Following a year that saw the company inaugurate a new engine for America’s reborn Indy Lights program and the conclusion of a successful three-year engagement as sole engine supplier to the GP3 series, Advanced Engine Research, Ltd. looks toward the 2016 season with the renewal of a technical relationship with Mazda in the US-based International Motor Sports Association’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series and the continuation of AER’s title-winning World Endurance Championship LMP1 programme.
“This was another good year for AER, one in which our company continued its history of steady growth by fully meeting our clients’ needs,” said Mike Lancaster, the company’s managing director. “2015 underlined to the international motorsports community that AER is the premier source for leading edge powerplant solutions that are competitive, reliable and cost-effective.”
A highlight of 2015 according to Lancaster was the successful introduction to the American Indy Lights series of the Mazda MZR-R engine. With an internal project nomenclature of P63, the new engine, which is manufactured and supported by AER, was developed specifically for use in the new Dallara Indy Lights chassis from the company’s successful Mazda four-cylinder 2-liter sports car engine.
In developing the Mazda MZR-R for a series where entrant cost is of paramount concern and all competitors use the same chassis and engine, AER focused its efforts on providing an engine that hit the series organizer’s performance, reliability and cost targets. With an all-aluminium structure, the fully-stressed engine features a dry weight of 104 kg (230 lbs.) and produces 450 horsepower (with another 50 horsepower available with a push-to-pass feature). With a 6,000-mile maintenance interval the P63 allows a team to go an entire season without a rebuild and helps AER supply the engine for an extremely cost-effective lease for the 10-race season.
The 2015 Indy Lights season saw 16 drivers contest all or part of the 10-race schedule. With the series earning high marks from existing teams, the series anticipates substantial growth for the 2016 season. “We’re prepared to support as many additional teams as the series is able to recruit,” Lancaster said.
World Endurance Championship / LMP1 Privateer Endurance Trophy Sweep
The most sophisticated performance at cost-effective value is a key feature for entrants in the FIA’s privateer LMP1 class in the WEC. This year the championship was a hard-fought contest between the REBELLION Racing and ByKOLLES teams, both of which relied on AER’s P60 engines. Created in-house specifically to address the requirements of the FIA’s fuel-flow restricted formula for LMP1, the gasoline-fueled P60 features a clean-sheet V6 design, twin turbos and direct injection (GDI) system based on an application designed for a Formula One manufacturer, which provides increased horsepower, drivability and fuel mileage with wider power and torque curves. The P60 provided outstanding performance for both championship-contending teams.
Interest in the class is growing as an alternative to LMP2 for sports car teams and Lancaster says the company has had discussions with prospective entrants for the 2016 season.
Renewed Collaboration with Mazda’s Prototype Efforts in IMSA
After experimenting for two seasons with an internally-developed diesel engine, Mazda Motorsports has opted to renew its relationship with AER for the development of a gasoline-fueled powerplant for its 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Prototype category campaign with the Speedsource team. The new model (the Mazda designation is yet to be announced) is a further evolution of the championship-winning MZR-R (AER nomenclature P41 & P70 / P80 / P90) four-cylinder turbo engines that the company supplied to Mazda Motorsports from 2007 through 2012.
“We are pleased to be working again with Mazda Motorsports in Prototype racing,” Lancaster said, noting that in 2011 Mazda with Dyson Racing and AER ran the table in the IMSA American Le Mans Series LMP1 category, taking manufacturer, driver (Chris Dyson and Guy Smith) and team championships. “Working closely with Mazda and the Speedsource team, we are prepared to support championship-caliber performances. AER’s previous Mazda sports car engines were designed for endurance racing reliability, and the new engine has built on that foundation. So we hope we’ll be able to help Mazda Motorsports and its team be competitive right from the start of the IMSA season with the Rolex 24 at Daytona.”
The new engine is scheduled to make its debut in IMSA pre-season testing at Daytona International Speedway, January 8-10.
Final GP3 Season a Success
2015 saw the successful conclusion of AER’s three-year contract as sole supplier of engines for the international GP3 single-seater series. The P57 GP3 3.4-liter V6 fully-stressed all-aluminum engine produces 450 horsepower and features fly-by-wire. Designed for lightness and reliability, the P57, like the new Indy Lights engine, was designed go a full season without servicing. It completed its first year (2013) without a race retirement resulting from engine failure, and subsequent seasons were successful.
“GP3 was an excellent program for AER,” Lancaster said. “But with the end of our contract with the series organizers, we now have the capacity to expand our other programs. We’ve always believed that to achieve long-term success it’s necessary for us to have controlled growth. The 2016 season promises to be a very good one for AER and its clients.”
Source. Advanced Engine Research/Photo. Rebellion Racing