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    Thread: Noticed an interesting trend in Le Mans lap times.

    1. Member BattleRabbit's Avatar
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      09-30-2012 08:47 PM #1
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_de_la_Sarthe

      Wikipedia has a big chart which shows the fastest lap times for the various versions of the track, and the highest total distance covered for each version of the track.

      I think it's interesting that the fastest qualifying time is held by the 917(not surprising, considering the speed of the car, and the lack of chicanes on the Mulsanne), and the only car to more-or-less equal the 917's race speed was the XJR-9, which came 17 years later.

      Most of the post chicane-era had fastest qualifying laps in the 3:30 range(the first six years were slightly faster, but that was the end of the Group C era, correct?). Why then were the lap times in 2008 and 2010 so much faster than 1997-2007[10-12 seconds faster on fastest laps]? Was it a change in the track, or the cars?
      1998 VW Golf Mk.III 5dr/1989 Saab 900 Sedan/1960 Porsche 356B T5/1980 Honda CM400E

    2. Member Nubbin's Avatar
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      09-30-2012 08:54 PM #2
      I think modern LMP cars are built for better handling rather than higher top speed, since the new 500-550hp LMP1 cars can easily match the lap times of the "old" 650hp V12 diesel monsters (R10 and 908 HDI FAP).
      Free 1SICKLEX

    3. Member BattleRabbit's Avatar
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      09-30-2012 09:07 PM #3
      I do remember reading that the current Audi LMP1 cars make more downforce than a current F1 car. I didn't realize the difference from 2006-now was that vast!
      1998 VW Golf Mk.III 5dr/1989 Saab 900 Sedan/1960 Porsche 356B T5/1980 Honda CM400E

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      09-30-2012 09:19 PM #4
      the track has had minor changes, but nothing that would significantly increase or decrease lap times.

      as far as cars though, they definitely changed throughout the past decade. the ACO adjusts the technical regulations to keep lap times around a certain point, so you might be seeing some of that in the time differences. usually, the ACO has tried to slow them down, but as engineering goes, they find ways to make the cars quicker despite having smaller displacement engines, smaller restrictors, and less aero.

      i know comparing the Peugeot 908 and the Audi R18, the 908 had virtually no aero at Le Mans for the straight-line speed, but was slower through the Porsche curves. on the contrary, the R18 had more aero work that kept fast down the Mulsanne (not as fast as the 908), but the aero really helped it carve through the Porsche curves faster than the 908's could handle.

      also, with modern technology and the advent of CFD and readily available wind tunnels, cars are much more aerodynamically efficient, which really helps speeds even though power is down compared to even the R8's and R10's of years past.
      welcome to the layer cake

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