Motorsports Nissan Video

VIDEO: Nissan Zeod RC engine 101

Nissan Zeod RC

The Nissan Zeod RC will be racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans later this year and when we last brought you an update on the car we didn’t know anything about its internal combustion engine. Well now we do—plus heaps more—as these videos show, featuring the slightly nerdy guy from Engineering Explained.

Audi WEC

Allan McNish retires from competitive motorsport

Allan McNish

Reigning Le Mans winner Allan McNish has announced he will be retiring from motorsport. The Audi factory driver, who also shared the 2013 World Endurance Championship, with teammates Loïc Duval and Tom Kristensen, turns 44 on 29 December and said the time is right.

“I found the ideal moment for myself to bring an end to my LMP sports-prototype racing with Audi,” explained McNish. “Together with my teammates Tom Kristensen and Loïc Duval I finished my most successful season in the sports car.

“Having also won the Le Mans 24 Hours, I can’t wish for more than what we’ve achieved this year. I can look back on a fantastic career that has left no aims unfinished and I’m looking forward to new challenges the future holds for me.”

McNish won Le Mans three times: 1998 (Porsche GT1-98), 2010 (Audi R10 TDI) and 2013 (Audi R18 e-tron quattro).

The likeable Scot, who raced in F1 with Toyota in 2002, goes with the blessing of Audi Motorsport and the best wishes of all motor racing fans.

“We appreciate and respect Allan’s decision to retire at the pinnacle of his career,” said Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport. “At the same time, this is a parting that is particularly difficult for us. All of us are well aware of Allan’s racing successes.

“We regret that Allan will no longer be contesting any races for us but are happy that he will continue to be associated with Audi Sport and the Audi brand.”

Audi WEC

2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro revealed

2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro

Following its track test at Sebring earlier this week Audi has given us more information on its 2014 WEC LMP1 challenger, the 2014 R18 e-tron quattro.

Powered by a V6 TDI and dual hybrid systems Audi is keen to push its record of transferring race technology to the road. Technology we take for granted now, such as TFSI petrol engines, advanced diesel engines and LED headlights, are just some of the technologies Audi has taken from its LMP1 program to its production lines.

New regulations for the 2014 season have seen Audi further develop its R18 concept and motorsport boss, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, tells us the result is a shift in thinking: “The principles of the LMP1 regulations have fundamentally changed. The idea behind this is to achieve similarly fast lap times as in the past with considerably less energy. Making more out of less: a forward-thinking approach.”

More photos and a host of press material awaits after the break giving us a good run down of what to expect in the 2014 WEC season.


2014 WEC calendar confirmed

2014 Porsche LMP1

Next year the FIA World Endurance Championship is going to be all about Porsche. True, we can probably expect Audi and Toyota to take favouritism as the two most likely to the battle for the title. But when you consider Porsche has had the relative luxury of developing its 2014 LMP1 racecar without the demands of ongoing competition you’d not be surprised to see the 16-time Le Mans winners make a strong early showing.

No doubt the WEC will receive a huge upsurge in coverage here in Australia on the back of Mark Webber‘s return to top line sporstcar racing and we’ll be doing our best to play a part in that role.

Following the FIA’s approval overnight here’s the full calendar of events for the 2014 WEC season, which begins on 20 April with the 6 Hours of Silverstone. The jewel in the WEC crown is, of course, the 24 Hours of Le Mans which will take place on 14–15 June.

Nissan WEC

Nissan Zeod RC makes track debut

Nissan Zeod RC

Following its DeltaWing project Nissan is coming back to Le Mans in 2014 with the Zeod RC. This time, though, Nissan is acting alone, and not with the cooperation of Don Panoz, who is pushing on with a DeltaWing Coupé project of his own.

Zeod stands for Zero Emissions On Demand and at its launch event at Fuji Raceway the car ran solely in electric mode. And not terribly far, either. But it’s early days in this innovative project.

For now details of the car’s internal combustion engine are under wraps. It’s planned that the petrol engine will first be tested in the Zeod RC early next year, with the goal of racing the car at next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Indeed, the Zeod RC represents a bigger aim of Nissan to race the Zeod, or a derivative thereof, in the LMP1 category in future years.

Nissan says the petrol engine should be good for 12 laps of the 13.6km Circuit de la Sarthe by which time the Zeod RC should have recharged its battery enough to allow for one complete lap at full race pace.

We’re currently in the genesis of an electric powered racing era, with Le Mans in Nissan’s sights and the FIA Formula E category due to start next year as well. We’re not sure how far electric-powered motorsport will take us, but it’ll be interesting finding out.

Porsche WEC

Porsche continues LMP1 development

2014 Porsche LMP1

Porsche continues to work hard on its 2014 LMP1 program. It’s only just over two months since we got our first glimpse of Mark Webber’s new wheels and already Porsche says it’s “been completely redesigned”.

Webber’s new teammates, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani have all enjoyed time behind the wheel of the LMP1, with Jani the latest to experience some track time.

Keen to push the racing to road philosophy Porsche says the new LMP1 rules for the 2014 season, which promote fuel efficiency through hybrid technology, will translate to their production models in the future.

Porsche board member Wolfgang Hatz is aware of the proud history the company has with Le Mans, and says they are ready to embrace the challenges ahead. “After 16 years, we once again want to be a works team in the top category with the LMP1 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014. It is also our aim to contest the entire WEC season”, said Hatz.

“Porsche’s legacy of success in long-distances races really spurs us on, but also increases the level of expectation placed on us. However, we are happy to rise to this challenge.”

Toyota WEC

The ultimate endurance race

Toyota TS030 Hybrid

Toyota reflects on its second place at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans in this six minute short film. The #8 TS030 Hybrid driven by Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin finished one lap behind the winning Audi crew and you sense that small taste of success has only enhanced Toyota’s thirst for victory.

Porsche WEC

More birthday joy for Mark!

2014 Porsche LMP1 racecar

Porsche has used its dedicated Mission 2014 microsite to bring us more photos of its LMP1 racecar. And we’re sharing them with you to help celebrate Mark Webber’s birthday. We think he’ll quite like his new present, even if he has to wait a while yet to open its swirly camouflage wrapping.

Porsche WEC

Happy birthday Mark, here, have a Martini

Porsche LMP1, a new chapter

It’s Mark Webber’s birthday today. The old fella turns 37. In time for his celebrations, Porsche has released a new teaser for its return to LMP1 racing at Le Mans.

For Mark, and for Porsche, it’s almost time to forget history and time to get busy writing a new chapter.

Porsche Red Bull Racing WEC

Red Bull is nothing, Porsche is everything

Porsche 956 at 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Porsche has released a highlights video from the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed showcasing its Le Mans heritage. It got us thinking, in Australia, the mainstream media just doesn’t seem to understand what a big deal it is that Mark Webber will be part of the iconic company’s return to LMP1 racing at Le Mans next year.

Of course, Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, we understand that. But Webber’s current employer Red Bull Racing, for all of the amazing thing it has achieved, is a minnow on the motorsport landscape when compared with Porsche.

Porsche is racing.

As the legendary Jacky Ickx, a six-time Le Mans winner himself (four with Porsche), says at the end of the video, “They make the soul of motor racing.”

Mark Webber will never be an F1 world champion, and that’s a shame for all Australian motorsport fans. And yet, by moving to Porsche, he has the chance to join the likes of genuine motor racing legends such as Derek Bell, Jacky Ickx, Hans Stuck and many more. All achieved so much with Porsche.

The best years of Webber’s career could still be ahead of him.

Motorsports News WEC

A foundation for Allan Simonsen

Allan Simonsen

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest brings word of a foundation which has been set up by the Danish Automobile Sports Union in honour of Allan Simonsen, who was killed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month:

A fund was established on the 26th of June following the many expressions of sympathy from fans of motor sport in Denmark and around the world. Donations can be made on the following account number in the Danish bank, Jyske Bank A/S: IBAN DK1350780001117416, SWIFT (BIC-address): JYBADKKK. Donations can be made until 31 December 2013. DASU will hand over the donated amounts to Allan Simonsen’s fiancée Carina Lundbye Hansen at a ceremony in Copenhagen held on 22 January 2014.

The DASU added: “It is with great honor that DASU supports the memory of Allan Simonsen. We have closely followed his career all the way back from the karting years and we are convinced that Allan had the talent to even greater successes.”


Formula 1 Motorsports Porsche Red Bull Racing WEC

OFFICIAL: Webber to race for Porsche in 2014

Mark Webber, 2014 factory Porsche driver

Mark Webber: factory Porsche driver. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think.

Sure, it’s not the most surprising news—over a year since it was first mentioned—but it’s now official that Mark Webber has been signed to drive for Porsche in the World Endurance Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, from 2014 on a multi-year deal.

Whether multi-year translates to the five-year deal mentioned in April, or a more circumspect two–three year deal is not certain at this stage.

Mark has been a Porsche enthusiast for many years and his expertise and setup skills developed in Formula 1 should be a great boost to Porsche as it prepares for its 2014 LMP1 program.

“It’s an honour for me to join Porsche at its return to the top category in Le Mans and in the sports car World Endurance Championship and be part of the team,” Mark said. “Porsche has written racing history as a manufacturer and stands for outstanding technology and performance at the highest level.

“I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula 1. Porsche will undoubtedly set itself very high goals. I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world.”

Porsche will run a minimum of two cars for the WEC series, with three likely for Le Mans. Other drivers confirmed for Porsche are Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, and Neel Jani.

Now that Mark’s F1 future is known the race will be on to see who replaces him at Red Bull Racing. Will it be Kimi Raikkonen or one of the Toro Rosso drivers, Daniel Ricciardo or Jean-Eric Vergne?