New prototype rules aim to keep cars grounded



The design of Le Mans prototypes will be tweaked again for 2012 in an attempt to further safeguard against cars taking off.

A new rule communicated to the teams by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest at Le Mans will mandate an opening at the top of each wheel arch, replacing the existing louvres at the front. These cut-outs, into which a template measuring 200 x 250mm must fit, will mean that the top of the tyre will be visible through a hole.

The theory is that these holes will vent the wheel arches, which become high-pressure areas in the event of a car going sideways.

The latest rule change follows an increase in ride height introduced for LMP1 and LMP2 machinery in September, and results from an investigation launched by the FIA in the wake of two aerial incidents suffered by Peugeot in the lead-up to the season. New 908s driven by Marc Gené and Nicolas Minassian both took off despite the introduction of the shark’s fin for 2011.