WTAC 2012: Finding Project Nemo

Project Nemo, World Time Attack Challenge 2012

A wild-looking time attack car that produces more aerodynamic downforce than a Le Mans prototype will be the centre of attention when it makes its debut at the World Time Attack Challenge at Sydney Motorsport Park on Friday.

The Queensland-built Project Nemo is the result of a two-year program to develop the ultimate time attack car by using what its owners describe as an integrated approach.

“Other teams you’ll see at World Time Attack started out with a road car and added different bits along the way,” said driver and team manager Chris Eaton.

“From the beginning, our car has been a definite effort to integrate the aero with the suspension and driveline. Our goal has been to produce something with the best ability in every area.”

Based on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII, Project Nemo’s extraordinary carbon fibre bodywork was designed by American aerodynamicist and data engineer Andrew Brilliant.

His Japan-based company AMB Aero has applied experience gained in the Indycar, American Le Mans and Japan Super GT Championships, and American Time Attack, to create a shape that will generate the highest-possible downforce through Eastern Creek’s sweeping turns.

Despite a plethora of wings and canards, a reduced frontal area and a low drag-to-downforce ratio underbody/diffuser should allow Project Nemo to reach a competitive top speed on the circuit’s long main straight.

Inbuilt data acquisition measures the downforce at each wheel and allows the team to fine-tune the aerodynamics.

The high-tech thinking extends to the Mitsubishi’s engine where programmable turbo-charging automatically turns down the boost in corners and turns it back up on the straights.

“The car has more than 600 kilowatts at the wheels and would struggle to get that power down in the corners if we didn’t moderate the boost. The autoboost also improves engine reliability.”

Harnessing all the power and downforce at World Time Attack will be Hankook Ventus TD Z221 semi-slicks.

“We’ve chosen the Hankooks because they have proven very competitive in the past but also because the tyres have sufficient load rating to handle all the downforce Nemo generates.”

For the second year in a row, Hankook is supporting the hotly contested Open Class at the World Time Attack Challenge.

It will award $2500 worth of competition tyres to the fastest non-Hankook sponsored competitors using its tyres in the Open and Clubsprint classes.

For Team Nemo team, a top 10 finish would be reward enough.

“We’d be ecstatic,” said Chris Eaton. “It’s great that so many people have high expectations of us, but we’re just happy to be entering the event with our car, done the way we want it.”

Article submitted by The Project Group.