The development of a new prototype by Porsche AG, Stuttgart, for customer racing in the LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) category of the 2006 American Le Mans Series now enters its dynamic stage. The first tests on the Porsche test track, at the company’s Research & Development Centre in Weissach, have now been successfully concluded. This marks the beginning of the testing period for the new racing sportscar, which is one hundred per cent Porsche designed and constructed, from the carbon-fibre Kevlar body to the newly-developed engine, the chassis and powertrain through to the suspension.
The prototype is powered by a newly-developed 90-degree V8 endurance engine, fitted with ACO regulation air restrictors, delivering around 480 hp from a 3.4-litre capacity. The lightweight power plant features a very low centre of gravity, four valves per cylinder, a dry-sump lubrication system and single cylinder throttle valves.
The six-speed sequential constant-mesh gearbox with a triple-disc carbon fibre racing clutch is a structural part of the chassis and is operated by a steering wheel-mounted paddle shift system. Like the Porsche Carrera GT, the new prototype’s monocoque chassis is constructed of carbon fibre. Attached to this extremely strong yet lightweight framework is a front and rear double-wishbone suspension, with adjustable springs, anti-roll bars and four-way shock absorbers.
Providing optimum braking power, the brake system includes twin master cylinders, adjustable brake balance and internally vented carbon brake discs measuring 380mm at the front and 355mm at the rear. As an integral partner in the car’s development process, Michelin supplies the race tyres for the new Porsche prototype.
In compliance with the 2006 ALMS regulations, the new Porsche LMP2 weighs in at only 750kg. This minimal weight was achieved through an intelligent, highly integrated lightweight vehicle concept. As the prototype is eventually intended for customer racing, the development engineers had the task of reaching the minimal weight without the extensive use of exotic, and hence expensive, lightweight materials.
Penske Motorsports, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Penske Racing, Inc., will field the new Porsche prototype in its first full season of competition exclusively in 2006. Prior to entering the entire 2006 ALMS season, it is anticipated Penske Motorsports will initially debut the new Porsche prototype at the final two races of the 2005 ALMS season as test events. These will be the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, Georgia, on 1 October, and the season finale at Laguna Seca, California, on 16 October.
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