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Peugeot 1-2 At Rain Shortened Petit Le Mans

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On: Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 10:32AM | By: John Welch

Peugeot 1-2 At Rain Shortened Petit Le Mans

When I was growing up, my taste in Christmas presents was usually fairly predictable. My parents would begin asking what I wanted around Thanksgiving, even though the answer was the same for a solid ten years. Go Cart! All I wanted in the world was the freedom to tear around our neighborhood in my own go cart, and every year the response to my answer would be "we'll see". And every year I'd wake up at dawn, run to where ever 'Santa' had positioned his offerings. And every year I'd get a bunk bed. (They didn't actually buy a new bunk bed every year, but that’s the present that made me stop asking for a go cart.)

Looking over this young blog, it seems I may have been a tad excited about the Petit Le Mans. That’s putting it mildly. I've lost sleep over it. I planned my entire weekend around it. I got my hopes up. Every single time I ever get my hopes up about anything, be it a go cart or 10 hours of Diesel-Prototype carnage; something goes wrong, and I am left broken hearted and disenfranchised.

Needless to say, the Petit was a complete disappointment. While certainly not the fault of the teams or the organizers, the race was canceled after four and half hours, handing the victory to Peugeot under a yellow Caution Flag. Dyson Racing took the LMP2 trophy for Lola and Mazda, and the Risi Competitzione Ferrari F430 took the GT2 win. These results were based solely on recent pit stops, and can't be used to accurately guess what the results might have been had they run the entire ten hours. I'd love to get all mad and say they could have restarted the race, but honestly, half the track was under water. Even with rain tires and traveling at pace-lap speeds, prototypes and GT cars were spinning out left and right before the red flag was thrown. There is no fighting Nature, so while there is little to discuss, there is also little to be bitter about. Hopefully the teams visiting for Europe (Audi, Peugeot, ORECA,) will feel unfulfilled and sign up to run the entire ALMS schedule, with Drayson Racing (confirmed Friday) in 2010.

Source: The American Le Mans Series

Not much to talk about regarding the actual race, but plenty of astounding things happened during the week leading up to the Petit. One of those instances involved the complete destruction and subsequent rebirth of the Patron Highcroft Acura ARX-02a (quite a mouthful!). Scott Sharp was unharmed after clipping a GT2 Porsche and flipping several times, but his car was obliterated. Below are the statistics and time tables associated with getting the ARX-02a on the grid for Saturday's race . . .

(Courtesy of Patron Highcroft Acura:)

Acura ARX-02a Repair Statistics:

Chassis mechanical parts: 4000
Chassis electrical parts: 250
Engine parts: 100 (excluding internals of engine)
Gearbox parts: 350
Parts with tracked life: 1000 (excluding internals of engine)
Custom hardware (fasteners, o-rings, bearings): 450

Rebuild Statistics:
Parts reused: about 10%

Rebuild Timeline (times are when tasks were completed, unless otherwise noted)

3:43 PM - Accident
4:15 PM – Damaged assessment finished
4:45 PM – Spare part serial numbers allocated for car build
5:00 PM – Finalized arrangements to ship spare tub
6:00 PM – Spare tub picked up by freight service in California
6:45 PM – Damaged car stripped, reusable parts identified
11:00 PM – Replacement parts prepared and arranged for assembly
12:00 AM – Team back to hotel

7:10 AM – Spare tub arrives at Atlanta airport, met by team members
7:30 AM – Breakfast
8:00 AM – Begin preparation for car build, organize and layout assemblies
9:30 AM – Spare, bare tub arrives at track
11:00 AM – Tub preparation finished
12:00 PM - Lunch
11:30 PM - Fresh engine fitted
1:30 PM - Fresh gearbox fitted
6:00 PM - Dinner
8:00 PM – Four corners fitted on car
9:00 PM – Race spare preparation begins
11:45 PM – Hydraulic/fuel/electronic systems tested
1:00 AM – Engine fired
4:30 AM – Car on ground
5:45 AM – Set up finished
6:45 AM – Race strategy meeting
8:15 AM – Warmup / Practice Session

Crash Statistics:

Just before impact:
Speed: 225 kph (140 mph)
Throttle: 100% (Full)
Lateral acceleration: 1.5g
Gear: 6th (Top gear)
Location: Before turn 2

During collision:
Car did a full rotation every 1.3 seconds
Peak acceleration > 15g
From impact to stop: 6.2 seconds

. . . Pure insanity. Human ingenuity and determination seem to have no limits. To completely rebuild this car and take accurate data on the process is amazing. If only they had any chance of beating the diesels. Maybe next year, assuming the diesels all return to the ALMS. Here's hoping . . .

Source: Speedtv.com

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