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  Dome S101 Mugen
 

  Article Image gallery (6) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Japan
Produced from:2003 - 2004
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:April 04, 2005
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAt the 1978 Geneva Motorshow, a new Japanese manufacturer, Dome, made a dashing debut. Spelled in Japanese letters Dome means 'a child's dream'. What they unveiled was the striking wedge shaped Zero show car, which drew much inspiration from earlier European prototypes. When for various legal reasons, Dome was unable to turn the Zero into a road car, it was modified for motor racing. Just over a year after the Geneva launch, Dome made its debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, in which they competed for 8 years running.

Fast forward to 2001, when Dome re-appeared on the legendary French track with an all new prototype racer. In the preceding years Dome had concentrated mainly on single seaters, with Formula 1 as the eventual target. Fortunately Dome did not attempt a Formula 1 entry, which has led to big financial problems for small racing car manufacturers in recent years. Success was had in F3000 and the Japanese Touring Car Championship, with a modified Honda NSX. As a consultant Dome helped with various prototypes, including the Jiotto Caspita supercar.

Before Dome returned to Le Mans as a manufacturer in 2001, their work already debuted in 2000; Team Goh entered a Dome modified version of the 1999 Le Mans winning BMW LMP V12. For 2001 a completely new carbon fibre / aluminium honeycomb chassis was developed to accept a variety of engines. The most striking feature of the Dome S101 is the centrally mounted headlight. The rest of the design is quite straightforward and followed the contemporary design trends, but it proved to be highly efficient.

In the hands of 1988 Le Mans winner Jan Lammers, the S101 made a promising first appearance. After qualifying fourth, Lammers briefly led the race, but the factory Audi and Bentley efforts proved too much for the new car. Lammers' Racing For Holland team has since been the most loyal of the S101 racers, competing in another three Le Mans races with their Judd V10 engined Dome. At Le Mans the Domes were destined to fight for the best of the rest spot behind the Audis and Bentleys, but dominated the 2002 FIA World Sportscar Championship and took the overall victory.

In 2002 Mugen launched a new 4 litre sportscar engine, derived from the Mugen/Honda Formula 1 engines. In 2003 and 2004, a Mugen engined Dome formed the only all-Japanese entry in the Le Mans 24 Hours race. The combination proved quick, but fragile. Pictured is the 2004 entry at that year's Le Mans Preliminaries.

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  Article Image gallery (6) Specifications