Le Mans Prototype

A Le Mans Prototype is a specially designed for automobile racing, especially for sports car races such as the 24 - hour race at Le Mans, the American Le Mans Series and the Le Mans Series, custom built prototype. Created by the Automobile Club de l' Ouest (ACO ) they are the fastest race car with closed wheel arches, which are currently used in circular course race. They are located in a class, the series based GT cars. Your costs and their technology, they make them comparable with the cars of Formula 1.

Although they are commonly known as Le Mans prototypes, different names were used for this type of vehicle, depending on the race series, used. Since 2004, they are referred to in all classes as Le Mans prototypes.


The first impression of what Le Mans prototype would be once we got in the 24 - hour race at Le Mans in 1992. Striving to the number of participants over the small category of Group C cars out to enlarge, were the older Porsche 962 approved for Category 3. Additionally, smaller racing cars were admitted with an open cockpit and normal road engines as they came in smaller, national race series for use in Category 4. Only three vehicles were registered, all of which failed due to defects.

Finally, both the World Sportscar Championship and the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship ended, leaving the expensive Group C prototypes little scope for competition interventions outside the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

With the end of the Group C allowed the ACO that the first time in many years production-based race cars were allowed to be used. In addition, he created the Le Mans Prototype class (LMP ). The cars had the same design as in 1992. ACO also announced that the Le Mans prototype and 1994 to replace the Group C cars. Two classes were created. Once the specially designed, large-displacement, and usually equipped with turbochargers LMP1 and LMP2, which used smaller production-based engines.


The main regulations are listed below:

LMP1 for factory teams: minimum weight of 900 kg, max suction motors. 3,400 cc, turbocharged petrol max. 2,000 cc or diesel motors max. 3,700 cc. Not limited is the number of cylinders of all types. Tank volume max. 75 liters of petrol and 60 liters of diesel. Max tire diameter about 72 cm ( 28.5 " ), max. Width of approximately 36 cm (14 "). LMP1 vehicles use the leading technologies in sports car racing. Concepts such as front / rear engines, petrol or diesel, vacuum cleaner or Turbo Charged, hybrid systems ( both front wheels and rear wheels drive ) are permitted.

LMP2 for private teams: minimum weight of 900 kg. Series motors max. 5,000 cc 8-cylinder - at least 1000 homologated engines. Turbocharger up to 3,200 cc allowed with 6 cylinders. Max Fuel tank capacity 75 liters Max wheel diameter approximately 71 cm (28 " ), max. Width 36 cm (14 "). LMP2 cars generally have a similar characteristic as LMP1 (carbon -fiber monocoque chassis ), but must comply with stringent cost constraints: cost of chassis max. € 362,100; Cost motor max. € 78,750. In addition, each driver pairing must be at least one amateur riders have ( Silver or Bronze license class ).

Biofuels are allowed in both classes.

The size is limited to 4650 mm length, 2000 mm width and 1030 mm height ( from the lowest point of the body, not from the ground). The body must cover all mechanical parts, so they can be seen either directly from the front, top or side.

Vehicle types

A distinction is open Le Mans Roadster ( LMR ) and closed Le Mans Prototypes ( LMP). Both vehicle types can be, for example, LMR1 or LMR2, homologated in two power classes. Closed vehicles must have a windshield, roof and on each side have a door, so have a closed cockpit. Although no passenger seat must be installed, the minimum cockpit size is set so that in addition to the driver, a passenger would fit. The resulting free area in the cockpit is mostly used for cooling, radio, fire extinguishers and other items. On the roadster, the open area plays an important role, because often the ceding driver remains in the cockpit " on the passenger side " to help the incoming substitutes driver when strapping etc..

Innovation in the Le Mans Prototype (open version ):

BMW Le Mans chief Ulrich W. slate and his team in 1999 for the first time the chassis innovation Single Roll Hoop and launched at the start. Accordingly, an open Le Mans Roadster did not need a roll bar for the front passenger more whose Mitfahrt the regulations without this strictly forbids. The BMW V12 LMR was the only vehicle with this innovation, contributing among other things to his triumphant performance in the Le Mans race in 1999 competition 1999.