LE MANS

Motor Sport News - - Ohlins Dampers -

Ohlins has won 15 of the last 17 Le Mans 24 Hours, largely through its sup­ply of Audi. That fig­ure would have been 16, but for the #5 Toy­ota TS050 HY­BRID slow­ing with min­utes to go in this year’s race and los­ing the lead on the last lap – a fail­ure that had noth­ing to do with the dampers.

In­evitably, the de­mands for en­durance sportscar rac­ing are very dif­fer­ent to those of ral­ly­ing and ral­ly­cross. Even within the dis­ci­pline, the wide range of cars, stretch­ing from high-pow­ered, aero­dy­nam­i­cally-elab­o­rate hy­brid LMP1S through cus­tomer LMP2S and GTE ma­chin­ery, is very var­ied.

“It’s tricky to de­fine be­cause with the teams we are work­ing with, they have so many dif­fer­ent motion ra­tios so the peak loads change a lot de­pend­ing on the de­sign of the car and what they are try­ing to get it to achieve,” says Jarl­mark. “I would say that if you have the damper with no motion ra­tio, you would maybe see peak loads of up to 10kn on the rear tyre and six or seven on the front tyre – but motion ra­tios change that a lot.”

It’s the work with the LMP1 fac­tory teams that has the big­gest im­pact in terms of driv­ing tech­nol­ogy.

“It’s a very good test bed,” says Jarl­mark Nafver. “It’s an ex­per­i­men­tal field that pushes us as far as we can. We have the TTC damper line, which you can use the top dampers in for LMP2, and you can use the en­tire range for GT cars but we do a lot of work on the LMP1 dampers.

“Teams al­ways have in­ter­est­ing ideas on what the damper is sup­posed to do, and we help them to get it to do what they want. We con­stantly re­design valves and the com­plete damper sys­tem for the top end cus­tomers, and we do CFD sim­u­la­tions of the sys­tems so you can un­der­stand the force pro­gres­sion from, for ex­am­ple, a kerb strike.”

The typ­i­cal be­spoke sys­tem will have an ad­just­ment range of 50 ‘clicks’ (re­fer­ring to the pro­gres­sive clicks you feel as you ro­tate the ad­justers). But once on the Le Mans week­end, the set-up work will prob­a­bly be done within a range of about five clicks. Any more clicks and the changes be­tween them be­comes im­per­cep­ti­ble.

The dampers are de­signed to run for 30 hours – more than enough to cover the race and also prac­tice ac­tiv­i­ties.

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