Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Acura's American Le Mans Race Cars

Acura is competing in the Le Mans Prototype (LMP2) class for the 2007 American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The LMP2 class involves roof-less, closed-wheel race cars with low, wide aerodynamic body design. The LMP2 class is generally considered "the most sophisticated racing vehicles in the world this side of Formula 1." The engines in this class are limited to 8 cylinders and a maximum displacement of 3.4 liters for naturally aspirated engines. For engines that are supercharged or turboed, their limited displacement is 2.0 liters. LMP2 vehicles must weight a minimum of 1652 lbs. Although, the LMP2 class cars have an extra second seat, it is not typically used.

Acura is not currently competing in the LMP1 class. In the LMP1 class, vehicles must weight at least 1950 lbs and have no limit on the numbers of cylinders. However, there is a limitation on displacement, which is 6 liters.

Acura is giving each of the teams a special development focus. Lowe's Fernandez Racing's (LFR) is the team with greatest emphasis on ongoing engine development, they're running a 3.4 liter, naturally aspirated V8 in a Lola B05/40 chassis. Andretti Green Racing (AGR), the team with the most win in Indy Racing League history, and Highcraft Racing (HR) both also have V8 in a newly developed ARX-01a chassis. HR's focus will be in chassis development, while AGR will focus on overall long-term strategy.

Andretti Green Racing XM Satellite Radio Acura

Highcraft Racing

Lowe's Fernandez Racing

Honda Performance Development (HPD) in Santa Clara, California, played a big role in Acura's LMP2 vehicles. The V8 was the first pure racing engine completely designed and developed in-house by HPD. Initially, they also planned to use the new engine in a pre-existing chassis, the Courage LC75, however so much modifications were required that Acura designed and developed a whole new chassis. "This marks HPD's first effort beyond engine development into comprehensive race-car design."

Hopefully, Acura will bring that V8 technology over to the Acura RL. There has been a lot of criticism about Acura lacking anything bigger than a V6 in their lineup. Many people have also criticize Acura for not having rear-wheel drive as an option for their cars.

[Source] Acura.com - ALMS

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