This image of Lola’s 2011 open-top LMP2 contender (below) reveals the dramatic effect that the addition of a F1 -style shark fin will have on the next generation of prototype machinery.
The shark fin is being introduced across the prototype classes under Le Mans rules as a result of an aerodynamic study commissioned by the FIA in the wake of a series of aerial accidents in the first half of 2008. The study, undertaken by Delta Motorsport in the UK, resulted in a rule that mandates a giant ﬁn which is required to have a minimum visible area of three square metres when viewed from the side.
Nick Carpenter, who led the computational ﬂuid dynamics study at Delta, said the extreme size of the ﬁn ensured it worked on different designs of car, both open- and closed-top.
The ﬁn is designed to prevent a car taking off in the event of it going sideways. It works by creating a build-up of high pressure on the bodywork, which counteracts any rolling motion.
Lola has revealed that it is producing both open and closed designs to the new cost-cap regulations.