ECO RACING LOOKS TO FUTURE AFTER ENGINE INTAKE TEMPERATURE ISSUES SIDELINE TEAM AT LAGUNA SECA
Charge temperature issues lead to DNS at Mazda Sports Car Championships
MONTEREY, CA -Eco Racing withdrew its LMP1 entry to the season finale of the American Le Mans Series after Friday's morning practice session.
Power loss due to high intake temperature that has plagued the team since it began testing late in the 2009 season left the AER V-10 powered Radical SR10 off the pace of the other prototypes. Sportscar racing veteran Hideki Noda managed lap times in practice that held within 120% of the quickest P1 car, and therefore could have put the No. 10 Eco Racing prototype on the starting grid. Productive seat time for drivers Cort Wagner and Nikolas Konstant was restricted by the resulting dip in power from the hot intake air.
Facing these difficult circumstances, team principle Ian Dawson decided to pull the Eco Racing entry from the starting grid.
The team will now concentrate on a return to the American Le Mans Series in 2010. Already, the team has made amazing strides in terms of reliability and fuel efficiency. Over 100 hours of testing on the motor have not resulted in a single failure. And the team has been able to run the VW-Toureg based engine on a variety of fuels, including a Jatropha-based biodiesel, a synthetic diesel, and Shell clean diesel.
On another positive note, the project to bring a production-based diesel engine into a racing series is in many ways complete. Eco Racing will look to compete in 2010 with a petrol engine that runs on E85 or bio-butanol. The team is also determined to develop its own test projects to further push the envelope of technologies that displace fossil fuels and reduce energy consumption.
As the last race of the 2009 ALMS season was underway, Eco Racing team principle Ian Dawson stated, "I would personally like to thank all the people who have shown their support to bring a true production diesel engine into the series, which proved to be one of the most daunting tasks I have ever undertaken."
Eco Racing made its debut last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, completing 46 laps before retiring when contact with a GT2 car broke the drive shaft.
In a strange coincidence of bad luck at the 2009 Petit Le Mans, a similar accident caused in practice by a spinning GT2 car ended the team's bid for qualifying. As the crew rushed to repair the car, drivers Jose Bilbiani and Dion von Moltke missed the required night practice session.
Driver Hideki Noda expressed his optimism for the team's future and shared his thoughts on the challenges of racing with a production engine.
"Ian Dawson is trying really hard to put this project together. We will keep trying.
Against other prototype cars, it's going to be a little bit difficult. We need some more development. We use a production engine and it's much heavier than a racing engine. What Ian is looking for is our engine to last five times longer than a racing engine. It will not cost as much as a racing engine. That's what we need for right now. We have to think about the environment.
We should never give up. We have to keep trying."
-credit: eco racing