Next-Gen Audi R18 Le Mans Racer more Complex Amid Regulations

By Matthew Askari | December 12, 2013
Audi's near unchallenged dominance of Le Mans receives a twist as new regulations have required alterations to its R18 LMP1 race car. With new regulations focused on efficiency and safety, the R18 e-tron quattro may look the same as the car that took to the track last year, but Audi ensures us there's a different recipe at play.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich explains "the 2014-generation Audi R18 e-tron quattro represents a completely new generation of Le Mans prototypes. The principles of the LMP1 regulations have fundamentally changed. The idea behind this is to achieve similarly fast lap times as in the past with considerably less energy."
The R18 is still powered by a V-6 TDI mid-engine that powers the rear wheels, while an e-tron quattro hybrid system at the front axle also uses a Recovery System Kinetic, which as one might assume, stores kinetic energy. For the first time ever, the R18 will employ a hybrid system with an electric turbocharger in the internal combustion engine, which can takes heat created from the turbo and store it in the flywheel. Essentially, this is the most complex race car Audi has ever built. There are physical alterations too; New regulations require the car to be 20 mm higher, and the cockpit is also made marginally larger. But there are enhancements such as slimmer wheels, which reduce drag, and the body is also 10 cm slimmer. The R18 e-tron quattro will kick off the racing season at the UK's Silverstone Track in 2014, before the build up and culmination at Le Mans June 14 and 15. Source: Audi