Historic bioethanol Le Mans car will race again

This bioethanol LMP racing car was once a pioneer, but has spent over a decade in storage. Now it will race again thanks to a new V10 heart.

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Motorsport and the environment are rarely the best of bedfellows. Noise, flames, and the vibration of combustion are all scientifically inefficient, yet these are the symptoms of a living racing car. Back in 2004 the Nasamax LMP racer became the very first Le Mans competitor to run on bioethanol making its endurance efforts considerably greener. Thanks to some remodelling and restoration, the car will race again.

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After entering Le Mans and clocking 200mph down the famed Mulsanne Straight, the Nasamax car was garaged due to strict regulations that prevented it from entering any other FIA series. A crying shame as not only was this car a technological achievement, but also a poster child for environmentally responsible racing — remember this was long before Formula E. However, KW Heritage are now readying the car to hit the track once again.

Last year the Masters Historic Racing series modified its entry criteria to allow for a broader range of cars to race. Great news for the Nasamax, however, it would need an upgrade to be competitive. KW Heritage began CAD modelling the various modifications that would be required, including the addition of a new 5.5-litre Judd Series 2 engine to replace the old 5.0-litre V10. Advanced techniques such as 3D printing were used to manufacture new lightweight components with extreme accuracy.

Originally the car started life as a Reynard 01Q LMP car before being developed. Interestingly, KW Motorsport founder, Kieron Salter, was actually chief designer at Reynard Motorsport. It’s almost like this project was meant to be.

Robbie and Dean Stirling from Team Nasamax appear very pleased with the finished article. Thy said: “We were very pleased with the design and fitting work KWSP did for our engine installation. They were very helpful and clear in communication throughout each process of completing the task.”

We can't wait to see and hear this LMP racer back in action!

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