Hybrid LMP1 race cars debut at this year's Le Mans 24-hour race on June 16th-17th and, as in F1, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) have decided to create seven specific zones where the cars in question can transmit the energy recuperated under braking.
The hybrid systems of Audi and Toyota recover the energy generated under braking. Previously this was lost; it is now stored and transmitted under acceleration. In order to limit the size of these systems– and the budgets required for their development – the ACO and the have imposed a maximum quantity of energy that can be transmitted between two braking phases of 500 kilojoules. Each hybrid car can take advantage of additional electric power without exceeding that laid down in the technical regulations.
There were five braking zones on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship on 5th May 2012 in which this system was used for the first time. At there will be seven.
Zone no. 1: Dunlop chicane (no. 8 marshals' post)
Zone no. 2: Forza Motorsport Chicane (no. 42 marshals' post)
Zone no. 3: Michelin Chicane (no. 60 marshals' post)
Zone no. 4: Mulsanne corner (no. 76 marshals' post)
Zone no. 5: Indianapolis Corner (no. 96 marshals' post)
Zone no. 6: Porsche Corner (no. 115b marshals' post)
Zone no. 7: Ford Corner (no. 131 marshals' post)
The entry to each zone is 50 meters (164 ft.) before the corner in question.
Four of the 56 cars entered for this year's Le Mans 24 Hours have hybrid powertrains: the nos 1 & 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattros and the nos 7 & 8 Toyota TS030s.
It is worth noting that in the case of Audi, where the energy is fed to the front drivetrain, the car must be running above 74 mph for the transmission to take place. For Toyota, on the other hand, in which the energy is fed to the rear drivetrain there is no minimum speed.
Exclusive Photos: 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans>