- Three Aston Martin Vantage GTEs vie for Am class honours at Le Mans
- NorthWest AMR, Paul Dalla Lana, Nicki Thiim and David Pittard lead WEC GTE-Am championship ahead of world’s most famous race
- TF Sport seeking to convert pole-winning form into another class victory
- D’station Racing returns to La Sarthe for second attempt at Le Mans with the Vantage GTE
Three Aston Martin Vantage GTEs will fight to continue the car’s sparkling recent GT record in this weekend’s 90th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Since the turn of the decade, an Aston Martin has finished on the podium in every class it has entered at the most famous motor race of them all – including two glorious victories in 2020.
Now, with 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship [WEC] GTE-Am champion Paul Dalla Lana (CDN) and his NorthWest AMR team-mates Nicki Thiim (DEN) and David Pittard (GBR) leading this year’s class standings, and Vantage having set the pace in both the opening rounds – the 1000 Miles of Sebring in the US, and the 6 Hours of Spa – the British ultra-luxury sportscar brand starts the most important event in the endurance racing calendar as one of the favourites.
The event marks the fifth year of the Vantage GTE’s participation at Le Mans. It’s halcyon double-victory in the 2020 remains the highlight, when the works #97 Vantage driven by Alexander Lynn (GBR), Maxime Martin (BEL) and Harry Tincknell (GBR) beat Ferrari in a legendary race-long GTE Pro class duel, while team-mates Thiim, Marco Sørensen (DEN) and Richard Westbrook (GBR) finished third. In the same race TF Sport took the Vantage GTE, on its GTE Am debut, to a brilliant win for Jonny Adam (GBR), Charlie Eastwood (IRL) and Salih Yoluc (TUR).
In 2021, TF Sport came close again, taking second place in class for Ben Keating (USA) and his #33 crew. The American and the TF Sport team return this year with an even stronger line-up that includes double FIA GT world champion Sørensen and Henrique Chaves (POR). So far this season the car has started every race from pole position, before going on to finish second. The run means Keating and Sørensen are only six points behind the NorthWest AMR squad at the top of the standings.
NorthWest AMR’s owner/driver Dalla Lana (CDN) heads into Le Mans with his best chance ever of winning the French classic. WEC’s second most experienced driver, Dalla Lana is also the most successful GTE Am driver in the series’ history with 17 wins. And on his tenth visit to the 24 Hours of Le Mans a victory would be the crowning achievement of a glittering career. He’ll be supported by 2014 Le Mans GTE Am winner Thiim and Pittard – who won on his WEC debut.
TF Sport will also play an assisting role in D’station Racing’s second assault on Le Mans with Aston Martin. The Japanese team enters a Vantage GTE for Super Taikyu champions Satoshi Hoshino (JPN) and regular co-driver and team manager Tomonobu Fujii (JPN) along with rising British GT star Charlie Fagg. This promising trio is seeking to improve on the sixth place it recorded at Sebring in March.
Head of AMR Partner Racing, Huw Tasker said: “Aston Martin’s pedigree at Le Mans is unquestionable. It is a brand that knows how to win the great endurance races and with Vantage we have a car that we know can give our partners the power, speed and endurance to compete for the highest prize in the sport. We wish all our teams well as we embark on another great adventure at the Circuit de la Sarthe.”
Embarking on its fourth world championship season, Vantage remains as formidable a title contender as ever. Powered by a race-developed version of the four-litre, twin-turbo-charged V8 engine found in the road car from which it derives, this prototype derivative of the GT car was all-conquering in the WEC GTE Pro category during the 2019/2020 season. It recorded five wins from eight races, including both Pro and Am classes at the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans, the car took Aston Martin to the FIA GT Manufacturers’ World Championship title and carried Thiim and Sørensen to the drivers’ crown. In total it has claimed 12 class victories so far in WEC.
This year’s Le Mans will feature a record-equalling 23-car GTE-Am entry, as the race’s schedule returns to its traditional mid-June date. Practice and qualifying will run through Wednesday and Thursday while the race will begin at 1600 CET, Saturday, 11 June.
The Le Mans 24 Hours is the third round of the 2022 WEC, which features six rounds, beginning with the 1000 Miles of Sebring (USA) on 11 March, followed by the 6 Hours of Spa on 8 May. After Le Mans the series heads to Italy for the 6 Hours of Monza on 10 July. WEC then returns to Japan for the first time since 2019 for the 6 Hours of Fuji (ITA) on the 11 September. The series will then conclude with an eight-hour race in Bahrain on 12 November.
Ahead of the testing phase for the LMDh prototype for the 2023 season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, BMW M Motorsport announces the name, the design, and an exciting camouflage livery for the car.
The BMW M Hybrid V8 will sport a look designed by BMW Group Designworks, and celebrates the history of BMW M Motorsport in North America while defining a dynamic hybrid electric future.
Ahead of the testing phase for the LMDh prototype for the 2023 season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, BMW M Motorsport announces the name, the design, and an exciting camouflage livery for the car. The BMW M Hybrid V8 will sport a look designed by BMW Group Designworks, and celebrates the history of BMW M Motorsport in North America while defining a dynamic hybrid electric future. Key information for fans is that the prototype is clearly recognizable as a BMW M car.
This message is echoed by Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH: “The most critical task and the greatest challenge for the design team in the LMDh programme design team was that the prototype must be clearly recognisable as a BMW M Motorsport car. And I can say this to all the fans, just one look is enough to confirm that the BMW M Hybrid V8 is a BMW. It clearly carries the genes of BMW M. I also love the camouflage livery with its references to the great history of the brand in North America. Congratulations to the design and aerodynamics departments at BMW M Motorsport and Dallara on their great work. I can hardly wait to see the BMW M Hybrid V8 on the track soon.”
The hallmark of the design for the BMW M Hybrid V8 is the wide kidney. In addition, it boasts typical BMW M design elements such as the nested 50th anniversary logo on the hood, twin BMW icon lights, dynamic body side, Hofmeister kink window graphic, M ‘hook’ mirrors and the tail-lights. The camouflage livery in which the BMW M Hybrid V8 will complete its testing, contains many elements from five decades of motor racing history in North America. The images of iconic racecars – the 1976 BMW 3.0 CSL, the 1981 BMW M1/C, the 1978 BMW 320i Turbo, the 1986 BMW GTP, the BMW M3 E36 GTS-2, the BMW Z4 GTLM and the BMW M8 GTE – create a graphic mosaic which obscures the shape of the BMW M Hybrid V8 to maintain competitive IP during development testing.
“My team’s job was to make the BMW M Hybrid V8 look like a BMW, and embrace every opportunity to make it also perform like one on the race track,” said BMW Group Designworks Global Automotive Director Michael Scully. “The design is rooted in BMW’s DNA of purposeful, efficient performance, and the exterior’s bold, determined character invokes BMW’s frontiersmanship of turbo power, now united with an optimised hybrid electric powertrain. The camouflage livery celebrates the 50 Years of M by commemorating the great cars of BMW’s storied history in IMSA racing while uniquely cloaking the BMW M Hybrid V8’s future-facing exterior geometry and technologies during the critical on-track development phase of the project. If you look closely you’ll discover multiple winners of the Daytona 24 Hours, as well as the very first purpose-built IMSA GTP car from 1981, the BMW M1/C. We’ll follow-up this camouflage with a works livery that exemplifies the dynamism and excitement of hybrid electric-powered competition.”
- Presented to celebrate JUKE Hybrid launch
- Powered by JUKE’s hybrid electric powertrain
- Homage to victorious sports car with black hood and wheels
- Combines Nissan’s pioneering crossover and electrified expertise
Following the release of images last June to celebrate Nissan’s participation in the East African Rally 50 years earlier, the Nissan JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute has come to life.
The JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute moved from design sketch to fully operational one-off vehicle following the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the release of the original concept images. Its unveiling previews the European introduction of the JUKE Hybrid this summer. The prototype has the production version’s hybrid powertrain at its heart.
Speaking about the decision to bring the JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute to life, Coralie Musy, Vice President, Brand and Customer Experience, Nissan’s AMIEO region, said: “The JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute represents our optimism and daring mindset. We are currently preparing an exciting new chapter of JUKE history in advance of the introduction of the new JUKE Hybrid in the summer. It will offer the excitement and agility customers would expect of our iconic crossover, with both improved performance and efficiency. The JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute takes its playful character to a new level.”
Advanced hybrid powertrain
The use of powertrain from the forthcoming JUKE Hybrid reflects both the additional performance it offers in the production version, as well as the improvements to its efficiency and emissions.
The JUKE Hybrid powertrain consists of a new generation, state-of-the-art Nissan internal combustion engine specifically developed for working in a hybrid powertrain application. It produces 69kW (94hp) and 148Nm of torque.
On the electric side, the main electric motor produces 36kW (49hp) and 205Nm of torque, while there is a 15kW contribution from a high voltage starter/generator, all of which is fed by a 1.2kWh water-cooled battery. The net result is a powertrain providing 25% more power than the current petrol engine option, with a fuel consumption reduction of approximately 40% in the urban cycle, and up to 20% combined. (Figures subject to homologation)
Smart automatic gearbox
Also carried over from the production version of the JUKE Hybrid and key to the driving pleasure at its heart is an advanced low friction multi-modal gearbox that provides optimal use of the propulsive power, whether electric, petrol engine, or both.
To reduce friction, this motorsport-inspired gearbox uses dog clutches instead of conventional synchroniser rings to shift the 4 “ICE” gears and 2 “EV” gears. Additionally, to reduce friction, this gearbox does not use a clutch. All vehicle starts are 100% electric, and the 2 EV motors are used in combination to synchronise the gears, delivering smooth, connected and responsive acceleration.
The gearbox is controlled by an advanced algorithm, managing the shift points, battery regeneration, as well as the advanced series-parallel architecture. The powertrain can seamlessly navigate through different hybridisation combinations (series, parallel, series-parallel) according to acceleration and power requirements and without any driver input.
Like the Gripz concept car that was presented at the 2015 Frankfurt motorshow, preceding the introduction of JUKE, it takes its design cues from the iconic 240Z that competed so successfully in the desert rally over half-a-century ago.
The most obvious modification are the enlarged wheel arches to accommodate the tailor-made off-road tyres, while the additional lights mounted on the hood and roof echo those of 50 years ago.
Similarly, the black hood and enlarged black wheels are a visual homage to the 1971 vehicle that competed in the East African Rally. The use of vintage sponsor logos and the number 11 also reflect aspects of the 240Z rally car, as do the additional of reinforced plates under the front and rear valances which offer protection to the vehicle’s underside. Reinforced and long-travel suspension has been fitted all-round, to give the Juke Hybrid Rally Tribute exceptional poise over the challenging terrain it will navigate. The tyres are 265/70 R16, giving phenomenal grip and traction in all conditions, in the most difficult conditions.
Inside, the interior has been modified with the fitment of a tubular cage to stiffen the bodyshell and to offer protection in the case of an incident at speed in the challenging desert environment. The rear seats have been removed to provide space for spare wheels and four-point harnesses have been added to secure the driver and navigator safely in their racing seats.
Other modifications to the interior include the fitment of a competition fire extinguisher, an intercom system with a pair of headphones to simplify communications between driver and navigator, the fitment of Alcantara trim on the steering wheel and a hydraulic handbrake with high-reach handle for quick and easy activation.
“As part of our commitment to electrify our range, this year will see an unprecedented wave of new Nissan electrified powertrains and vehicles. As well as the new JUKE Hybrid, we will also introduce our boldly innovative e-POWER drivetrain on the Qashqai crossover. We’ve already started taking orders for our new flagship Ariya EV, while the Townstar Light Commercial EV will go on sale later this year. And in the second half of the year, the all-new X-Trail Crossover will also be introduced,” said Coralie Musy.
As part of the Juke Hybrid Rally Tribute project and in line with exploring the excitement of rallying while being as eco-conscious as possible, the Juke Hybrid Rally Tribute’s powertrain uses liquids and biofuels provided by Shell, Nissan’s partner for the 1971 East African Rally.
Nissan in the East African Safari Rally
In 1971, the legendary 240Z that took the victory of the gruelling East African Safari Rally was driven by Edgar Herrmann with navigator Hans Schüller. Indeed, the rally was a resounding success for the brand, with the 240Zs coming home in second and seventh positions. Furthermore, the victory represented the brand’s second consecutive victory in the rally.
The low-slung 240Z was powered by a 2.4 litre straight six cylinder engine, producing 210PS, with power sent to the rear wheels. The victorious car was restored to good order in 2013 and is part of Nissan’s heritage collection which is housed in Zama, close to Nissan global headquarters in the Kanagawa prefecture of Japan.
To view more JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute images, please click here: https://uk.nissannews.com/en-GB
- International debut for DesertX and RS Q e-tron, together in off-road with Danilo Petrucci and the official Audi drivers including Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz
- To celebrate this partnership, the Centro Stile Ducati has created a special livery for the DesertX inspired by that of the Audi RS Q e-tron
- The new DesertX will be available in European dealerships starting from the end of May, also in a depowered version for A2 license holders
The most highly anticipated motorcycle of 2022 and the most surprising rally prototype met in Sardinia for a special event organized in partnership by Ducati and Audi.
The new Ducati DesertX and the Audi RS Q e-tron took centre-stage in the first test reserved for the international media, which could also count on the presence of Danilo Petrucci, winner of a stage of the Dakar 2022, and the official Audi drivers/co-drivers Emil Bergkvist, Stéphane Peterhansel, Edouard Boulanger, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz.
To celebrate this event, the Centro Stile Ducati has created an exclusive livery for the DesertX inspired by that of the RS Q e-tron. This special bike was ridden by Petrucci, who put on a show together with the Sainz/Cruz pairing on a technical off-road track
Andrea Ferraresi, Centro Stile Ducati Director: “When we saw the RS Q e-tron for the first time, we couldn’t help but imagine it in action among the dunes and rocks together with the DesertX. This event gave us the opportunity to do so and so we decided to create an exclusive livery, inspired by the colours and graphics of the Audi prototype. Seeing cars and motorcycles together off-road is truly a great show. The collaboration between the two brands and between their respective Design Centers is strong and important“
The DesertX is the model with which the Borgo Panigale motorcycle manufacturer enters the mid-displacement enduro segment. The bike is designed to tackle the most demanding off-road and for this reason it is equipped with a 21″ front wheel, 18″ rear wheel, long suspension travel and ample ground clearance. Powered by the 11° Testastretta engine, DesertX guarantees a comfortable, easy and safe ride on every type of journey thanks to the attention paid to ergonomics, careful aerodynamic study and advanced technological equipment.
The safety and performance of the new Ducati model are also guaranteed by the electronic systems, which represent the state of the art in terms of riding assistance. There are 6 Riding Modes available on DesertX (two of which are intended for off-road use: Enduro and Rally), and they work in combination with the 4 Power Modes that modify the power and responsiveness of the engine.
The RS Q e-tron is Audi’s rally prototype to tackle the desert and embodies the purest efficiency. The innovative electric drive with high voltage batteries and energy converter pushes the limits of what is possible. The RS Q e-tron made its debut in the 2022 Dakar Rally last January and impressed with four stage victories, while in March it achieved his first overall victory at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Audi factory driver driver Carlos Sainz underlined the importance of the model for the motorsport program of the German manufacturer:
“What Audi has achieved with this concept is technically unique and a real benefit for us drivers. The event in Sardinia was great to communicate the benefits of the electric drive. All the media were impressed throughout”.
Sainz, Petrucci and all the Audi drivers were greeted enthusiastically by the press during this event which confirmed the great bond and constant collaboration between Ducati and Audi.
The new DesertX, which since its presentation has met with remarkable success, will be available in all European dealerships in the Ducati network from the end of May. The new model is also available in a 35kW depowered version for A2 license holders.
The time has come for bikers to make their wildest travel dreams come true.
GO TO DUCATI MEDIA HOUSE FOR MORE INFO