FIA WORLD RX: THE SCIENCE OF SPEED
Sat, 04/08/2018 - 18:45
World RX #7/12 – Canada, 4-5/08/2018
There’s one thing that the Trois-Rivieres rallycross track in Canada is well-known for – and that’s raw speed. It contains the longest straight on the entire calendar, and also the highest average speed of the year, thanks to a relatively low number of corners and a circuit layout that’s all about conservation of momentum. As a result, the cars are prepared in a specific way.
With this type of track configuration, the engine power makes a very big difference. The cars needing to get up to full speed as quickly as possible off the line, and then hold that speed for as long as they can, before negotiating a wide 90-degree corner and then heading into the second-fastest part of the lap immediately afterwards. It’s certainly a frenetic start.
In order to give their cars as much of a chance as possible, the engineers prepare the set-up in a way that deliberately puts the emphasis on ultimate speed and suits the unique characteristics of the Trois-Rivieres track, which unusually has no kerbs.
With the cars reaching more than 200kph at the end of the straight, special brake cooling is put in place to slow the car down from these unusually high speeds. Christian Deltombe, operations manager, explains what else can be done to make the PEUGEOT 208 WRX EVO travel as quickly as possible around the 1.351 kilometres of Trois-Rivieres:
“Even though the average speed is high, you can’t make changes that are too drastic as there are some points on the gravel that are still quite slow, so as usual it’s a compromise. You want to reduce drag, but the key parts of the aerodynamics are fixed by the regulations. However, there are ways you can cut down on mechanical drag and also reduce the upshift time. We’ll try and run the car as low as possible so that we can stop it rolling and carry more speed through the corners, given that there aren’t any kerbs. But the most specific change is probably to the brake cooling.”
Of course, it’s not just down to the car. Sébastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen will have to use the power as effectively as possible, to make the most of the opportunities that the PEUGEOT 208 WRX EVO gives them. Although the concrete barriers that line the narrow track are unforgiving, the drivers need to get close enough to practically scrape the paint off the doors, using every millimetre of track to not lose speed. They also need to make sure that they carry out a perfect start, as any mistake at the beginning of the race will be magnified with the length of the straight.
Sébastien Loeb, a podium finisher at Trois-Rivieres last year, points out: “In the past we’ve been a bit behind on the long straights, so I hope that with the new evolution of the car we can be fighting on equal terms when we get to the first corner. Then, during the race, it’s important to make sure you have a clean entry and exit on the straight, as if you take a bit of extra speed in, it sets you up for the rest of the lap. I’ve got a bit of experience in circuit racing that will help, but there are lots of other drivers who have that too, so I’m really keen to find out where we are relative to the others. Hopefully the combination of car and driver means that we can be quick.”
That’s the theory of speed at Trois-Rivieres. Now let’s move on to the practice…
GRAND PRIX DE TROIS-RIVIERES SCHEDULE
Saturday 4 August
09:15 : Practice 1
10:05 : Practice 2
11:35 : Practice 3
14:25 : Qualifying 1
16:30 : Qualifying 2
Sunday 5 August
08:00 : Warm Up
09:15 : Qualifying 3
11:30 : Qualifying 4
15:00 : Semi Final 1
15:15 : Semi Final 2
15:35 : Final
Watch the race live on RDS TV in Canada, on Sunday August 5th from 4PM
PEUGEOT 208 WRX 2018 technical data sheet: http://www.peugeot-media.com
Photos & videos of the Team PEUGEOT Total, the drivers and the PEUGEOT 208 WRX :
©Photo : PEUGEOT Sport / MCH Photography
©Vidéo : PEUGEOT Sport / La Clé Production
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