There are a handful of things in life that manage to rattle my cage and the use of a well-timed proverb to win argument is one of these. “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” apparently, but then “many hands make light work,” so which is it to be, eh?
Apparently “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” or some such nonsense. But I can tell you this for nothing: beauty certainly isn’t to be found in next year’s Le Mans prototype vehicles, that’s for sure.
You see, 2010’s LMP sports cars will look very different: they will all sport a large dorsal fin. It’s not in the slightest bit pretty, but it should prevent them from taking flight as spectacularly demonstrated by Stephan Ortelli at Monza in 2008 when his Courage went skywards. His was just a spate of rolls which caused the FIA to set up a working group, composed of the ACO, sports car manufacturers and engineers, charged with finding answers.
And answers they found. All LMP1 and 2, open and closed, will have to comply, adding a garish looking fin of up to 0.3sq m within a defined space to the rear of the car. This isn’t just to keep the car straight, but should in theory keep the car rooted to the tarmac as the air rushes over the car sides and meets the fin and piles up against it.
Which all sounds fairly necessary, I mean, we don’t want cars rolling about the place (for a textbook example, search for ‘Masahiro Hasemi, Nissan, Fuji 1991’ into YouTube), but egods, they’re so pigging ugly, aren’t they?
The shots of the Peugeot 908 HDI carrying the mandatory fin during a private test at Monza in October made me wince, but the pictures of Audi’s latest Le Mans challenger, the R18, is something else. Like Sarah Jessica Parker, it ain’t pretty.
From the front it looks perfectly fine, but from any other angle it looks like a bit of a mess. The closed-cockpit I can just about live with (I prefer them to be open), but it’s that retched fin that makes it look terrible.
I fully understand why it’s there, and that moaning about it will solve nothing, but couldn’t they have made it lower? Perhaps no higher than the mainplane of the rear wing? At least then the bodywork of the R18 would look a little more natural instead of shouting ‘this ugly fin is only here because it’s mandatory, ha ha’.
The Peugeot looked shoddy as well with the big flat piece of carbon fibre stuck on the back and this is only the start of things to come. These retched fins will ruin the sleek, elegant looking prototypes that we’re currently used to, and will make me want to gouge my eyes out and throw them at the wall when they all take to the track next year.
Only the cleverest liveries and paint jobs can save these fins. Lipstick on a pig and all that.