If somebody requested me to call Audi’s most profitable race automobiles 20 years in the past, my reply would’ve been easy: the Auto Unions of the Nineteen Thirties and the Quattro rally automobile. Come 2015 and issues are a bit extra sophisticated, as Audi has turn out to be a dominant pressure within the endurance racing scene since 1999. It began with the R8R and the R8 LMP, earlier than Audi switched to diesel energy with the R10 TDI and the R15 TDI. In 2011, the Germans launched the R18, additionally motivated by a turbodiesel engine, however this time round paired to an electrical motor.
2015 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro
The R18 alone gained 15 main endurance events in 2014,together with four 24 Hours of Le Mans races, taking Audi’s Le Mans tally to thirteen and making it the second-most profitable producer after Porsche. With the 2015 World Endurance Championship proper across the nook, Audi is launching a revised model of the R18 that goals to take the nameplate’s success to a brand new degree.
As with every revision, the R18 obtained a reworked physique with improved aerodynamics, a extra highly effective hybrid drivetrain, a much less thirsty diesel powerplant, and new know-how in and out. The 2015 R18’s official monitor debut is ready for April twelfth on the 6 Hours of Silverstone race, however, till then, let’s have a more in-depth take a look at what Audi needed to share about its newest endurance observe automotive.
Exterior and Interior 2015 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro
Though it might nonetheless resemble its predecessors, the brand new R18 e-tron quattro had each inch of its carbon-fiber physique reshaped for diminished aerodynamic drag and higher engine and hybrid system cooling, as effectively optimizing the crash construction. Up entrance, essentially the most noticeable adjustments are the bigger air inlets within the entrance wheel arches, the reshaped splitter and the all-new headlamps.
The agency says the headlamps have been redesigned across the new aerodynamic components and geared up with each Matrix LED and Audi Laserlight applied sciences for the utmost visibility throughout these lengthy night time-time stints on the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The entrance wings are additionally new, as are the facet pods and the extra-compact engine cowl. Adjustments are much less noticeable round again, however the brand new race automobile does function a barely revised diffuser, repositioned exhaust pipes, and extra louvers within the fenders. The physique panels are bolted onto the final yr’s monocoque chassis.
As ordinary, Audi is making ready two physique variations for the varied tracks on the FIA World Endurance Championship calendar, which suggests a longtail R18 might be launched someday earlier than the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.
As all the time, there are not any particulars about contained in the R18 e-tron quattro and no images to stare upon, however I assume the 2015 cockpit can be similar to final yr’s racer. I anticipate the inside to consists of a button-cluttered dashboard with no instrument cluster and a multifunction steering wheel full of switches, knobs and controls. A small show supplies the driving force with important data akin to velocity and rpm.
Holding the driving force in place throughout these lengthy endurance stints is a bolstered racing seat with a six-level Sabelt harness. Most surfaces contained in the cockpit are both uncovered carbon-fiber or wrapped in material and Alcantara. There’s nothing fancy concerning the inside of the R18 e-tron quattro, which is particularly designed to offer the most effective driver atmosphere for endurance racing
The R18’s drivetrain is a carryover from final yr’s automotive, which means there’s a V-6 turbodiesel spinning the rear wheels and a pair of electrical motors related to the entrance wheels, however Audi made sure updates that elevated its output in addition to the vitality recovered throughout braking.
The upgraded four.zero-liter, V-6 diesel delivers 550 horsepower, a big enchancment over final 12 months’s unit, whereas additionally returning higher gas effectivity. Audi doesn’t point out the quantity of gasoline the brand new R18 saves, however burdened that the automobile wants to make use of 2.5 % much less diesel gas per lap than in 2014. The electrical motors are additionally extra highly effective, now sending 268 horses to the entrance axle — a forty-horsepower enchancment.
Audi engineers additionally redesigned the automotive’s vitality restoration system. The Germans estimate they’ve doubled the quantity of vitality from two to 4 megajoules per race lap at Le Mans. In consequence, Audi has elevated the capability of the vitality storage system as nicely. The flywheel vitality storage system mounted within the cockpit can retailer as much as seven-hundred kilojoules of vitality, which is about 17 % greater than in 2014.