Audi has unveiled its 2016 challenger for the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours race. The new LMP1 continues to use Quattro AWD and hybrid powertrain, that apart, it has little in common with its predecessor.
The V6 diesel engine and the powertrain together deliver over 1000bhp and is still 10 per cent more efficient that the previous year’s race car. It has a smaller monocoque for better aerodynamics, yet manages to accommodate a larger hybrid unit to move up from four to six mega joule LMP1 category.
The previous car used flywheel energy storage system for energy recuperation, while the new one uses a battery – essentially moving to electrochemical technology from the electro-mechanical system. The R18 has just hit the minimum weight of the LMP1 racer of 870kg, also for safety and weight-saving Audi has opted for gullwing doors.
Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, says, “The result is a race car that manages energy even more effectively than before. This is an objective we’re pursuing for our road-going automobiles as well. This type of motorsport continues to set an example for automotive engineering. For Audi, production relevance has been a core topic of all racing programs for 35 years.”