Le Mans 2021 Hypercar Class Comparison
The new FIA Le Mans Hypercar class is quite different from the previous LMP1 category. Besides significant cost reductions for race teams, the new rules allow the cars to be larger and provide more design freedom. Here are the three Hypercar types that will compete in the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Glickenhaus’ SCG 007 Hypercar enters Le Mans for the first time
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus is a maker of boutique sports cars and off-road vehicles, as well as a competitor in the Nürburgring Endurance Series. For its first 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team will field two all-new SCG 007 Hypercars. Podium Advanced Technologies designed the chassis, while Pipo Moteurs engineered a proprietary 3.5-liter twin-turbo V8 for the cars. The powertrain design is based on Pipo’s successful four-cylinder motors from the World Rally Championship.
“Pipo has made the most spectacular four-cylinder single-turbo WRC engine in the world,” Glickenhaus told Sportscar365. “It is a beautiful engine and their dream, like mine, is to go to Le Mans and win. Together, they proposed that they would build two of their WRC motors, put them in a common block with a flat-plane crank, and we would have a V8 that can make 870 hp.”
For the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the boosted V8 will be restricted to the 600 hp range, per FIA Hypercar regulations. Per Last Lap, SCG 007’s gearbox is a seven-speed Xtrac sequential unit that sends power only to the rear wheels.
The Alpine A480 is all-motor
Originally designed for the now-defunct LMP1 class, the A480 marks Alpine’s first foray into the top prototype category at Le Mans. Per Racecar Engineering, the Rebellion R13-based chassis came from established racing constructor Oreca. Powering the carbon fiber shell is a naturally-aspirated Gibson 4.5-liter V8 with a Cosworth ECU and Xtrac six-speed gearbox.
According to the manufacturer, Gibson Technology, the aluminum-block motor only weighs 119 kg (262 lbs). For Le Mans, it will be set up to produce 625 horsepower with a redline of 8400 RPM. It’s worth mentioning that Gibson’s motor does not use direct fuel injection, opting instead for a conventional port injection setup.
“Motorsport is inseparable from Alpine,” said Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine. “After eight successful years [in LMP2], it is now time to join the top category as the brand makes a new start. The regulations’ evolution offers us the opportunity to express our passion, demonstrate our technical know-how, and our experience in a fair and cost-effective framework.”
Toyota Gazoo Racing has a new GR010 Hybrid
Toyota Gazoo Racing is the team to beat in 2021, having won the previous three 24 Hours of Le Mans events. Powering the rear wheels on each new GR010 is a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6, while an Aisin/Denso electric motor drives the front axle as needed. According to Racecar Engineering, the new FIA Hypercar rules allow electric power on a single axle only.
“The biggest change for us here was to move to only a front motor-generator unit after five years with a hybrid on both the front and rear axles,” said GR Chassis Project Leader, John Litjens. “The packaging for the hybrid system was more challenging on this car because of updated safety standards. Additionally, the combustion engine is more powerful on the GR010 HYBRID compared to the TS050 HYBRID. So it is a very different car both in appearance and in how it sounds.”
With new contenders challenging Toyota, the Hypercar class at Le Mans 2021 will definitely be one to watch. Three different powertrain layouts will be on track, with a total of five cars in the top category.