Friday, October 2, 2009

Audi R15 to require only minor modifications

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Audi will have to make only minor modifications to its R15 TDI for the controversial turbodiesel-powered prototype to be eligible for next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Rule guidelines issued this week for 2010 by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest--the Le Mans Organizer--suggest a compromise designed to reduce the effectiveness of the Audi's radical front end without forcing the German manufacturer to undertake a major redesign. The move on the part of the ACO follows threats by Audi not to continue with its prototype program next year if it was forced to make major changes.

The revised regulations appear designed to peg back the effectiveness of the Audi's front end, which is effectively a two-plane wing under the nose. The rules limit the position and profile of the clearly visible flap, which works in conjunction with the front splitter to create downforce.

Audi rival Peugeot claimed that it had been offered “guarantees about clarification and application of the rules” when it dropped its protest against the Audi in July. Asked whether the new rules went against that agreement, Peugeot Sport technical director Bruno Famin replied: “Maybe.”

Famin attacked the ACO for not “going far enough” and failing to write rules that are “written in black and white.”

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