Welter Racing WM P87 race car history
|WM P87 technical details|
|Production:||1987 to 1988|
|Top speed:||387 km / h|
|Body and chassis|
|Body styles:||closed coupe|
|Suspension:||independent front and rear|
|Engine and Powertrain|
|Engine Type:||Peugeot PRV V6|
|Engine power:||890 hp|
|Fuel Aspiration:||2 Garrett Turbos|
The Welter WM P87 was a group C sports car developed by Welter Racing the sports car was used for racing at Le mans in 1987 until 1988.
In 1976, Gérard Welter and Michel Meunier set up a racing team to race regularly with sports cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans . The small racing team developed surprisingly fast racing cars, which, however, often lacked the stability. Finish arrivals at the 24-hour race in western France remained the exception. After the end of the race in 1986 , which had ended in addition to a failure of the P86 at least with the 12th place overall of the P83B , driven by Claude Haldi , Roger Dorchy and Pascal Pessiot Welter decided to bundle the limited resources in a new project.The goal now was to surpass the 400 km / h barrier of top speed at the fastest point in the race in one of the next two years. There was a lot of preparatory work to do. First, Welter had to convince the responsible of the ACO of sense and feasibility of the company. Above all, it was about moving the ACO to official measurements so that any record would be recognized.
Then a tire manufacturer had to be found who supplied the necessary products. The French tire manufacturer Michelin supplied tires with a special compound and guaranteed a speed of 410 km / h.
Even the drivers had to be involved in advance, because such high speeds were and are the exception even in professional motorsports. Philippe Gache , Roger Dorchy and Dominique Delestre agreed to drive a vehicle that could reach this top speed in 1987 at Le Mans .
The basis of the project and the key to the long-standing cooperation between Welter and Peugeot was the PRV engine . Many observers saw in the 1980s behind the championship race car also a hidden Peugeot factory deployment. Welter had excellent contacts with the Peugeot board as Peugeot designer, but the factory team was never the Welter team. The PRV engine was a cooperation of Peugeot, Renault and Volvo and intended for the series. Derivatives of it found the way into the motorsport. In 1987, Welter was able to fall back on the most powerful model of this type of engine. The 2.8-liter V6 engine had two turbochargers and made 890 hp.
For five months, Welter was allowed to use the Peugeot wind tunnel in Sochaux every Sunday . Almost all World Cup prototypes had concealed rear wheel arches; In the case of the P87, particular attention was paid to this component. Every little wind turbulence on the sidewalls wanted to avoid the Welter aerodynamics . The team also found a special solution for the air supply to the intercoolers. Through special pipes under the suspension, the air was sucked under the car. In order to be able to make optimum use of the ground effect , the P87 had an extended wheelbase compared to its predecessor models. First attempts without rear wing were given up again, since the car in the curves had almost no balance.
At the Le Mans test days in May 1987, the team hardly came to drive. Roger Dorchy barely made two laps in a row as there were constant problems with engine management. The fastest measured speed on the Ligne Droite des Hunaudières was 356 km / h. A high speed, but not record-breaking. In the welter workshop, the problem was solved with the engine management and re-tested the car on a new and not yet opened motorway section. The measurement carried out by Welter showed 416 km / h: at the wheel again Roger Dorchy. Whether the measurement of Welter was really accurate remains open to this day.
The race at Le Mans was short. In training, the team reached only the 21st place on the grid, which nobody was surprised, because in the curves, the car lost a lot of time. In the race - Roger Dorchy drove the first stints - went after 13 laps the turbocharger defective and the team had to give up. The ACO reported 387 km / h as the highest speed .
In 1988 Welter returned to Le Mans. The P88 differed from the P87 by an even more powerful engine. Roger Dorchy officially broke through the 400 km / h barrier at 405 km / h. The P87 was also used again. Pascal Pessiot and Jean-Daniel Raulet stopped a broken gear after 22 laps.