Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Trying to predict the unpredictable

I am not about to go into the details of my personal life, but circumstances have contrived to make it almost impossible to get anything written on this blog in recent weeks and that is something that saddens me. The fact is that I both enjoy writing my thoughts up here, and also enjoy reading your comments and watching the statistics.

It’s not that I am lacking inspiration in any way, either; it is merely that I have not been able to devote enough time to transforming my ideas into words to make it worthwhile posting them here.

Anyway, in anticipation of the upcoming WEC race this weekend – the nattily-titled 6 hours of Circuit of the Americas – I’ve been looking at what might happen. With so much having gone on behind the closed doors of Porsche, Toyota and Audi since Le Mans in June, it is only possible to speculate about who might be quickest. But that has not stopped me in the past, and it isn’t going to stop me now.

What became clear after Le Mans was that both Toyota and Porsche reduced their pace (in the time-honoured fashion) in the vingt-quatre heures this year in order to improve their chances of reliability. Hence, I would expect both Toyota and Porsche to be quicker than Audi in Texas, and for Toyota to be quicker than Porsche.

In terms of average lap times for a stint around the 5.513km circuit, that means something like:
Toyota - 1m 49.4s
Porsche - 1m 49.6s
Audi - 1m 49.9s

And in this brave, new world of fuel efficiency, stint lengths like this:
Toyota - 27 laps
Porsche - 28 laps
Audi - 25 laps

On this basis, only Porsche will be able to run a six-stop strategy, both Toyota and Audi will need an extra stop.

All of this is assuming, as always, that neither the weather nor Safety Car will play a role in the race. And there have been suggestions of rain in the area on Saturday evening – although my latest ‘skunk works’ forecast calls for a dry race throughout. Last year, the weather was good, but the Safety Car came out for fifteen minutes in the first hour, allowing 187 laps to be completed in the six hours.

If we do get a dry, green race then that would suggest that 190 laps would be possible this year. In the end, it will come down to the question of who is able to maintain the suggested average lap times above as well as double-stinting the tyres… for that will be the key to winning the race, in my opinion.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul,
    Brave stuff!

    I am interested to know if you have made any allowance for the fact that Toyota wont be running with their "Cheaty" rear wing?

    I have been trying to figure out how much of an advantage it gave them at Le Mans and then calculate how that would affect them this weekend. Any ideas?

    On a personal note: you have mentioned a couple of times that things may not be that easy for you at the moment. I am sure I speak for many people who admire and appreciate your work when I say: If I can help, just ask.