During the 85th edition of the 24h of Le Mans in 2017 the rotary engine will return to this legendary track, more than 25 years after it has been banned from endurance racing.
The Hybrid IM01 racecar will use a rotary engine as range-extender in order to complete the 24 hours. Because the rotary engine will be used as a generator, it can be tuned in such a way that it always runs in its optimal operation point. This results in a tremendous reduction in fuel consumption.
A team aiming to participate in the garage 56 category at Le Mans is InMotion with the IM01, this category is reserved for innovative projects, promoting revolutionary ideas and helping them to show off their creative masterpieces.
The first car to take advantage of this category was the Nissan DeltaWing in 2012. This car did not succeed in completing the race. Six hours and 15 minutes into the race he was forced off the track, which made him crash into the Porsche curves. The car couldn’t be repaired unfortunately.
The second car that participated in this category was the Nissan ZEOD RC, this car also didn’t make it. In the early hours of the race it got gear box issues, making him unable to race any further. It did manage to get their personal goals though, they reached a speed of over 300 km/h and they completed a full electric lap during the race.
In this category there are no rules, besides the safety regulations of course, but there are no limits in how creative your car can be. Which makes it extra interesting for the IM01 team, they can can put so many new ideas and technologies in this car, the IM01.
Some of the technologies which the team aim to use include a fan system to literally suck the car onto the track, airplane style movable flaps which will deploy in the corners to improve grip and over 1100 hp from a 4wd system of electrical motors on each wheel along with a KERS style regeneration system during braking.