Hybrid cars Braking zones on the Le Mans 24-Hours circuit

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May 30, 2012

Source: Automobile Club de l’Ouest

Because of the entry of hybrid cars in the Le Mans 24 Hours on 16-17 June, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) have decided to create specific zones where the cars in question can transmit the energy recuperated under braking. There will be seven on the 24-Hours circuit.

The hybrid systems of Audi and Toyota recover the energy generated under braking. Previously this was lost; it is now stored and transmitted under acceleration. In order to limit the size of these systems – and the budgets required for their development – the ACO and the FIA have imposed a maximum quantity of energy that can be transmitted between two braking phases: 500 kilojoules. Each hybrid car can take advantage of additional electric power without exceeding the minima laid down in the technical regulations.

In order to establish clearly-defined zones (those allowing energy (500 kj maximum) to be transmitted between two braking phases, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) have defined the zones where braking is sufficiently heavy to be taken into account.

There were five on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship on 5th May 2012 in which this system was used for the first time. On the 13,629-km Le Mans circuit there will be seven.

Zone no. 1: Dunlop chicane (no. 8 marshal’s post)
Zone no. 2: Forza Motorsport Chicane (no. 42 marshals’ post)
Zone no. 3: Michelin Chicane (no. 60 marshals’ post)
Zone no. 4: Mulsanne corner (no. 76 marshals’ post)
Zone no. 5: Indianapolis Corner (no. 96 marshals’ post)
Zone no. 6: Porsche Corner (no. 115b marshals’ post)
Zone no. 7: Ford Corner (no. 131 marshals’ post)

The entry to each zone is 50 metres before the corner in question. The entrants for the Le Mans 24-Hours test day on 3rd June 2012 will have to respect these zones.

Four of the 56 cars entered for the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours have hybrid engines: the nos 1 & 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattros and the nos 7 & 8 Toyota TS030s.

It is worth noting that in the case of Audi where the energy is fed to the front drive train the car must be running above 120 km/h for the transmission to take place. For Toyota, on the other hand, in which the energy is fed to the rear drive train there is no minimum speed.


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