Open source development--the practice of giving users full access to a product's design--has made the leap from software to objects its designer-consumers can actually touch. Now it's making another leap, to racing.
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Perrinn myTeam claims to be the world's first open-source race team, and it plans to enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015 with an all-wheel-drive hybrid LMP1 car, which means the team would be competing against the likes of Audi, Porsche and Toyota. Everything about the car--from CAD drawings to its maker's financials--will be available online for anyone to scrutinize.
The project is the brainchild of Nicholas Perrinn, a former Formula One engineer based in Yorkshire, England. He views the open-source method as an alternative way to attract funding for the Le Mans effort. The project won't be crowd-sourced but Perrinn hopes the edgy, digital-centric approach will attract sponsors.
He also hopes myTeam will give race fans an opportunity to see what goes into a top-tier operation. Input will be solicited for every decision--from driver choice to the livery of the open-source Le Mans Prototype.
While race teams are known for secrecy, there will be massive amounts of data available on the myTeam car, including information on its aeordynamic performance and suspension settings. People will even be able to 3D-print a model of the car, or drive it in a computer simulator.
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Armchair engineering won't raise the 8.5 million pounds (around $14 million) Perrinn estimates is needed to make the car race-ready, so the team will tour Europe with a model this summer to drum up support. It's expected to make appearances in London, Paris, and Zurich.
If you're interested in the project, check out the team's website for updates and open-source information.