As the testing at Daytona drew to a close, most teams have took a conservative tact and, as a result, the times reflected just that. Atmospheric conditions today may also have played a part, as it was about 10 degrees warmer than yesterday.
The best time overall was set by the Picchio BMW driven by Boris Said, posting a time of 1:50.184 or 116.315 mph. The BMW powered prototype continued to gain speed throughout the day but was unable to eclipse the Porsche Fabcar for the top spot in the timesheet.
Said praised the car as a solid reliable package right out of the box and could only see more improvements with continuing development.
Careful study of the Porsche Fabcar reveals the many aerodynamic developments incorporated since the early December tests. Small but significant improvements resulted from revised radiator exit ducting and vortex generators on the front undertray that help reattach the airflow over the roof and sides of the car.
In the biggest bang for the buck department, a small vortex generator placed in front of the engine air intake just behind the cockpit door increases ram air pressure and performance. A rib fence starting over the rear wheel opening and joining the rear spoiler contributes more downforce with little or no drag penalty. 20 runs in the wind tunnel can help sort out these little issues.
The Mini Cooper S cars are in a class by themselves, literally! Almost thirty seconds a lap slower than the prototypes and GTS cars they will form a moving chicane. That being said they are visually appealing and something about a tortoise comes to mind. They could sweep their class however!
Some interesting technology tidbits have come to the surface during this year's buildup to the 24-hour endurance classic. The H.A.N.S. device has incorporated a new type of quick release mechanism on the helmets. It consists of a one directional-keyed fixture with a spring-loaded attachment that should eliminate the occasional uncommanded releases reported in the past. Hopefully course workers and EMTs will be briefed on it's operation before the event.
Advances in the sports medicine have produced a portable hyperbaric chamber that will help drivers to quickly recover from their stints by supplying an oxygen rich cocoon to minimize the effects of dehydration and fatigue. Dr. John Gleddie of Ontario, Canada brings this technology to endurance racing exclusively for the Brumos Porsche Team. However, several other teams have expressed interest and so far he is available for Le Mans.
The Track and the weather are usually the biggest factors in endurance racing aside from the cars' tendency to find new ways to self-destruct. With less than a month until the Classic begins, it still could be anybody's race. Let's fill those seats and enjoy the show!
January 5 Conditions
Clear, unrestricted visibility with Very light winds. <pre> 10:00am 12:00PM 2:00PM Ambient Temperature 50 F 68 F 65 F Track Temperature 57 F 92 F 70 F