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A closer look at Project Nemo, winner of World Time Attack Challenge 2012

Posted on 17 August 2012

A wild-looking time attack car that produces more aerodynamic downforce than a Le Mans prototype won the World Time Attack Challenge at Sydney Motorsport Park earlier this month with a lead time of over 2 seconds.

The Queensland-built Project Nemo was the result of a two-year program to develop the ultimate time attack car by using what its owners describe as an integrated approach.

“Other teams at World Time Attack started out with a road car and added different bits along the way,” said driver and team manager Chris Eaton.

“From the beginning, our car has been a definite effort to integrate the aero with the suspension and driveline. Our goal has been to produce something with the best ability in every area.”

Based on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII, Project Nemo’s extraordinary carbon fibre bodywork was designed by American aerodynamicist and data engineer Andrew Brilliant.

His Japan-based company AMB Aero has applied experience gained in the Indycar, American Le Mans and Japan Super GT Championships, and American Time Attack, to create a shape that generated the highest-possible downforce through Sydney Motorsport Park’s sweeping turns.

Despite a plethora of wings and canards, a reduced frontal area and a low drag-to-downforce ratio underbody/diffuser allowed Project Nemo to reach a competitive top speed on the circuit’s long main straight.

Inbuilt data acquisition measures the downforce at each wheel and allows the team to fine-tune the aerodynamics.

The high-tech thinking extends to the Mitsubishi’s engine where programmable turbo-charging automatically turns down the boost in corners and turns it back up on the straights.

“The car has more than 600 kilowatts at the wheels and would struggle to get that power down in the corners if we didn’t moderate the boost. The autoboost also improves engine reliability.”

Harnessing all the power and downforce at World Time Attack was the Hankook Ventus TD Z221 semi-slicks.

“We’ve chosen the Hankooks because they have proven very competitive in the past but also because the tyres have sufficient load rating to handle all the downforce Nemo generates.”

Nemo Racing secured a time of 1:25.0200 with driver Warren Luff behind the wheel in the Pro Class category.

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