#LeMansDay at the Petersen Automotive Museum

by Khiem Dinh


The Petersen Automotive Museum has started a tradition of holding a 24 Heures du Mans (that’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in English) watch party. This year, a little competition on Forza was also held to be entered into a raffle to win a set of tires from Michelin. But really, the Petersen Automotive Museum has a stunning array of vehicles showing both history and modern technology, so anyone should visit the museum regardless. 


This 911 GT1 from 1997 raced at Le Mans with only three examples having been built. Dashes and steering wheels were much more simple 20 years ago. 


It basically looks like a 911 that got squished, stretched, and had fender flares added. The body work seems more simple and elegant compared to modern GT cars with more intricate aero devices. 


The museum has a room with a half dozen of these driving setups used for the Forza competition. I wish I had a similar seat in Project S2000. The pedal spacing is proper racecar tight, so if you have wide shoes on, you’ll have issues with left-foot braking. The time to beat to get into the raffle was 4:30. The car was the Le Mans winning Porsche 919 LMP1 and the track was Le Mans of course! The lap is run from a standing start and the transmission is in full auto. I’ve never played Forza before, so I’m guessing there are some default traction control and ABS settings that I’m guessing where left on. The Porsche 919 being a hybrid with electric motors driving the front tires made the car pull out of corners with absolutely no drama; there was no chance of throttle oversteer. I had one little off that probably cost me about 5 seconds and I ended up running a 3:58. Not great, but reasonable I guess since I’ve never played Forza before. 


There was this really sweet display for race day. You could pick any one of the GT class cars (Ferrari 488 in this case) and as you moved the slider across the display, it showed the race car variant. The goal was to show the link between the GT race cars and their street car based roots. 

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017 7:26 AM
Quattroporte literally means "four doors." Not a super creative name. The newest Quattroportes can be had with AWD, but they were traditionally RWD.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 8:49 AM
@gasinmyviens, duh, I should have just thought in French where 'porte' is door. Italian translates into French better than English I've noticed.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 3:34 PM
I haven't been to the Petersen since they renovated it but now I want to go. Thanks!
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 5:43 PM
I wonder what 'benefit' the design engineer thought they were getting by having a front strut mount in single shear. The part looks huge, and quite a compromise over the typical 'horse-shoe' looking part that saddles the driveshaft and is, typically, in double shear.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 5:50 PM
On the Hybrid front, I'm pretty excited to see how Free-Piston Linear Generator technology develops. I'd love to see the first vehicle to use this on the market ASAP.

A new free piston engine linear generator (FPEG) from Toyota Central in Maine is a case in point.

"The piston is called “free” because there is no crankshaft. On its power stroke, the piston dumps its kinetic energy into the fixed windings which surround it, generating a shot of three-phase AC electricity. It can be run sparkless through a diesel cycle or run on standard gasoline. What has folks excited is the claimed thermal efficiency for the device — at 42% it blows away the engines used in cars today. Toyota’s demo engine, just 8 inches around and 2 feet long, was able to generate 15 hp. A two-cylinder model would be self-balancing and have much reduced vibration."

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 6:16 PM
@Matt, I went on the last day before the remodel. It's MUCH nicer now! Getting to see the McLarens and Ferraris is worth it alone. There is also a room with Dan Gurney's race machines. And just lots of other cool things spanning the last 100 years of cars and motorcycles.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 6:28 PM
@ginsu, likely a packaging issue. Looking where you'd want the other half of the horseshoe at the bottom of the strut, there's the front sway bar end link. So they apparently didn't have another location to put the sway bar.

I'd seen that FPEG a long time ago. Modern diesel engines in R&D are almost 50% brake thermal efficiency. Modern gas engines are like 40% BTE too.
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