EVERYTHING FROM THE 1970S and ’80s is in vogue again, from Lamborghini reviving the Countach, to Nissan’s unashamedly retro design for the new Z. It seems the world’s racing fraternity aren’t immune either, with ground-effect designs returning next year.
But instead of simply rehashing old systems, motorsport has found ways to innovate on the early rudimentary aerodynamic thinking of old. Ground effect development ended in Formula 1 in 1982 when the technology was outlawed, and while Group C sportscars picked up the baton for a period, the era of huge underfloor aerodynamics was largely short-lived. For nearly three decades motorsport has almost entirely focused on increasing downforce by utilising over-body aero such as wings and spoilers, and centred around using flat floors not venturi tunnels.
New regs are changing that, with Formula 1 shifting to a ground-effect inspired design for2022, while Peugeot is returning to top-flight competition at Le Mans without a rear wing on its 9X8 racer. It’s a radical design that could upend how teams approach the iconic endurance race.
The new Hypercar (LMH) rules the 9X8 will compete under regulate a minimum drag coefficient of 1.0, and maximum downforce drag coefficient of 5.2. But beyond that, the ruleset has lifted many of the restrictions around the size and placement of aerodynamic bodywork. While rivals have followed a traditional over-body route, Peugeot’s engineers have found a solution that falls within the pre-set window without traditional wings.
“It is a combination of ground effect and upper rear bodywork that has been worked out in a bit of a different way compared to the old LMP1,” Peugeot Sport Technical Director, Olivier Jansonnie, told Racecar Engineering. “We basically have a combination of the front splitter and rear diffuser. The front of the car is more traditional.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
FERRARI 812 COMPETIZIONE
Does internal combustion get much better than this?
‘Genny’ from the block heads beyond the inner city
LAMBORGHINI HURACAN STO
Rear-driven atmo V10 is given track focus
MINI COOPER S JCW SPORT
Is this nostalgic throwback just for looks?
DOLLARS AND SENSE
JCW has character but the numbers struggle to add up
CAYMAN 718 GT4 RS POWERS UP
Scorching 368kW GT4 RS model unleashed
WE GET BEHIND THE WHEEL OF THE MOST EXTREME ROAD-LEGAL FERRARI. BUT IS 735KW EVER USEABLE?
VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC R
Wolfsburg’s ready to rock with sporty SUV
GO-FAST WAGON OR A HYPED-UP SUV? BOTH ALFA AND AUDI OFFER UP TWO DIFFERENT FORMS OF PRAGMATIC PERFORMANCE
This is the bit right here for the power users of MOTOR. See, most think you win a year’s free subscription for penning Letter of the Month. Not so. You get 12 free editions of the world’s most exciting performance car magazine for directing a story about your worst in-car dining experience to the email address up there. Get to it!
OUT OF TIME
COVID FLIPPED THE AUTO INDUSTRY’S ‘JUST IN TIME’ APPROACH TO CAR MANUFACTURING ON ITS HEAD
How Toyota Dodged The Chip Shortage
As rivals shutter plants, the automaker’s close monitoring of its supply chain gives it an edge
AUTO INDUSTRY BRACES FOR MORE CHIP SHORTAGES AFTER FIRE
A fire at a plant owned by Japanese chipmaker Renesas could deepen the ongoing global semiconductor shortage that has especially hampered automobile production.
A Long, Tough Road to Glory
KEEP ON TRUCKING
NOT EVEN A PANDEMIC CAN STOP AMERICA'S LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE PICKUP TRUCK
THE BARN-BURNER IN CORN-COUNTRY
A 14-CLASS TRUCK AND TRACTOR PULL IN THE LAND OF LINCOLN
Trend 12.20:Nissan Z Proto
FIRST LOOK A heritage-rich preview of the 400Z
As the new Z Proto was revealed (page 14), we interviewed Nissan Motor design boss Alfonso Albaisa, who has spent his entire career at Nissan and oversees design for the Nissan, Infiniti, and Datsun brands.
THE Z-CAR A TO Z
50 Years of Nissan’s Quintessential Sports Car
AUTOart 1969 Nissan Fairlady Z432
The first specialty Z had the heart of a GT-R