The concept driving the design was to ensure much better exploitation of the airflow over the body and particularly to the rear wing. To achieve this, the external cockpit area has been much reduced, though the car is actually more spacious inside, making a smaller hole in the air and allowing the car to use a much smaller, more aerodynamic engine cover.
In addition, the air-intake that had sat on top of the car in previous generation Speed 8s has been deleted in favour of snorkel-type intakes on the sides of the car. This not only further increases the efficiency of the air-flow over the car, it also lowers the height of the car, lending it a much more sleek, aggressive appearance. Early testing results have indicated that not only does the 2003 Speed 8 have a more favourable downforce to drag ratio than its predecessor, it also offers much more consistent aerodynamic performance in all conditions making the car both quicker and easier to drive.
Underneath the new skin the 4-litre engine has been re-engineered around the new regulations for 2003 that dictated a 10 per cent reduction in engine restrictor size across all classes competing at Le Mans. It has been necessary to redesign many internal engine components as well as evolve a new electronics strategy for the engine to minimise the shortfall in power that the new regulations will bring to all competing teams.
The suspension has been entirely redesigned as well, partly to improve further its behaviour, but also so it can be adapted to suit its new Michelin tyres. All the geometry has been changed, even the mounting points of the rear suspension on the gearbox.