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View Full Version : Why don't LMP cars do sprint races in real life?



Indigo121
14-11-2016, 09:14
This might be a bit offtopic, but after reading about LMP cars on wikipedia it seems in reality they only do endurance racing, in series like the WEC, IMSA sportscars, European Le Mans series, etc.

Which makes sense of course, originally designed for Le Mans, etc. But they seem to be faster and more agile than GT cars, so why not shorter, non-endurance racing? Is it a matter of cost-effectiveness? There seems to be tons of open-wheel, GT and touring racing series around, but very few LMP racing done.

eiwhatsup
14-11-2016, 11:15
They're very expensive pieces of prototype hardware, dedicated only to endurance. Nothing more nothing less.

gregc
14-11-2016, 11:16
Traditionally prototypes are primarily designed for Le Mans, so if you are going to take them racing elsewhere it makes sense to put them in the type of race they were built for - endurance.

That said, depending how you define sprint racing, the UK Prototype Cup had it's inaugural race this year and will run a full season next year - should be 2 1-hour races per meeting (which is a sprint race for me at least), featuring LMP3 as the main class. LMP3 is seeing rapid take up at the moment and could well change the landscape of prototype racing.

hkraft300
14-11-2016, 13:20
What eiwhatsup said: they're very expensive bits of kit. They're also bloody fast the lmp1, so they're very limited in the tracks they can race on without clashing with MotoGP/F1.
Audi are dropping out of LMP1-H, leaving just Porsche 919+ Toyota TS050. LMP1-L is down to just 1 manufacturer and they're essentially LMP2 with minor changes and freedom of power trains.
They're also exclusive to ACO's WEC: other series/manufacturers themselves can't afford to race them regularly in sprints I imagine.

LMP2 however run in ELMS + ALMS (also IMSA?). They're cheaper to run, have a spec-gearbox and engine (Gibson V8) and the chassis aren't bespoke like the LMP1. Similar to LMP3, which I think will be a great class for Sprint + endurance.

Going back to P1 cars: all their PU, chassis and aero development have been towards endurance racing where reliability, fuel efficiency and tyre life are important factors.
Could they turn up the boost/battery outputs for Sprint races? Stick on softer tyres?
Probably, but at what cost? Further development!

Manufacturers are already struggling with the costs of maintaining LMP1-H, and the privateers don't have the funds to properly develop the LMP1-L cars. More races = more cost!

Jussi Viljami Karjalainen
14-11-2016, 13:55
It might interest you though that in the 80s there was more sprint type racing with prototypes. Various Group C related* cars like the Porsche 962 ran in IMSA back then, and a lot of the races were only about two hours long.

*Group C related because there were some differences, like for example IMSA didn't allow twin turbos so they had to be changed to use a single turbo, there was no emphasis on fuel economy, etc. Overall the cars were damn close though back then.

Indigo121
14-11-2016, 14:15
Thanks for your responses! Very interesting.

So if I understand correctly there just isn't much logic in doing sprint races with LMP cars. They are expensive to run, built for endurance, and open-wheelers are more suitable for shorter races, at a relatively cheaper cost. And already have large TV viewings. At least F1 and Indycar do.
That British LMP3 thing looks interesting though.

DreamsKnight
14-11-2016, 17:41
and a team has 3 driver. who drive the sprint race? :D

Jussi Viljami Karjalainen
14-11-2016, 17:45
The cost part mostly applies to P1 level cars. LMP2 and LMP3 cars, and other prototypes that don't fit exactly into either class, race in various race series which also include shorter races, like VdeV, Dutch Supercar, WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, etc. Being primarily customer cars intended for less professional teams and with cost capping involved (a new closed cockpit LMP2 car must cost under 500k€, so an LMP2 car is about the same price as a GT3 car, an LMP3 car can only cost a bit over 200k€ so is even cheaper), the lower prototype classes are well utilized in different types of racing around the world.

I don't know of any PURE sprint series though, i.e. something that only does really short races like DTM (races last something like 40 minutes), WTCC (they only did 3 laps @ Nürburgring combined layout) etc., but you can find them used for races from one and a half hours to two hours or so.

Then there are the even lighter prototypes of Group CN, which includes various cars like the Radical protos and others like them, which often do races of only 10-15 laps on short tracks.

Indigo121
14-11-2016, 18:32
I don't know of any PURE sprint series though, i.e. something that only does really short races like DTM (races last something like 40 minutes), WTCC (they only did 3 laps @ Nürburgring combined layout) etc., but you can find them used for races from one and a half hours to two hours or so.


Oh I meant regular, non-endurance races. Not necessarily very short.

Jussi Viljami Karjalainen
15-11-2016, 00:28
Oh I meant regular, non-endurance races. Not necessarily very short.Yeah, but that's a sliding scale. Some people consider two hour races that include a mandatory driver change, like some Super GT races, to be endurance races, other people don't count 6 hour races to be proper endurance races. =)