While the 24 Hours of Le Mans finished only three weeks ago, a group of students of the Eindhoven University of Technology and the Fontys University of Applied Sciences is already looking forward to the future.
With innovation in motorsports on their mind, the team is working hard to prepare a new vehicle for Le Mans’ Garage 56, the IM01 (InMotion 01), a race car that contains future technologies for road cars and race cars.
The all-new IM01 should be completed at the end of 2015, with the aim to run it at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 2016 and break Stefan Bellof’s lap record of 6:11.13. The team wants to be in Garage 56 and compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017 or 2018.
The car will be equipped with a hybrid drivetrain, with all four wheels individually connected to electric motors. As a result the car will have four-wheel-drive at all times. A battery inside the car will give the car its power and regenerative braking will charge the battery.
A rotary engine will be added as a range extender, because it’s not yet possible to do a 24-hour race on full electric. A pre-set RPM means the engine will be 60 percent efficient, much more efficient than the traditional engines.
Being an energy efficient race car, the heat that is generated by the engine and electric motors will be used to enhance the aerodynamics of the car, much like the blown diffusers in Formula 1 worked.
Due to the design of the car, the driver will only be able to see straight ahead and will use cameras and displays to view other angles. Like the Nissan ZEOD RC, it will not have rear-view mirrors.
InMotion aims to build an autonomous car within the next five to ten years, but the IM01 will still have a driver behind the wheel.
In 2013, a car designed by students of the Eindhoven University of Technology won the Cruiser class of the South Australian Motor Sport Board-organized World Solar Challenge.