Rolex 24 HPD Silhouette 4508 900 506 80 cRACER's Marshall Pruett sat down with ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil (with Sebastian Bourdais, BELOW) shortly after the checkered flag fell on the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona, where the two discussed his first visit to the event, the ACO's ongoing relationship with IMSA, the manufacturers' meeting organized by the ACO in Florida that takes place today and, for the bulk of their 30-minute conversation, the direction for the common platform P2 car set to debut in 2017.

MARSHALL PRUETT: Great to see you, Vincent, especially after some delays getting here – is this your first time at the Rolex 24?

Le Mans natives Borudais and Beaumesnil after the Rolex 241VINCENT BEAUMESNIL: Yes, I only got to see a little bit of the race. I spent quite a lot of time in the pits visiting the teams because I know all those guys. Also we have a good discussion with our friends at IMSA. I am a little disappointed; I had to arrive last night because I had very important meetings in France on Friday so I couldn't fly before. It is a fantastic experience. It is another world, but it is a 24-hour race. Very interesting.

MP: Speaking of IMSA, how is the relationship going from your perspective under the new united organization?

VB: We are very happy that we continue the partnership we started with Don Panoz and now we continue this partnership with our friends of NASCAR with Jim France and those guys. We have a very constructive way to work. It's a real partnership. I think it's important. We can build something strong together. They are the reference in the U.S. They have a strong championship; we build something else around the world and Le Mans. And we have common interests in many areas. I think it is really the way we want to work together.

MP: You're here to lead the second meeting regarding the 2017 global P2 regulations, which IMSA has confirmed it will adopt. I spoke with GM Racing director Mark Kent on Friday, and he expressed his desire to come away from Tuesday's meeting with a clearer view of what those regulations will contain, and whether it would be something a GM or other manufacturers would want to follow. Is it possible to make that much progress on Tuesday?

VB: Definitely. I mean, it's always something heavy to organize such a meeting, having people traveling from all over the world to come here. We did the first meeting in September in Paris. Now it was time to come here in the U.S. To be clear, the first meeting was not as productive as we expected. Also because it was the first meeting, I think that people come more to look what is happening and listen what's happening than to say what they really want. But we had some indications.

Now the second meeting for us is clearly the time to put on the table what are the real options we have in front of us. Get the feedback from the manufacturers. Their reaction. And it is really the time for everybody to put on the table really what they have in their mind based on what kind of options we should suggest. From there, we, the ACO, FIA and IMSA are working together to build this car. For me it's difficult to say where we will be Tuesday evening, but I'm really hoping that we will have a clear view, because then the time is short after.

MP: Everyone gets very busy with the new WEC season and IMSA's calendar taking off, and Le Mans on the horizon, too, etc. From discussions so far, there's an interesting difference in the future desires for the P2 class. In Europe, it's a privateer class, by rule, yet in America, with DPs and P2s combined in a single class right now, the 2017 car would need to accommodate factories and privateers because we do not have a P1 class for manufacturers to compete. How do you address different – regional – needs with a global car?

VB: First, we all believe, IMSA, ACO, FIA and the manufacturers and the teams, we all believe that having a new global car is good for the future of the series. We have to make it properly, for sure. We don't have exactly the same approach with this car in here, in Europe, because here there is also some ambition to attract some money for manufacturers with this prototype and we don't have this ambition in Europe because the LMP1 category is dedicated to OEMs and LMP2 is dedicated to private teams. But we share so many, many other targets about the cost of the car, the close competition, and about the way the car has to achieve that. I am pretty sure that we will find common ground. Now we will spend some time with the manufacturers and see what goes on. Tuesday we definitely need to make progress.

cv 15MP: The most common desire I hear mentioned in America is the ability to make custom bodywork for the 2017 car, similar to what Ford and Chevy have done with their DPs. Is this reasonable from the ACO's perspective, and if so, how would you balance these P2 bodies from IMSA to be used at Le Mans if an American team comes over to race in France? It seems like a BoP headache.

VB: I'm really not in the position to answer this question because you have so many ways to do that. For sure, Le Mans is the place where everybody will come to race for maybe the most important race of the year, I would say. Even if Daytona and Sebring, Petit Le Mans are also very, very important. All these races are very important. But Le Mans is maybe special.

If we have something different here in the USA, then the concept of balancing is entering the discussion, and our mission is not to balance the car. It's a question that needs to be asked and discussed. I'm not in a position to say if it is OK or not. It depends on what everyone wants to do. It is not easy to answer this now.

When people say they want to have the ability to customize the bodywork, what does this mean? Is it just a flat area to put manufacturer stickers or is it a complete engine cover? It's not the same thing. We need to know more on this.

MP: Another major question for 2017 involves the eligibility of the new P2 coupes like the Ligier and HPD. Manufacturers have spent a considerable amount to make the cars; teams have spent a lot to buy them, and I know there's a concern those coupes might be obsolete two years from now. Can you tell me if you expect the new coupes to be part of the 2017 solution – possibly grandfathered in?

VB: First thing is we want something global, we want to reduce the cost of the car, and we want to make it a little bit faster. We think it is possible. So now we must decide one day there must be a change to achieve that. So we can say it is never time to do it, but at some stage you must say, OK, it will be '17. We announced that quite a long time ago. So the manufacturers have decided anyway to make new cars. It is their decision, we never pushed anybody to make new cars, and we said there will be a new car in '17. We don't want to be enforced by manufacturers who say, 'Oh, we have a new car so now you need to take our cars.' You knew that we were making a new car in '17. You decided to make it today, OK, but you already knew we would change in '17.

But clearly, yes, one strong option is to have continuity in the chassis rules with LMP2, LMP1, common rules we have today, which I think are very good rules, especially in terms of safety. For sure, we will consider that. But for the rest, we will see in the rest of the discussion what we decide on many aspects. The engine rules will have a big impact on this. We have also in mind that some additional devices, in terms of safety, could be implemented in the car. At this stage, yes, if we can help them with keeping their new cars to compete, this we will do. But this must not stop the work in progress to have the best compromise.

MP: You've also had a separate P2 engine committee meeting on the best direction to go in 2017. I've heard the requirement for production-based engines could become an option, rather than a requirement, too.

VB: In the engines, we have many options in front of us. Something we know today is that it is the same cost to develop a full race engine and a production-based engine, or to start from zero to make a proper race engine. It's not cheaper to use a production-based engine. This is something we know.

We can continue with the engines we have now, production-based, like the Nissan, the Honda, the others. We can open to other kinds of race engines, proper race engines. From there you can have options. You can decide to make a standard single definition of engine. It is also here, I expect Tuesday to have more feedback on this. Also because our American partners have some targets and the engine approach has to be discussed more for the moment. It's more today a question of targets than telling what kind of engine. And the targets are to reduce the cost, to make it last longer, and to produce more power because we want to increase the performance. So this is clearly the targets we have.

Then, for sure in the U.S., probably they would prefer to have more different engines to attract manufacturers. In Europe, with privateers, maybe this approach is not so relevant.

Rolex 24 Soul Red Mazda 4519 640 360 80 cMP: If the ACO is open to purebred racing engines and production-based units in P2 – a nice change, I must admit – are there any limits being placed on the 2017 specification, or is it wide open?

VB: We already told them there is no future for diesel in P2. Balancing this is just a nightmare. We cannot go in that direction. If you start in a category like that in which we try to control the cost, close competition, everything, someone comes with the diesel with the support of the manufacturer, and it changes too much for everybody. They win the race and everybody will say it's because the diesel has an advantage. The diesel is for P1. In P2, we make the same rule for everyone. Makes life more simple.

MP: Timeline for announcing the 2017 rules is the last major question that needs to be solved. Depending on the size of the manufacturer – engine or chassis – some will need as much time as possible to ready new products. I'd think Le Mans in June would be a natural place to unveil the 2017 P2 regs, but can't say if all of the feedback and research will be done in time to present the findings.

VB: Announcing something at Le Mans is maybe a bit ambitious considering that we are in January and, OK, we will see what comes out from Tuesday's meeting. In any case, at the end of this year, we must have a set of rules which are quite advanced. Yes, we would like to have the guidelines defined by June and have to work on the details of the rules in the summer, September, October... But it is really important that, in any case, by June we have the guidelines and, I would say, the main information the manufacturer, constructor, needs to have to start the study of his car, because it also makes part of the stability of FIA rules.

When you make new rules it must be 18 months before the season. Technical rules must be adopted six months in June the year before if you make just update rules, but if you make new rules it is 18 months. It is what we are targeting.​

01272015 WatchRolex24 1680x651Watch the full race broadcast from the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona

Re-live the thrilling moments from the season-opening 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. All 24 hours of FOX Sports and overnight coverage can be streamed on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship YouTube channel, as well as with the embedded videos below.

In addition, you can listen to all 24 hours of IMSA Radio coverage, a co-production with Radio Show Limited, on HERE

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

MX5lead RichardCoburnaLooking to make the leap from weekend warrior to professional racer? The jump may not be as big as you think.

It takes big money and a lot of manpower to fund a competitive entry in most professional racing series. The 2015 SCCA Pro Racing Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, however, tends to buck the system and is one of the best bangs for the buck if you're looking to take your racing to the next level.

The 2015 MX-5 Cup series is visiting legendary racing venues during its six-weekend, 12-race season, which supports the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, IndyCar, and the NASCAR XFINITY Series. All great opportunities for aspiring career races, and great memory makers for the casual competitor who wants to try the series on as it visits their home track.

While it's still possible for privateer racers to make it in MX-5 Cup, those with the most experience generally wind up on the top step. Going it alone at the professional level can be an uphill battle, but this series has affordable options. Many of the top teams offer season long arrive and drive packages for those wishing to chase the championship and the lucrative Mazdaspeed Ladder bonus, while other teams offer one-off weekend rentals if they have an open car, allowing potential competitors to sample the series as it visits their favorite track.

"Having come from a husband/wife team, grass-roots effort many years ago, there is a lot to be said for going at it alone," says Ara Malkhassian, owner of 2014 championship winning Alara Racing. "There is certainly a lot of satisfaction and pride in doing your own work. On the other hand, it is very time consuming to perform all the different aspects of preparation at a pro racing event, and there are elements that simply cannot exist in that environment."

The logistics of a professional racing weekend differ from typical club level weekends, and it can be exhausting for a small team. "The level of preparation on a pro team is completely different," Malkhassian explains. "We have dedicated resources for car maintenance, chassis setup and engineering, driver coaching and data management, fuel management, tire management, etc. It's a level of professionalism that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

"Being able to let the driver focus on driving without distractions is a huge plus. That, combined with having several teammates to work with towards improving lines, braking points, comparing setup changes with, etc., all add up to create a complete experience that gives our clients their best opportunity to achieve their racing goals."

MX5 SeanRiceIf you already own an MX-5 Cup car, you don't have to go it alone; some teams offer trackside support programs tailored to fit your needs and budget. Privateer MX-5 Cup competitor Steve Bottom was a one-time regular to the series, but now frequents only select rounds; he has seen the benefits of trackside support first hand with his privately owned MX-5 Cup racecar.

"By paying one of the big teams, I tap into their knowledge base," says Bottom. "They know how to set up the car. They know what the baseline shock setting and alignment cross weights should be for a particular track. Then, over the weekend, they will be fine-tuning everything, from the amount of gas to camber to ride height. I get the tire engineering support from the BFGoodrich Tires engineers, and am able to give their tire temps and pressures to the team, and the team adjusts the car accordingly."

2014 MX-5 Cup season runner up John Dean II tells us his Sick Sideways team has one seat open for the 2015 season, with a price tag of $83,000. When you look at the demands on your time and resources needed to tow to the events around the country, an MX-5 Cup arrive and drive, season-long program may provide the value you are looking for.

To find MX-5 Cup teams offering rentals or trackside support, visit, and for the latest in racing action from the 2015 MX-5 Cup series, or news on upcoming Global MX-5 Cup series, visit

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Red Bull has given itself the shortest build-time yet for a new Formula 1 car, after electing to lock down its final 2015 design as late as it possibly could.

With the first pre-season test kicking off at Jerez in Spain on Sunday, Red Bull's new Renault-powered challenger has only just begun construction at its Milton Keynes, UK base. That move comes after design chiefs were given the green light to maximize development time on the car to ensure the team did not let any opportunity go to waste in its bid to topple Mercedes.

Team principal Christian Horner said during a Red Bull media event in Milton Keynes on Tuesday that, although there was no danger of missing the first test, things were still pretty fraught at the factory to get the car finished and shipped to Spain.

When asked if the car was ready to run, he said: "Not yet. The car is flat out in to car build at the moment. It's probably the shortest production and assembly in our previous 10 seasons.

"It is unbelievable what the factory have turned around so far. But still there is plenty to do before Sunday."

Horner said he was encouraged by the wind tunnel data that had been produced for the new car, as Red Bull prepares to have a smoother pre-season than the disaster it endured in 2014.

"After the first test last year, hopefully this one cannot be any worse than that," he said. "I think we managed about four laps over four days and car would either stop on track or set on fire."

"It has been a far more positive winter compared to last year. We know where the benchmark is and what we need to achieve. As the team continues to evolve and grow, it has been I think the most impressive winter we have had as a team.

"That is in terms of everything coming together - in terms of the car being produced in the shortest time ever, and the design hitting all their deadlines and targets."



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ABOVE: FOX Sports' Danielle Trotta talks to NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France about a number of topics for the upcoming 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season, including Jeff Gordon's big announcement and the search for a new title sponsor.

CMS Media Tour France 012615NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Monday afternoon that the new format for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup adopted last year will remain unchanged for 2015.

France (RIGHT), speaking at the kickoff event for the 2015 Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, said the sanctioning body is coming off "perhaps our greatest Chase and certainly in recent memory. A lot of excitement, a lot of momentum."

Last year was the first time NASCAR used the expanded format for the Chase, with a field of 16 drivers, three elimination rounds that knocked out four drivers each, and a winner-take-all, season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"It's overwhelmingly popular with our most important stakeholder, the fans," said France of the Chase. " ... They like the fact that it tightened up competition. They liked the drama down the stretch. They like the emphasis on winning. And one of the things they told us that they really liked is the idea that we weren't going to change anything. And they strongly suggested that we didn't. And we're not going to."

France said he received good suggestions on Chase tweaks – including from drivers who were eliminated early on and thought the Chase drivers should have their own points system.

"One of the magical parts of this Chase – and we want to make sure we keep it this way – is the simplicity of it," said France. "Win and you're in."

One change this year will occur on pit road, where NASCAR will use a series of 46 high-definition cameras to detect violations such as too many crew members over the pit wall or pitting outside the box. The cameras feed into computers, with NASCAR officials inside a trailer able to approve or override penalties the cameras detect. The cameras will also feed data to NASCAR's broadcast partners, race teams and fans.

"We think it's a game-changer," said NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell.

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IndyCar2018jGordon Kimball, the respected designer whose cars won at Indianapolis and in Formula 1, goes to the IndyCar races these days as a spectator to cheer on son Charlie, Chip Ganassi Racing driver. But the man whose Wildcat captured the exciting 1982 Indy 500 with Gordon Johncock behind the wheel and who, alongside John Barnard, also played a major role in the Chaparral 2K many successful McLaren and Ferrari Formula 1 cars of the 1980s, has some definite thoughts about IndyCar’s future. He shared them with RACER’s Robin Miller.

KImball portrait

RACER: How do you regard today’s Verizon IndyCar Series?
GK: We have as good a racing series as there is in the world, maybe the best in terms of the quality of the racing. We just don’t have the number fans we should. We need to work on what makes people come to races, what makes people watch races on television, and how we get more of them.

A lot of people seem to think innovation is the answer.
As an engineer, I agree we would be better off with racecar diversification and technology on show. But there are risks in different cars and technology. First, I don’t know if we can afford it yet. What we have right now is very cost efficient. We have incredible races. For the quality of racing, the dollars are well spent. Second, it will inevitably mean some teams have little or no chance of winning when they are on the short end of an innovation. After so many years of spec cars, everyone involved enjoys a pretty equal chance of winning. That was not the case in the “good old days.” Are we really ready to go back to that?”

Does the racing look too safe or too easy?
It looks too easy, for sure. It is too hard to see the driver’s skill. Running flat and on the limit at Indianapolis takes enormous skill and courage, but from the outside, the car looks like it is on rails. The fans get no sense of the challenges the driver is facing unless he crashes, which is expensive and puts the race on pause. Watching a driver get a little Kimball Helio sidewayssideways puts their skill on display. Let’s have more power and less downforce and get back to where the fans can see the driver’s skill. But it does not mean it has to be less safe.

Will a “new track record” at Indy bring back the masses?
I don’t think we need to run 240 or 250mph to entertain the fans at Indy. Big numbers are great but it’s a road to nowhere. Every year the speeds have to go up to be “better” than the year before. The crashes will get bigger and more expensive and the safety issues will become exponentially more expensive to overcome. It is not necessary. A car sliding through a turn at 180mph makes a much better show than a car on rails at 240. And it is much safer for the drivers and the fans. Big speed numbers do not make a good show.”

But no going back to skinny tires and front-engine cars?
You cannot un-ring the technology bell. You can’t go backwards. We always remember the good parts of the good old days. Really, they weren’t all that great. Drivers were regularly hurt or killed. Only a few drivers and teams had a realistic chance of winning. Everyone was scratching for money. Do we really want to go back to that?”

ABOVE: Helio Castroneves getting it sideways at Long Beach, 2014 (LAT image).
BELOW: Start of the 1959 Indianapolis 500 (IMS image).

Kimball 1959 Indy500start

Kimball Wildcat

ABOVE: Gordon Johncock in Gordon Kimball's Wildcat design. Johncock would go on to win the 1982 Indy 500 in the Patrick Racing-run machine, and added triumphs at Milwaukee and Michigan. (IMS image).
BELOW: Gordon's son, Charlie at Mid-Ohio 2014, where he won in ’13.
(LAT image)
BOTTOM: "Fanbase" needs to be the key word for IndyCar, according to G.Kimball. (LAT image)


Let’s put you in charge of IndyCar rules right now.
My mindset is about how do we go faster under the rules instead of what should the rules be. I’m ill-equipped to work on the rules-making side. However, if money was not an issue, technology and innovation would be great. But technology is not cheap. Look at the aero kits: to do them well has probably cost each manufacturer millions of dollars in design and testing alone. As an engineer, I would love open rules. But for now let’s take measured steps. We’ve got to make sure each step grows the series and not cripples it with unsustainable costs.”

What if you were an engineer today on an IndyCar?
I’d have no interest. There is nothing creative you can do other than the body kits. But that is pretty much the norm in racing now. Other than Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship, everything else is spec because of cost. That’s just life.

Are there areas to explore right now that aren’t too expensive?
I do not know about the “too expensive part,” but suspension is the next obvious area to Kimball MidO Charlieopen up to innovation. Maybe you could get technology companies like Boeing or SpaceX to build uprights, then make them available to everyone at a reasonable cost like the aero kits. That’s not a bad model.

The general concern right now seems to be the same one Indy car racing had in the late 1970s – other than the Indy 500, the series has mostly become a host of races nobody attends or follows. Is that too harsh?
It is too harsh…or maybe just too cynical. We have plenty of very successful races besides the Indy 500. St. Pete, Barber Motorsports Park, Long Beach, Mid-Ohio and Detroit come to mind. Still, I can’t believe how many people come up to me months after the Indianapolis 500 and say: “I saw Charlie’s race – [meaning the Indy 500] – what’s he doing now?” They have no idea he races 16 more times across the country. IndyCar’s No. 1 priority should be marketing and promotion. We have fantastic racing. Obviously that is not enough today. We need to do a better job engaging and satisfying the fans.

What are your thoughts on the current race schedule?
It makes absolutely no sense to be a marketing machine that shuts down for six months a year. It defies logic. I can’t see how the teams are convincing sponsors to pay the same amount for six months of marketing that they used to pay for nine. And what about disappearing from our fan base for six months a year? Tell me how that makes any sense at all? If the television ratings are the Holy Grail, then get all the races on network television where everyone can watch. We need to be strong and aggressive in marketing IndyCar, not running and hiding the minute we face competition.

Final thoughts…
In spite of our self-inflicted wounds, there’s still huge value in IndyCar – we’ve just got to start un-locking it. We have to do a better job than we did 10-15 years ago because there is so much more competition nowadays. Roger Penske is right. The first thing we have to do is stop fighting among ourselves. Then we have to have a goal and a strategic plan. The goal has to be to build IndyCar by giving the fans more reasons to attend races or to watch on television or their portable electronic devices. Fanbase, fanbase, fanbase – it is the only thing that matters. without it we are nothing. More fans will mean more marketing value. More marketing value means more dollars for the promoters, the teams and the drivers. But most of all, everyone involved has to want to fix it, and be willing to take the steps necessary to make it better.

Kimball Detroit crowd

Lotus E23 2015

The digital renderings released by Lotus of its 2015 E23 Formula 1 car (scroll down for larger images) allow us to already make some observations about the new challenger.

Every new car this year will be assessed on its nose shape due to the new nose tip rules. Lotus has evolved the 2015-style nose it tested late last year to create a short narrow nose. This shapes the two mandatory cross sections into the narrowest and highest possible shape to allow the maximum airflow around and under the nose.

Rather than creating a thumb-like tip to the nose, instead there is a step under it, which is similar to Lotus (then Renault) nose cones from 2009-'10. This should work in coordination with the front wing section to create some downforce.

Although further rules for the area around the front end were designed to create a sloping front to the chassis, Lotus appears to have faired this in and created a high flat top to the chassis.

Lotus E23 2015

This height is visually exacerbated by the low-mounted front suspension, where the top wishbone and pushrod are not mounted as high as we have seen on the Williams, for example, which could be an effort to create more mechanical grip at the front of the car.

Aside from the novelty of the new nose, it's the roll hoop inlets that catch the eye: the usual airbox inlet is flanked by two additional inlets.

The bulbous shape of the engine cover behind suggests they are ducts to feed an oil cooler mounted beside the engine, a solution adopted by Toro Rosso last year and planned by Marussia for this year. Lotus had the base plates for these inlets fitted to its car late last year but the inlets were never affixed to them.

Having coolers mounted this way means the sidepods can be smaller, although the bodywork looks bulkier on the new Lotus as it features two large exits in a similar style to McLaren's 2014 car. Allied to the roll hoop inlets this creates a narrower sidepod low down, which frees up airflow over the diffuser for more downforce.

Inside this engine cover is the Mercedes power unit, a first for the team, having always had strong links with Renault, dating back to the Benetton days. Running this power unit already gives the team a huge performance step from 2014, which was a year to forget for the team.

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Force India 2015 livery launch

With Formula 1's 2015 cars set to hit the track at Jerez this weekend, attention will soon be on the critical details of these new challengers.

The limited imagery we have seen of the 2015 cars so far points to the noses being the only major change in the car designs for this year. However, teams will still be plotting their response to the domination of Mercedes in 2014 and there is plenty to look out for on both the chassis and power units.

Here are the key influences that will shape the technical battleground in 2015:


The key visual difference to the 2014 cars will be the nose. Last year's nose tip regulations proved controversial thanks to the ugly designs they spawned – be they fingers, U-shapes or even the Lotus twin tusk.

As well as the bad aesthetics, the FIA's fear that slim nose tip sections were not ideal for crash protection prompted a 2015 rethink. Now the rules require not only a low nose tip of minimum cross section (9,000mm2), but another legality section over twice as large (20,000mm2) another 100mm behind it.

Along with limits on how the nose tapers back to the chassis and how sloped the front of the chassis can be, the rules were supposed to ensure far more attractive, low wedge-shaped noses. However, the 2015 Williams graphic, plus the nose that Force India showed at its livery launch, point toward there still being a stub on the cars.

The new nose section near the front wing has a big aero impact, initially losing some 60 points of downforce from the blockage it creates.

For teams, the debate will be over long or short noses. Lotus tested a short nose late last year, but most teams are likely to opt for a longer nose with the tip sitting ahead of the front wing center section.

How the teams shape these two legality sections will vary, though. It is likely most will shrink the nose shape to a minimum creating a short thumb-like extension to the nose. It will be interesting to see if anyone can come up an inventive solution within the very tight wording of the rules.

1417084720POWER UNITS

Development of the power unit – combustion engine, turbo, energy recovery systems (ERS) and battery – was a key technical battleground in 2014. Clearly Mercedes made the best job of the new formula.

Catching up will be difficult, with the gap to be closed estimated to be around 50hp. But matters have been eased by the FIA allowing the use of development tokens throughout 2015.

A key feature of the Mercedes power unit was its split turbo, where the air compressor was mounted at the front of the engine and the hotter exhaust turbine at the rear. They were linked by a shaft. This setup had benefits in terms of cooling and turbo lag, but most importantly allowed a very large compressor to be used for more power from the combustion engine. Turbo lag was managed by both wastegate, pop-off valves and the ERS-H.

It is likely teams will want to exploit this larger compressor concept, but not necessarily via a complex split turbo. Honda has a split turbo setup on its V6.

Aside from this key area, new for 2015 is the allowance of movable inlet trumpets, a feature not seen since the mid 2000s. These are normally used to boost mid-range power and smooth any dips in the power curve, although the current generation of power units are already strong in this area.




With nearly every other parameter, such as tires and engines, closed to individual team development, aerodynamics remains the key area that a team can directly influence its own performance.

Last year's nose and wing changes did little to prevent the relentless increase in downforce. For 2015, only the nose regulation will affect aero, so the rest of the car's bodywork surfaces can continue to be twisted into ever more effective aerodynamic shapes.

The winter power unit development is likely to require that even more heat is shed from a car, so teams will have to incorporate more cooling and larger sidepods. However, the key development area is likely to be the front wing, especially the mounting pylons. Look out also for the nose turning vanes that direct airflow around the back of the car.

At the rear, there will be more complex diffusers, with less intrusion from the boat-tail center section and more vanes separating the volume under the rear of the car.

Mercedes was one of the few teams to incorporate the rear monkey seat winglet into the exhaust, so this is also going to be a probable development direction.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, F1 2014


Running the front of an F1 car as close to the ground as possible has been a key feature since 2009. This lowers the front wing, which creates a ground effect scenario, and raises the rear of the car to create a larger space under the diffuser.

The limit in doing this though was in keeping the front "tea-tray" splitter off the ground, in order to reduce the wearing away of the plank and skid blocks.

Teams developed hydraulically linked suspension, known as FRIC (Front-to-Rear Inter-Connected), to manage the front ride height under braking. This system used passive hydraulics to keep the front propped up under braking and reduce plank wear. Although this was banned mid-season in 2014, teams continued to run complex hydraulic suspension but without the front to rear connections.

For 2015, teams will have had time to develop and incorporate similar complex hydraulics optimized to manage front ride height without the banned interconnections, although the mandatory use this year of titanium skid blocks that wear away quickly will ensure they take extra care with ride height.

The detail of these systems will take some time to surface, but it will be a key focus for the teams.



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motor3aMoTeC has already awarded two deserving winners their brilliant Color Display Kits in rounds one and two of its Custom Screen Design Competition, and now its third and final round is drawing to a close.




Our 1st round winner created a slick ‘street’ design with day and night appeal. The 2nd round winner refined a clever ‘open’ design full of chiseled detail.


Simply use MoTeC’s free Display Creator application to design your ultimate screen graphics and you could WIN your very own C125 color Display. It comes in a race-ready, plug-in kit complete with data logging and the Display Creator upgrade. Prize value $4,137*!

MoTeC’s Custom Screen Design Competition is completely free and all you need is a PC and internet connection. Entrants can create layouts for one or more of the following categories:

  • Race
  • Street
  • Open

Each category has Design Criteria to keep graphics practical and realistic, but it’s easy to comply because there are templates ready to go with all the essential channels.

Getting started:

  1. Simply download MoTeC’s Display Creator software and the Competition Templates from the website.
  2. You might like to watch MoTeC’s special Display Creator Competition webinar for a few beginner’s tips at
  3. Then it’s time to start experimenting. There is an online Gallery with some ideas, or find inspiration with your own photos, illustrations and artistic flair.
  4. Entries are made via the website, where you’ll also find a few handy pointers about file size, fonts and more.

A judging panel will choose our final winner and nominate finalists to be awarded VIP Tickets entitling them to a 20% discount on a C125 Race Logging Kit with Display Creator Upgrade.

Plus, all winners and selected finalists will have their Display Creator projects named after them and made available for download via the MoTeC website.

For full details on the competition and Terms and Conditions:



For any queries please email

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