Endurance Racing with the Number 03 Norma M20

Norma M20 on Racetrack
Starting the NASA Endurance Race at Willow Springs

We here at Lang Racing Development have always been specifically focused on endurance racing. While we’ve learned a lot developing our E46 M3 for the NASA ES class a few years ago we always asked ourselves what was next. While campaigning that car in endurance races we were always trying to win overall. Unfortunately, we were always outgunned by teams with bigger budgets. We thought there were probably two routes to go in the future if we wanted to compete for overall wins in endurance racing at NASA WERC. The more expensive route was something like a Porsche GT3 Cup or BMW, Porsche, or Audi GT4 car. That type of vehicle typically wins endurance races due to how sorted out they are by the factory. They aren’t always the quickest in qualifying but they consistently finish.

The type of car that often qualified on pole but didn’t always finish is a closed wheel prototype. These cars are classed in ESR in NASA. The average endurance racers opinion of these cars are extremely fast but also complicated, fragile and can’t perform well in endurance racing. We know our strength is in attention to detail and sorting out reliability issues so we felt this would be a good challenge for our team. Other aspects of prototypes attracted us as well. We could pick up a used one for less than half the price of a GT3/GT4 style car and be significantly faster per lap right out of the gate. The overall cost to run the car would be significantly reduced compared to the sedans we were competing against and had always run. This is mostly due to the reduced weight of the car. The challenges would be not having the resources of the big brands like Porsche and BMW to call and get parts and information from.

There are many prototypes to choose from, and we had to figure out what would work best for our application. We needed something closed wheel to compete in NASA and we also wanted an automotive based engine as they had proven to be more reliable. Motorcycle engine prototypes are very fast, with pretty low running costs, but we weren’t convinced the drivetrains would reliably handle long races. We also wanted something that came equipped with a pretty big fuel cell, because trying to retrofit that would be a huge undertaking

Check back in the series to see what chassis we landed on (if you haven’t figured it out)…

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