ACO unveils 2010 Le Mans regulations

Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), the organizer of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Le Mans Series, has announced the changes for the 2010 regulations, aimed at improving and maintaining the balance between different types of chassis and...

Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), the organizer of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Le Mans Series, has announced the changes for the 2010 regulations, aimed at improving and maintaining the balance between different types of chassis and engine designs.

"In an unfavorable economic context, the idea was to modify the cars as little as possible," said Vincent Meaumesnil, the ACO sporting director. "All entrants want to be able to use their current cars in 2010, and possibly in 2011 and beyond. It was necessary to make a few clarifications and to modify certain points in the regulations to prevent some entrants from investing in solutions that we consider too extreme, and which go against the aims we have set ourselves -- to keep the cars' lap times above 3:30 at Le Mans".

Notably ACO indicates that cars meeting current LM P2 specifications will become eligible for the LM P1 class, with only minor modifications required. This appears to parallel the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) move to merge the two classes for the 2010 season, although it is not yet clear whether the 2010 ALMS LM P rules are an exact match for the 2011 Le Mans LM P1 rules.

The ACO released specific details for these bodywork changes:

At the rear:
Closing of the part behind the rear wheels. The use of grills or fairings to cover the rear wheel above the axis of the axle will no longer be allowed. The bodywork must be closed in this area and must carry the rear lights, rear stop lights and indicators.

On the sides:
Bodywork located at the rear of the axis of the rear wheels and above the reference plate must form a smooth, continuous, unbroken surface of convex form only, without cuts. It must not be set back more than 100mm in relation to the width of the bodywork at the axis of the rear axle (measured horizontally).

At the front:
Confirmation within 15 days of the aerodynamic definition of the front of the cars. It is currently under study and consultation with the manufacturers taking into account the technical feasibility and cost issues.

In addition, ACO again adjusted the balance of performance between the turbodiesel engines (currently Peugeot and Audi), the purpose-built prototype racing engines and the production-based engines, by altering the maximum restrictor sizes and boost pressures for each type.

Diesel engines (5.2L to 5.5L)
Restrictor size 37.5 mm (was 37.9 mm)
Boost pressure 2.59 bar (was 2.75 bar)
Closed-cockpit restrictor increase 0.3 mm (was 0.4 mm)

Racing petrol engines (5.5L to 6.0L)
Restrictor size 33.3 mm (was 32.5 mm)
Closed-cockpit restrictor increase 0.3 mm (was 0.3 mm)

Production (LM GT1) petrol engines (5.5L to 6.0L)
Restrictor size 33.3 mm (was 32.7 mm)
Over 8 cyliner restrictor increase 0.2 mm (was 0.4 mm)
Closed-cockpit restrictor increase 0.3 mm (was 0.3 mm)

For the Le Mans Series entrants, three engines will be available for the full 2010 season, instead of the current requirement of two consecutive races per engine.

There are no changes to the LM GT2 regulations, and ACO intends to make an announcement about the future of the LM GT1 category -- which has already been dropped by ALMS -- at the end of September.

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Series ALMS , Le Mans , European Le Mans