Reynard Gears Up For Le Mans 24 Hour Race

Reynard Motorsport's plans for Le Mans with its new 2KQ sports racing car are moving forward rapidly as the company prepares for its debut at the famous Le Mans circuit. Development of the car has been continuing apace since its launch in October...

Reynard Motorsport's plans for Le Mans with its new 2KQ sports racing car are moving forward rapidly as the company prepares for its debut at the famous Le Mans circuit. Development of the car has been continuing apace since its launch in October last year, with Reynard's engineers putting in place the developments and aerodynamic revisions needed to take on the challenge of the 24 Hour race. Johannson Matthews Racing, RocAuto and ORECA are currently working alongside Reynard in preparation for the pre-qualifying test session at the end of the month.

The Le Mans package planned at the inception of the car has been extensively tested in the wind tunnel and, alongside data collected from tests and races, since the introduction of the 2KQ, has been developed and revised to meet the demands of the upcoming race. The aerodynamic package is extensively improved with gains overall in downforce and efficiency. The carbon Kevlar composite bodywork has been completely revised to meet these criteria, with extensive wind tunnel testing carried out. The updates will produce a car that is specific to the low drag, high-speed characteristics of the Le Mans circuit and although developed specially for this race, many of the development and the knowledge gained will be appropriate to other Sportscar events in which Reynard customers compete.

The requirements of the ACO with regard to a chassis mounted rear wing has led to extensive revisions in this area, along with improved stiffness throughout the car. The engine installations have been improved and accommodate every engine variation.

Testing sessions and race experience with the Reynard 2KQ that has been undertaken by the Johansson Matthews, Robinson and Dyson race teams has identified three key areas for improvement - gearbox installation, uprights and stiffness. The gearbox design, with an outer chassis has proved to be an important technological feature of the car. However, the installation required further revisions in order to eliminate the reliability issues that surfaced through hard racing and high mileage. Gemini Transmissions has been working hard alongside Reynard engineers to address the problems and with Gemini's rapid manufacturing processes and the engineering resources at Reynard, improvements to the installation have been made in readiness for Le Mans. Suspension updating for the rigours of carbon braking in endurance racing has also been put in place, with strengthening of uprights and extra cooling to minimise reliability problems over the duration of the race.

Kieron Salter, Technical Manager, Reynard 2KQ, sums up the developments, saying, "Le Mans needs a very specific approach. There are a number of different routes that can be taken to get the desired aerodynamic balance and it takes time to work through the options and develop the car in the right direction. The Reynard 2KQ is still early in its Le Mans development programme, but we're working hard to achieve the deadlines set. From our customer's work in the USA, where the Robinson, Johansson/Matthews and Dyson race teams tested extensively and with the 2KQ contesting two of the hardest endurance races in US sports car racing, we identified the key issues and have addressed these for Le Mans. Aerodynamic and engine testing has been our focus in Europe with ORECA. As a manufacturer of production racing cars we have called on all our resources to handle the engineering in-house, using the necessary research tools, such as computational fluid dynamics and our scale model wind tunnel to validate our design and development work. We have the pattern making, composite production and manufacturing capabilities at our disposal, which allows us to have shorter lead times of manufacture. This, in turn, enables us to extend our wind tunnel research, right up until the last minute."

"The Reynard 2KQ sports racing car proved to be quick in its first two outings at Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours, but a combination of bad luck and lack of reliability put us out of contention. We have put a tremendous amount of effort into eliminating the reliability issues, improving and updating parts to increase performance and developing the Le Mans aerodynamic package. We've been able to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the 2KQ and with Reynard's capabilities refine the basic product to be a worthy contender at Le Mans 24 Hours."

Mark Smithson, Managing Director, Reynard Motorsport, adds, "The Reynard 2KQ has plenty of potential for Le Mans. The project team, recently strengthened by the appointment of Nigel Stroud as Chief Designer, is committed to developing a competitive car for this blue riband event. They have put all their energies and experience into preparing the car for pre-qualifying and I know they won't stop until race day. All our customers will benefit from the work we've been doing to give them as much opportunity as possible for success in June. There's still eight weeks to go and we're on course with the Le Mans programme. We'll be working with our teams to push on with developments, testing and analysing data with them to perfect the package in time for this important race."

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Series Le Mans