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  Pescarolo 01 Evo Mazda

  Article Image gallery (13) Specifications  
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Country of origin:France
Introduced in:2009
Designed by:Pescarolo Sport
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 06, 2009
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn this day and age it is virtually impossible to keep a secret, especially in the tight-knit world of endurance racing. French Le Mans legend Henri Pescarolo proved it is still possible when he rolled out an extensively revised version of the 'Pescarolo 01' LMP1 racer at the 2009 Catalunya 1000 km. Some images of the car had been posted briefly on 'Mulsanne's Corner' a day earlier but they were removed shortly after. It is not the first time Pescarolo pulled off the unexpected but when it was announced that Pescarolo Sport would field a Peugeot at Le Mans, we believed it signaled the end of Pescarolo as an independent manufacturer. At the Le Mans Series (LMS) season opener Pescarolo showed that we could not have been much further from the truth.

When first introduced at the start of the 2007 season, the Pescarolo 01 was not a completely new car. It was the culmination of many evolutions of the Courage C60 first fielded by Pescarolo Sport in 2001. Over the years the team, with the help of renowned designer Andre de Cortanze, completely redesigned the Courage's aero package. The Pescarolo Courages came achingly close to winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2005 and dominated the 2006 Le Mans Series. Rule changes rendered the existing Courage built chassis obsolete. The four-time Le Mans winner pulled off the first of his surprises by announcing that Pescarolo would built their own cars for 2007 and that they would be made available to any interested team.

Although there now was a new name on the nose, only the minimum amount of changes were made to the original design. Apart from the now mandatory second roll-over structure there was little to distinguish the 2006 from the new 2007 car. The car did bring a new lease of life to the small team and soon after no fewer than three customers were found. Completely overwhelmed by the Peugeot and Audi diesels, the cars were rarely in contention for wins but many podium finishes were scored. At Le Mans in 2007, Pescarolo Sport finished third, followed by the Rollcentre Racing team who fielded a customer Pescarolo. At the start of 2008 Pescarolo Sport merged with Saulnier Racing. By this time the design was showing its age and the LMP1 Pescarolos struggled to maintain its position among the fastest petrol powered cars.

Revised aero regulations for 2009 already forced Pescarolo to make changes to the rear wing but he jumped on the opportunity to thoroughly revise the design. By strengthening the R&D department with Nicolas Clemencon and with additional support from SORA composites, Pescarolo Sport was able to get the job done. The team started virtually with a clean sheet and made extensive use of the wind-tunnel to test the efficiency. Some elements of the previous car have survived but the nose, sides and rear end are all distinclty different. The biggest changes have been carried through on the sides of the car, which are much more sculpted and feature 'legality plates' similar to those found on the Dome S102 and Audi R15. The rear fenders are much taller in a quest to compensate for the loss of downforce from the 40 cm shorter rear wing.

Under the brand new body, the Pescarolo 01 remained virtually unaltered. The single new car fielded at Catalunya did have a new tub but we are unaware of any changes. Like most modern racing cars, the Pescarolo features double wishbone suspension all-round with push-rod actuated springs and dampers. While some manufacturers have opted for torsion bars in recent years, the Pescarolo still uses conventional coil springs. The rear suspension also incorporates a third damper to control the pitch of the car. At the front the disc brakes are fitted with 'shields,' which improve cooling. Aft of the tub the familiar 5.5 liter Judd V10 is found in the LMP1 version while the similar LMP2 car uses a AER/Mazda 2 liter turbo engine.

As mentioned earlier, the first 2009 specification Pescarolo was debuted at the Catalunya season opener. For most of the race the Works entry was in contention for the victory but eventually had to settle for second. For the next round, the Spa 1000 km, the Oak Racing team had their Mazda-engined LMP2 Pescarolo updated. Like all turbo-engined cars, the Oak Racing struggled with the low quality fuel supplied by the organizers. During qualifying, the 'new' Pescarolo scored a credible 7th, making it the fastest of the turbo cars. After some post-race exclusions, the #35 Pescarolo managed to a podium finish. Two cars have been entered for Le Mans.

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  Article Image gallery (13) Specifications