Fans anxious to unwrap presents

December 24, 2013

Fans anxious to unwrap presents

December 24, 2013

audiWith Christmas a day away, three of the most anticipated new cars on the international endurance sports car horizon, the 2014 P1 entries from Audi and Porsche, and the TUDOR Championship GT bound Corvette, have been racking up miles in testing, but always wearing the latest in photographer frustrating camouflage.

Audi was the first to unwrap its present, releasing photos and some info on its latest R18. The defending Le Mans champions will go with a turbo V6 diesel, a pair of energy recovery systems and a flywheel on their newest steed, designed to meet the tough new FIA-ACO-WEC demands to showcase more energy efficient performance technologies

Fans will wait until after Christmas for the black and white camouflage to be removed from the other two.

Porsche has completed its 2013 testing rounds and given new recruit Mark Webber his first laps, but the wrapping remains. The car now has a designation, the 919 hybrid, but appeared on stage at the Porsche annual festivities with its wrappings intact. The technical details are also yet to be disclosed.

Corvette has been in private testing since the new C7 R made its only public appearance in a surprise one-lap dash at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion last August. The Corvette is now slated to make its public debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 13.

Why all the secrecy? Simple. When the world’s top manufacturers roll their latest designs and technology out in open competition, they want to hold every possible advantage as long as possible. There are no bonus points to be gained for tipping off the competition to design features that can still be copied.

Early tests are often conducted at the manufacturer’s proving grounds or partner test tracks. Potentially “leaky” or less secure venues are avoided in the early test cycles. Additional security often patrols the track perimeter to seek out spy photographers.

Lest you think the manufacturers and teams are simply paranoid, consider that many, if not all, retain photographers, not only to shoot their own cars, but to capture images of every angle and every part exposed on the their competition.

AutoWeek’s ever present, Steven Cole Smith, reports that in Audi’s most recent test at Sebring, the Audi compound was set on the backside of the 3.7 mile circuit, accessible only by a sentry guarded one-lane bridge.

Soon enough, the camo will disappear, the cars will break cover and the 2014 race season will begin. And, the competition in the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship should provide fans with happy racing holidays all season long.

Latest Photos

Latest Video

A memorable IMSA season ended with the excitement of Motul Petit Le Mans

Wednesday October 18, 2023