AER’s New Twin Turbo LMP1 V8
The Sportscar Engine of the Future
Engine Research) founder and owner Mike Lancaster was in the Monza
paddock last Saturday, (July 9), both to keep an eye on the progress
of his company’s in-line four cylinder engines, and to spread
the word about AER’s new V8 LMP1 engine.
1000 Km turned out to be a very successful weekend for the Essex-based
innovators, AER I4s powering the first two home in LMP2, and also
Bob Berridge to fastest race lap in the class with fastest straight-line
speed. That’s two out of two in the 2005 LMES. In addition
AER-powered cars won the three LMES races entered in 2004.
The original I4 dates
back to the first year of the MG Lolas at Le Mans, that little four
cylinder having been rushed from design to first test and first
race, at the behest of MG. The completely redesigned engine used
today has now proven to be “the engine to beat in the P2 class”.
as Mike Lancaster explains, “we felt at the end of last year
that the four cylinder didn’t give us enough scope in prototype
racing. We have always wanted to challenge for overall wins, so
in Europe that meant that we needed an LMP1 engine.
“All our experience
with the 4 put us in a great position to design a new engine, but
it hasn’t been quite such a rush this time!
“We started out
by recruiting the best designers we could – absolutely top-line
people in Oliver Allan and Ian Prosser. We were fortunate in being
able to employ two ex-F1 designers, with essentially one looking
after the heads, the other the block.”
was already producing a straight four that generates greater pressures
within than an F1 engine, but employing designers from F1 gave him
access to a different kind of knowledge and experience.
skills available to us now have enabled us to design an LMP1 engine
that is absolutely state of the art – it’s a clean sheet
design, and it’s ground-breaking too. In terms of its strength
and weight, its direct injection variant and the drive by wire electronics,
it is state of the art. We haven’t based this on the block
of anything else, for example. We are convinced that it’s
in a different league to anything else that’s available to
a customer – and the customer has the advantage of all of
our four cylinder, high-power, high-pressure, experience.
“But we haven’t
just invested in personnel. We’ve made a huge investment at
the factory in the very latest equipment too.”
All this investment will
ensure that the twin turbo V8 will be “the smallest and the
lightest engine available”. Crucially with a sports car engine,
durability is at the top of the list and a comprehensive testing
program has already started.
Mike Lancaster isn’t
giving away the actual capacity of the V8 – yet. It will be
between “3.6 and 4.0 litres”, and if it’s run
in unrestricted form, it’s designed to be a “thousand
It’s a 75 degree
V8, and its weight is “less than 115kg”.
As Lancaster emphasises,
“it’s as small as possible, hence the V angle, it’s
weight is unique, and the advantages are the best possible packaging
in the car, with an absolute minimum of wasted space”. The
engine has one of the lowest crank centrelines of any current engine.
Further down the line,
there will be the option of a 3.4 V8 for LMP2 customers, “if
they want an alternative to the I4.” The current engine isn’t
doing too badly at the moment though.
The I4 generates over130
bhp per cylinder on its LMP2 restrictors, while the new V8, with
double the number of cylinders, brings that figure down to around
Negotiations are on-going
with potential customers for 2006. This is the sportscar engine
of the future.