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24 Heures du Mans 2017

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by tomgt, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    No, I disagree - the cost to develop a reasonable, scalable alternative fuel technology is astronomical. While I concur that there needs to be interest by manufacturers, there are few in the auto world that actually believe there is an alternative energy source to power cars in the immediate future. It's a fallacy - internal combustion will be around for a long time.

    There's a reason coal and oil remain at the top of the energy food chain. The EROEI is better than any other source, and the generators (e.g., engines) can be made small enough to power a vehicle. Hybrid is still at least partially internal combustion, but if they start tilting the rules towards more electric-based cars, it will be too expensive - at least in the LMP1 world given budget for all the other elements (aero, serviceability, etc)

    I'll agree with your point if we are talking Formula E, which is why Porsche is looking at it. Budgets are capped (I think it's $3.5M?) as opposed to the wild west $30M+ budgets of LMP1.

    If LMP1 is to be a viable formula, it's non-hybrid, limited aero, etc. They will fail otherwise.
     
  2. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Agree 100%. No hybrids. Make the brakes steel, cars are N/A or turbos. Limit the aero, so the cars will actually look different and it will reduce the budget the teams spend on developing a slippery shape.
     
  3. tomgt

    tomgt F1 Veteran
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    Iirc Ross Brawn said something like Automotive Industry doesn't need F1 anymore
    Public wants real racing, full field of nice GT/prototypish cars and can see by the model/shape which brand.
    Clk-gtr
    F1 gtr long tail
    Porsche gt1
    Etc
     
  4. Devilsolsi

    Devilsolsi F1 Veteran
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    All those companies wouldn't be looking at formula E if it wasn't interested in further developing that technology. Same reason Don Panoz is trying to develop an all electric car to run at Le Mans.

    I think fans are split on this. There are a lot of people that desire cars from the old days. There are others that are very interested in the technology and advancements. We have these same conversations when discussing F1 and Indy as well.
     
  5. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    You aren't reading my post - Formula E has a budget cap!!!

    Having a desire for old cars is irrelevant - try justify a budget of $30M plus on technology that will likely not yield a return...no dice.

    Lest you think I'm crazy - here's Motorsport.com's view:

     
  6. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    By the way - Formula E is a folly. Electric cars will NOT supplant combustion engines. Manufacturers KNOW this - its marketing, nothing more, nothing less.

    That being said, a budget of $3.5M is such a low bar, it's well worth it for manufacturers to play. Hell, my marketing budget is close to that, and even a company like Porsche doesn't blink.

    That's why teams are flocking to Forumla E - it's cheap marketing with decent ROI.
     
  7. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    I think you are all missing the point of Le Mans and why manufacturers spend so much money each year on it. It most definitely is NOT exactly marketing, ie. win on Sunday, buy on Monday thing.

    It is a platform to show the world that their cars/technology works and well enough to win/compete. So the marketing is more complex than just winning. Manufacturers won't be interested in just racing ICE's, they have already been there and done that ... for years.

    Also a great way to train your engineers, not under no pressure on their own test track.


    So cost reduction is not necessarily going to get manufacturers or more manufacturers involved, it has to align with their company direction ... hence why Mercedes and Renault wanted v6 hybrids for F1.
    Pete
     
  8. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    We will agree to disagree on this. Companies do not need to spend money on racing to test technology - that's a line given to justify racing. Toyota is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world, a piddling racing series is worthless without some return to the top line. They can test at facilities anywhere, they surely don't need Le Mans to do that.

    FWIW, I've been in marketing and product management for 20+ years (e.g. managing P&L), and business case / statistical analysis to justify a product, a launch, a feature is SOP for any company that wants to succeed.

    Maybe - MAYBE - Porsche considers the testing idea, but I find that hard to believe from a company that built an SUV line based on P&L. They are an extremely shrewd, smart company that AGGRESSIVELY looks at their top and bottom line.

    The idea that this series is attractive due to testing technology is a stretch - otherwise there would be more than 2 manufacturers (and both are considering leaving the series).
     
  9. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    I wouldn't bet on that if I was you !!

    Here in Europe, some countries are actually legislating against the IC engine, and proposing to ban their sale beyond a certain date.

    I know it may look very tentative to you, but Norway has already given a deadline to IC vehicles (2025, I think), and other countries will follow.

    Already, the use of IC vehicles are increasingly punished in some European cities, that will accept nothing less than "zero emission", which means electric power.
     
  10. Devilsolsi

    Devilsolsi F1 Veteran
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    No I completely get it and agree. The cost of LMP1 is one of the factors keeping more manufacturers out.


    I think we saw proof that this isn't quite true. If it was, all the testing that Porsche and Toyota did before Le Mans would have kept them from experiencing so many mechanical issues during the race. Both companies will now understand the effect that heat can have on the hybrid systems much better than they did before the race.

    We have seen some trickle down from racing to road cars over the years. I do think technology development is a part of the reason companies go racing. But I also agree that marketing has a lot to do with it as well. I think if it was solely about marketing, more teams would push to have GT cars as the top tier since they have a closer tie to the road product.

    Just my thoughts.
     
  11. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    They aren't really interested in hybrid technology - it's not a path forward for them. I could wax for hours about it, but the hybrid sales make up about 1.5% of the total automobile sales in the world. Interestingly enough, the US is the leading market, I would have thought Europe given the cost of petrol (I had a great discussion with a European colleague of mine and we were laughing about the amount of tax that goes into 1 litre of petrol). Nonetheless, manufacturers are in the business of making money, and as someone that has managed product / marketing P&L for 20+ years, you don't do anything without a business case that shows positive NPV.

    Most estimates show that by 2040 (so almost 25 years from now), the number of hybrid / electric vehicles will be roughly 1/3 of total car sales. Yikes, that's terrible! That 1/3 of the market assumes standardized, swappable batteries and plug-in capability. Good luck with that. Even if we got there, now you are suggesting increased demand on an electrical grid that can't meet the demand we have today, plus the fact that the EROEI on electricity generated by anything other than coal, gas, or hydro isn't very good. Translation - the higher electrical demand will drive the demand for fossil fuels and/or nuclear power (hydro won't scale too much more).

    So as much as manufacturers might act like they are pro-electric cars, they know it will never happen. They can't control infrastructure investment, and since that investment is unlikely to occur quick enough, it's a losing proposition.

    They KNOW this. Hybrid has some value, but all-electric is going nowhere, so investing in a race series that is about electric technologies is nothing more than a marketing exercise (which is why Formula E is attractive). It's simple math:

    - advertise in magazine X, with a circulation of 100,000, at a cost of (say) $100,000
    - advertise in magazine Y, with a circulation of 50,000 at a cost of $10,000

    You'd pick magazine Y all day, every day, and twice on Sunday - the ROI is clearly better. Competing in WEC vs. Formula E is the same thing ($30 - $100M budget with no eyeballs, vs. $3.5M budget with little eyeballs but growing interest)...it's a no brainer. Has very little to do with hybrid / electric technology per se, it's all about the ROI on the marketing investment and how they can leverage that to create demand for their products / brand.

    Also, consider that nearly every manufacturer that races funds the effort through marketing dollars. IIRC, Toyota did fund their LMP1 effort from engineering budget, but that's an exception.

    If the technology were something manufacturers were interested in, then why aren't GM, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan, Honda, etc competing in LMP1 or even Formula E for that matter? It's of no interest to them - they are competing in NASCAR and GT series because a) marketing and b) internal combustion engines aren't going away anytime soon.

    I agree technology testing is an element, but not the end all be all. These companies are in the business to make money. Since marketing is a cost center, it can be justified that racing is a way to generate demand, so companies will invest if the ROI is there. The idea that hybrid technology is the main draw is hogwash - it's expensive and fragile, and the series that haven't recognized that have been punished (F1 is now taking criticism over it - Ross Brawn has commented that fans aren't interested in it and it's unnecessarily driving up cost).

    Here's an interesting article in Automobile Magazine - note comments about marketing budgets and hybrid technology (e.g., it's too expensive and not ready for prime time):

    This Automobile Magazine article speaks a lot about the issues with LMP1, specifically with hybrid technology (Cliffs Notes version - it's too expensive and not ready for prime time)...note commentary on manufacturers and marketing investment:

    24 Hours of Le Mans Raises Questions About Sports-Car Racing?s Future | Automobile Magazine

    People have been hoodwinked to believe that alternative energy sources are the future, but the laws of thermodynamics deem this to be fallacy. Fossil fuels will continue to be our primary source of energy generation, and that will ultimately give way to nuclear fusion (hopefully in the next 50 years). There is no other scalable, efficient, repeatable way. Knowing that, why would any manufacturer care about electric technology? There aren't standardized, swappable batteries, and plug-in capability isn't here yet...and that doesn't factor in the increased demand on an already heavily taxed infrastructure / electrical grid. Put more demand on that grid, then there will be more demand for coal and/or gas because those are the primary energy sources for electrical generation.

    Here's a great blog post - albeit a little dated. It dives into the laws of thermodynamics and some of the reasons why we'll never be reliant on solar, wind, or other renewable, green energy.

    https://oneinabillionblog.com/summary-2/laws/the-second-law-of-thermodynamics/

    In any event, it's good discussion and debate. I'll maintain my position, these manufacturers couldn't care less about hybrid / electric technology - there's no money in it for them (outside MAYBE Toyota). It IS all about promotion and demand generation, and since Formula E is a) cheap and b) getting press, manufacturers with marketing dollars will flock to it.

    I'm pretty sure you won't see hybrid tech in NASCAR anytime soon. And before anyone pooh-poohs NASCAR (I am personally NOT a fan of it), it's still highly successful and has some of the largest competitive fields in racing today. I can't predict the future, and while there's been discussion of it happening, I'm not buying it.

    End of the day, if the manufacturer believes it can make money as a result of racing, they'll do it. The technology isn't the driving factor, it's just one element. Hopefully the ACO wakes up and recognizes this, but since many of these series work on confirmation bias, I'm guessing they'll double down on the hybrid tech and the LMP1 class will be doomed.
     
  12. Devilsolsi

    Devilsolsi F1 Veteran
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    I am also surprised it isn't more popular in Europe. Diesel is huge there. We were in Italy in May and almost every car was diesel...and a hatchback/wagon. I love hatchbacks so I was drooling over all the cars they have that we don't.



    It's all very interesting to try to figure out how much of this is pushed by politics, the manufactures, or the public. Governments have been pushing hybrids and electric vehicles by offering tax incentives and increased mpg regulations. The sanctioning bodies are certainly pushing it as well. But how much of that is just to appease the governments that are pushing it? Then again the LaF, P1 and 918 all use hybrid technology for increased performance. There are so many different sides to this discussion.

    BTW the president of Toyota stated after the 24 that he didn't think the technology was ready for the prime time yet at Le Mans. That makes the 2020 LMP1 regulations even more interesting as there is an increased push for hybrid and electric in that class. I think we will be seeing the end of P1 very soon.
     
  13. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    I think you see this from an US perspective. Here, we see it from an European perspective.

    In your discourse, you only mention cost, here the population is more concentrated, and we may suffer more than you do from air pollution, or at least we are far more aware of it. WE want a change. The internal combustion engine is a polluter; there is no escape from that. The goal is zero emission, no less.

    Also, you seem to consider only fossil fuels as source of energy, where we turn towards not polluting renewable energy: solar, wind, hydro, tidal, thermal which are just in infancy and have never received the investment fossil fuels have.

    But whatever, here we think that the change should not be left to market forces and big multi national corporations imposing their choice regardless, but will come from governments investing in clean energy, bringing legislation curtailing the IC use, banning dirty fuel, and punishing the offenders.
     
  14. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Agreed and I think you are on to something here about governments. I have thought long and hard about the attack on coal, particularly in the USA, by the government. It makes no sense, because it's efficient and abundant and we export a lot to China and India. That means jobs and tax revenue, yet some would claim it to be the devil's lot.

    It's now dawned on me that politics plays a huge role, because anyone that has even a primary understanding of energy sourcing and generation would know that fossil fuels are really it until we get to sustainable nuclear fusion. The good news is, there's still a lot of fossil fuel to be mined / extracted, but the bad news is it's finite.

    Energy is a definite powder keg that could ignite war.

    Yep, I agree - doubling down on hybrid is going to kill it off. Too expensive and no return (publicity, engineering, or whatever). Much like the political battle over energy, I think you have the same blinders on with racing series...very out of touch, but they'll either learn or they won't!!!
     
  15. the_stig

    the_stig F1 Rookie
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    Getting dangerously close to P&R but isn't that simply a way of pushing the emissions off on some other place? Those batteries are far from zero emission when in production. The facilities that will someday recycle those used batteries are going to be far from zero emission. How will that carbon footprint be figured into Norway's calculations?
     
  16. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    This is a great point...somehow, people were lead to believe this is "green".

    Forgetting the batteries for the moment, as they haven't proliferated enough maybe to cause a problem. If we ever get to full plug-in capability, the increased load on the grid will need to be fuelled by coal and gas (the 2 leading energy sources for electrical generation). It's NOT FREE. There is a cost - not just in terms of emissions - see the link I posted and the lack of understanding of the laws of thermodynamics.

    Let's get real folks, the model doesn't scale. Internal combustion engines will be here for a long, long time.
     
  17. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    a) Manufacturers don't "act" as if they were interested, many KNOW that only electric vehicles will be allowed on some markets, or locations. In recent years, Formula E has received more interest from major manufacturers than any other formulae. Beside, with government incentive and legislation, the infrastructure will grow.

    b) I don't know any major manufacturers that hasn't an hybrid, or an fully electric project on the drawing board, and many already sell them! That doesn't mean they are all interested in motor racing, or see motor racing as the only outlet to develop the new technology.

    Many engineers would tell you that the Formula E regulations, or the LMP1 and Hybrid F1 imposed parameters are really too restrictive to allow innovation. Formula E restricts the energy storage, controls the energy use, etc... Same for LMP1.

    The results achieved in hybrid and electric technology go far beyond Formula E and LMP1 !!
     
  18. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    At least they will be able to choose where the production of batteries and their recycling will take place: far from densely populated areas.

    It can all be done in a clinical environment, in emission free factories, where the staff is also protected, etc...

    Try to protect the public from belching IC fumes in town !!!
     
  19. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Yes, they know - my point is they aren't stupid. But I disagree the infrastructure will grow, most countries don't have the money necessary to improve it enough to handle the demand large scale plug in electric cars could bring. This isn't a new concept, it's been discussed by others way smarter than me - it's a limited market technology (as you point out), which only supports my claim further - no one is entering ANY race series to test this technology!!

    No disagreement here - but they aren't developing a hybrid purely because of the opportunity (remember, they represent about 1.5% of the TAM). It's marketing - if they don't have a hybrid, they'll be seen as not technologically advanced and "green".

    Yes, precisely my point. No one is entering Formula E for innovating or technology testing. That's a nonsensical argument - it's all about the marketing, period end of sentence.

    That may be true, but it will never overtake internal combustion engines as the overall efficiency and cost to generate the energy is too high.
     
  20. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    This is a very old fashion statement !!

    Well, maybe it's true in the US, but certainly not in Europe.

    We are increasingly giving up fossil fuels for electricity production for at least nuclear energy (far cleaner - no emission - but rather dangerous) but mostly renewable energy that comes for FREE !! Some Scandinavian countries can already live on renewable energy for up to 2/3 of the year!

    France produces 80% of its energy from nuclear, Britain about 40%, etc...

    But we already have huge wind farms in the North Sea, and solar energy is gaining ground too. Wind and sun are FREE !!! Plus, the sea can provide an unlimited source of power (tidal energy) and there is also untapped energy underground (thermal energy).

    Coal, gas and oil generated energy put non-producing countries as a disadvantage, and we don't want to be at the mercy of the Middle East, Russia or the USA.
     
  21. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    There is no free energy - see the laws of thermodynamics. That being said, I don't think you are reading my posts. I'm 100% pro-nuclear, and stated that it's the ONLY sustainable, repeatable, and scalable energy source. And nuclear fusion eliminates the danger AS WELL AS the nuclear waste (by product is largely water).

    It's NOT free - you need to build infrastructure and convert the energy harnessed into work. Solar and wind are incredibly inefficient - you've been told something that simply isn't true. It can supplement the needs, but it will never be efficient or small enough to provide the energy demands the world needs. Did you read any of the links I posted? The EROEI of wind and solar are crap - it basically means we can't possibly harness enough energy cheaply and efficiently enough to provide for the demand.

    The answer - and the ONLY answer - is NUCLEAR FUSION. Until that point in time that nuclear fusion is tangibly accessible, fossil fuels are the only efficient method of electrical generation. To be fair, hydro is even more efficient, but it's limited - there aren't enough flowing bodies of water to fill the demand. While on that topic, you've seen that the Three Gorges Dam in China has (allegedly) slowed the Earth's rotation (I don't believe that, but FWIW)?
     
  22. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    I can't see the problem there would be in putting plug-in posts in car parks, garages, energy stations, etc... where people would pay to have their batteries recharged. We get more band more of them in the streets here in UK.

    Plus, who say you need recharging all the time?

    Most people don't drive many miles every day, and therefore would only need a top up at home at night. The average range for an electric car is 250 miles, but some cars can go up to 400 miles apparently.

    Driving long distances? Well, you have to stop and rest every few hours on the motorway anyway, and you can use that to "fast charge" for 45 minutes whilst you have a meal. I cannot see that as a problem; people would get used to that.

    I see people coming from the continent (Netherlands, Germany) to UK with electric cars, and they don't seem bothered with the range. I had a chat with a guy on the ferry not so long ago who had a Tesla. From Koln (Germany), he was going to York (North England) with only 2 stops of 45 minutes each. He stops at halts on the motorway, plugs his car and go buy a drink and a snack at the cafeteria, whilst his car is on charge. I asked him how much the trip costs him. He told me 1/10 of what he would have spent with his Mercedes E series, although the Merc is cheaper to buy.
     
  23. stever

    stever Formula 3
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    You HAVE to stop? Who dictates that?
     
  24. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    A lot of people don't see the problem, but it exists. As I've stated, car manufacturers know this, and it's been written about by others way smarter than me.

    Whether it's the dated infrastructure (in the US, it's barely enough to sustain the current demand, let alone a significant increase) or the lack of any other generation source outside of fossil fuel.

    You do realize that misguided opposition and other political factors has prevented the build out of nuclear facilities in the US? At the same time, we are trying to kill the coal industry? How is that going to help drive production and sales of electric cars, if there's no way to generate the energy needed to power them?
     
  25. william

    william F1 World Champ

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    I am far from being an expert, so I listen to them.

    My eldest son is a nuclear energy engineer, who worked for Westinghouse at one of their plants in Sweden for many years. I would think he has enough experience in that field to know what he is talking about. His wife is also an engineer; she was an energy adviser to the European Union in Brussels. Both are against fossil fuel electricity production and don't recommend the EU to pursue the nuclear option in future, but to invest in renewable energy.

    First, Europe don't produce oil or gas, so become dependant from other countries, which is bad. It's the same for nuclear, where the uranium producing countries may have the upper hand. Really, who wants to be dictated by Russia or OPEC ?

    But when it comes to vehicles, pollution is the main concern, really. Curtailing CO2 and particles is the main priority in most European countries.
     

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