought LMH would be the best way to tie a street car and race car program together. Using the same or at least similar engines and electric drive components in both a halo car and a race car competing at Le Mans would be a great way to do it.
[Source: Peugeot via Jalopnik]
Mazda is reproducing parts for the RX-7
Good news for FC and FD RX-7 owners! Mazda is going to start remanufacturing parts for the last two generations of RX-7. Bad news for FC and RX-7 owners outside of Japan! So far they’ve only confirmed availability for Japan beginning in February 2021.
The report comes to us from Japanese Nostalgic Car who noted that while Mazda expanding this program to the US is less certain, it would align with their brand image and the network to support it is already in place. The program will make a total of 91 “high-need” parts for both cars available again from the OEM with more to be added down the road. The catalog currently has 30 parts for the FC and 61 for the FD. So far it includes wear and tear items parts like hoses, sensors, bushings, and gaskets. Japanese Nostalgic Car notes that this first round of parts was chosen based on input Mazda received from shops that service RX-7s in Japan. If you or someone you know lives in Japan and is okay to overnight some parts to you and you can read Japanese, head on over to the Classic Mazda website and check out the catalog. It will expand as the program grows so check back often.
[Source: Japanese Nostalgic Car]
What’s your news for the week?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.