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In which I have a nuclear asshole take about LMP1

Illustration for article titled In which I have a nuclear asshole take about LMP1
Photo: Top Gear

So, there’s a lot of whining as of late about LMP1's Equivalence of Technology, and the unfair results that allegedly came from it.


I’m, quite frankly, sick of it.

Here’s the EoT table that the 24 Hours of Le Mans ran under (direct PDF link):

Illustration for article titled In which I have a nuclear asshole take about LMP1

I think you’ll find that the non-hybrids got 5.1% less weight, 64.1% more fuel per lap, 35% more peak fuel flow, 49.6% more fuel per stint, and 26.3% more fuel rig restrictor area. Additionally, the aero regs are relaxed for them, so they get even further advantage.

Even if you consider the hybrid system’s improvements, if you assume 40% engine efficiency, 95% hybrid efficiency, that’s only an additional 19 MJ/lap of energy that the Toyota gets - nowhere near the 205 MJ/lap that the non-hybrids get.


The upshot? If the Toyota weren’t a hybrid, this would’ve been so much worse for the privateers. If the privateers were hybrids - even with Toyota’s hybrid system paired with their engines - it would’ve similarly been so much worse. Toyota was matching the privateers in straight-line speed with a 200 horsepower deficit (the hybrid system not contributing to power at top speed, only coming out of a corner, to maximize average speed down the straight). Trying to balance that is farcical.

Also, the whole thing about “but the little privateer is getting beaten up by the big evil megacorp!” rings hollow for me. The “little privateer” is always some rich guy blowing his fortune on racing, or it’s a government trying to promote themselves. At least the big megacorp is developing road technology to improve things for everyone... (I’d be far more sympathetic to the privateer argument if it were, say, university teams trying things out in the privateer subclass, but it’s not.)

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