Composite Image Shows Just How Similar Le Mans Prototypes Have Become

Illustration for article titled Composite Image Shows Just How Similar Le Mans Prototypes Have Become

Underneath the space-age bodywork, these cars are worlds apart, but you have to admit that the exterior design has become pretty standardized among the Porsche, Audi and Toyota LMP1-class World Endurance Championship cars.

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Short nose. Bulbous headlamps. Tiny, somewhat forward driver's cockpit. Engine behind driver. Large wing for downforce. Large fin for stability. Big arches for big wheels. A big splitter and some canards up front.

Boom: you have every prototype currently running WEC's LMP1 class (not to mention much of LMP2, while we're at it).

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This is, admittedly, a large part of why we're so excited about the Nissan LMP1: sure, a lot of the same elements are there, but the long snout and front engine certainly breaks it up a bit.

Photo[shop] credit: Peter Leung

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DISCUSSION

What i see here is not similar looking cars, but cars with a completely different aero-concept. Toyota is directing the air over the very low body, while Porsche has a high body and airflow through the car. Similar differences can be seen at the rear. These cars are worlds apart if it comes to bodywork.

The open-top LMP2s look very similar, because they are all derivatives of the Courage LC75. The new coupes look more different, even with everybody going the Porsche/Audi way of aero.

Maybe it's because i'm an engineer or i'm just watching too much racing, but i think i would still be able to recognize every 2014/2015 LMP Coupe if they were all in prototype camo.