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  Nasamax DM139 Judd

  Article Image gallery (6) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:2004
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:Before December 1st, 2004
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Click here to download printer friendly versionTeam Nasamax scored a world first in 2003 by fielding a bio-ethanol fueled car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This environmentally friendly fuel is distilled mostly from sugar beets and potatoes. Unlike the common fossil fuels, bio-ethanol produces a type of carbon dioxide that is fully absorbed by the atmosphere. Only slight modifications to the Reynard racer and Cosworth XDE V8 engine were required to adapt to the new fuel. Seventeen hours into the race, the car was forced to retire with an engine problem, unrelated to the fuel.

Supported by the promising results and extensive media coverage, the team used the winter between the 2003 and 2004 seasons to build up a completely new car. The Reynard 01Q chassis was completely revised to comply with the new LMP1/2 regulations, which were mandatory for all cars built from 2004 onwards. Main goal of the rule change was to make it less likely for the racers to flip at high speeds and they mainly consist of underbody modifications. A visible change in design is the larger roll bar which has to protect both the driver and the theoretical passenger.

Judd's five litre V10 engine was chosen as the new powerplant, which should offer better reliability compared to the Indycar derived Cosworth engine. Compared to regular fossil fuel, bio-ethanol produces around 60% of the energy per litre, resulting in a lower fuel efficiency. To make up for this deficit, the governing body (ACO) allowed the Team to run an extra large fuel tank. In the tank the fuel is blanketed by nitrogen rich air as the tank empties, to prevent the highly flammable bio-ethanol to ignite in the tank. This NBS system was used for the first time in motor racing in the Nasamax Reynard.

Livered in a striking green and black, the new car made its debut at the test weekend for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was the only car built to LMP1 specifications and took on old LMP 675 and 900 cars in its class. The totally revised package proved to be seconds faster than the predecessor, making the Nasamax competitive with the other privateers in the LMP1 class. After a 14th position in qualification, the Nasamax Judd finished in 17th position overall and 7th in class at the end of the 24 Hours race.

Apart from competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, the Team competed in the Le Mans Endurance Series, consisting of four 1000 km races. In the last race of the season at Spa Francorchamps, the performance was exceptionally strong and the podium was in sight when bad luck struck. Driver Roman Dumas' shoe got stuck on the throttle during braking and the car was sent off into the tire wall.

The Nasamax DM139 is seen here at the Spa Francorchamps track, taking part in the 1000 km race.

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  Article Image gallery (6) Specifications