The 2014-generation Audi R18 e-tron quattro is the most complex race car ever built by Audi. At first glance, the new hybrid sports car appears much likethe World Championship winning car and Le Mans winner of the past two years. However, due to the new LMP1 regulations that will come into effect in 2014, Audi Sport factually redeveloped every single component.
“The next Audi R18 e-tron quattro represents a completely new generation of Le Mans prototypes,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “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. Making more out of less: a forward-thinking approach.”
Chris Reinke, Head of LMP at Audi Sport, talks about a ‘revolution in thinking.’ “A fundamental approach to motorsport is being abandoned. Instead of power output, energy consumption will be subject to limitations – this is in line with the spirit of our times and opens up great technical freedoms to the engineers. In 2014, we’ll be seeing a wide variety of concepts on the grid at Le Mans.”
The basic elements of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro’s new configuration were defined back in 2012 and the design of all the single components started at the end of 2012. The new LMP1 sports car was rolled out in the early fall of 2013, followed by track tests of the most recent R18.
In the new Technical Regulations, a large number of principal definitions, which concern the powertrain, body dimensions, safety and aerodynamics, were re-determined. With the new R18, Audi Sport has opted for a similar concept as in the past – albeit with innovative detailed solutions and an additional hybrid system.
The key details are as follows:
- A further developed V6 TDI mid-engine powers the rear wheels
- e-tron quattro hybrid system at the front axle (ERS-K – Energy Recovery System Kinetic, a system to store kinetic energy)
- Optimised flywheel energy storage system
- Hybrid system with an electric turbocharger in the internal combustion engine (ERS-H – Energy Recovery System Heat, a system that stores energy converted from heat)