THE PERFORMANCES OF THE DIESEL ENGINE
A few days after the finish of the " 24 Heures du Mans ", and a few hours after the " Le Mans Classic ", it is now time to assess and analyse the results. The finish -- and the historic victory -- of the diesel engine has raised a lot of questions, and has filled columns in the media. Starting from a blank page, and without any help whatsoever, (there being no such thing as a diesel engine in racing cars), the Automobile Club de l'Ouest had to lay down the basis of a rule system acceptable to all the entrants.
The results of the Test Day backed up the technical data ; the performances of the Pescarolos were very close to those of the Audis after several successive improvements from each competitor.
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest has begun its analysis of the performances of the cars which took part in the 2006 " 24 Heures du Mans " so that, as from September, in consultation with the IMSA, it may be decided what measures are deemed necessary in order to equalise the performances in each category and for each technology.
Concerning the eqivalence between a petrol engine and a diesel engine, the first analyses show an advantage for the diesel engine :
* Regarding lap time, there is a difference of about about 3.2 seconds in comparison with the highest-performing petrol-run car. However, when considering this difference, we must take into account the improvements in performance which are linked to the chassis, the suspension, the aerodynamics, and of course to the engine. Just the advantage linked to the engine performance can lead us to take steps to reduce its performance,since all the other elements of the car are constructed according to the same specifications. It is therefore up to the manufacturer to produce the best car.
* Concerning consumption : the tank capacity will have to be adjusted in such a way that the cars receive the same quantity of energy at each refuelling stop. This will mean a smaller tank for those cars which are equipped with a diesel engine.