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Old 9 Jul 2024, 18:51 (Ref:4218418)   #1
chernaudi
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Sportscar Performance Evolution, From Endurance to 24 Hour Sprint

This is as much about tactics and strategy as it is car evolution. Like we know that this evolution began in a modern sense when the Audi R8 was able to be lapped around Le Mans in race trim consistently to a very close percentage of its qualifying times.


But basically after the R8, it seemed that most teams (especially factory teams) started to incorporate more F1 or (in the case of Audi Sport) DTM type technology into LMP cars. I've spoken on the Mulsanne's Corner Facebook page with one of the mechanics/engineers who worked at Champion on the Audi R8 and R10, and he's said that the R10 did have a lot more complexity to it than the R8, in large part due to Audi Sport incorporating ideas as far as car design based on F1 and DTM into the R10 and subsequent LMP1 cars.


Basically, it seems that the R8 was the last "let's make it durable, then make it fast" type of endurance racers. I'd argue that the Bentley Speed 8 and the Audi R10 marked the transition into "let's make it fast, then try and make it last" type of cars, being a hybrid of those concepts, with the Peugeot 908 fully embracing that mantra.


In short, the person I talked to said that the R8 was designed with the mechanics in mind, considering that between accidents and possible mechanical issues you might encounter problems in the race. Also, the R8 was quite a bit easier to set up than the R10, which had several features on it that seemed to say "let's make it fast, and hope nothing major breaks".


Is this accurate, or are there other points where this transition (especially in prototypes) occurred sooner or later after these points?
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Old 10 Jul 2024, 01:10 (Ref:4218456)   #2
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Matador should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridMatador should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
I feel the "Lets make it fast" started a bit before that with Mercedes and Toyota in the post Group C GT prototype era... or maybe that was a flash in the pan... I was pretty young back then not too much into the technical side.
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Old 10 Jul 2024, 12:14 (Ref:4218487)   #3
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Are there any links to periods of rapidly increasing factory budgets to periods of make it fast? Toyota reliability went through the roof when they didn't need to compete with Audi and Porsche speeds. Or am I imagining that? Kinda same with later years of the R8.
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Old 10 Jul 2024, 20:01 (Ref:4218522)   #4
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With the R8, it (and almost all other cars in all classes) got a 10% power cut in 2003, and the quick change rear end was banned after 2003 (though reliability issues there were rare--it was used more often for accident damage).


With the Toyota, they actually rarely had hybrid problems (unlike the 2016 Audi R18, which most of it's problems were hybrid related).



In the case of the R10, the "make it fast, and hope it doesn't break" comes in with some of the packaging (torsion bar springs, brake ducting backing plates, etc), probably driven by trying to get back (and get back ahead) of performance that the ACO were trying to take away from the LMP cars with the post 2004 rules.


Of course, I've been talking with a guy who worked on the R8 and R10 back in the day, and still helps maintain R8s that run in historic racing. The R8 basically is a ton simpler than the R10, and everything after the R10 tended to crank up the complexity.
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Old Yesterday, 21:53 (Ref:4219810)   #5
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GT3_Fan should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridGT3_Fan should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
You can make a huge case that the safety car procedures of today's series and races keeps these cars from being tested in a true endurance capacity.
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Old Yesterday, 23:44 (Ref:4219818)   #6
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I was talking more about design of the vehicles vs in-race procedures by race control. Granted, almost all series now are more apt to call for FCY/pace car situations than say back in the Audi R8 or even R10 eras, but blame insurance companies and ambulance chasing lawyers for that (though drivers and teams trying to game those systems for local yellows doesn't help much, either).


Getting back to that topic, we do have things on the R10 like the brake cooling shrouds and especially their backing plates front and rear, which seem to have been put on the car to try and improve aero efficiency compared to the R8 (and especially try and get back what the post 2004 LMP1 aero regs tried to take away vs the LMP900 cars).


And though the R10 was still fairly modular and such, it still often did take somewhat longer to do certain major repairs after an accident vs the R8, even after the use of the R8's quick change rear end was abolished by the ACO and IMSA after 2003. That said, both cars were noted for being nearly totally destroyed after accidents and within 15-30 minutes or so being back out on track as good as new and as fast as ever.


Granted, most factory teams now are as good about getting their car back out there from a performance standpoint, but a lot of times anything other than a relatively minor repair does seem to take ages basically after that.
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