Audi R18

Audi R18

Audi has revealed its new racer for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and Le Mans 24 Hours – the 2016 Audi R18. The new LMP1 competitor has supposedly been “redesigned from scratch,” and is equipped with even more radical aerodynamics, a new carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) safety cell and a heavily updated hybrid powertrain.

At the heart of it, the Audi R18 features a TDI diesel hybrid powertrain. This combines a 4.0 litre turbocharged V6 engine and a Motor Generator Unit (MGU) to deliver up to 1,000 hp. Its total system output has not been revealed, but it is said that the diesel mill alone produces 514 hp and more than 850 Nm of torque.

The engine’s power is sent to the rear wheels via a sequential six-speed racing transmission. On the other hand, the electric power unit is charged with driving the front wheels, effectively forming Audi’s e-tron quattro all-wheel drive system.

Fuel consumption has also been improved by 10% overall, with the new hybrid powertrain also recovering 50% more energy than the previous racer. Audi has been awarded top marks by the FIA, as per WEC regulations that set aside certain incentives for manufacturers with increasingly efficient cars.

Audi R18

Audi R18

For the first time, Audi is also switching to a lithium-ion accumulator. The new energy storage system is positioned within a high-strength safety structure in the CFRP monocoque, with a low-temperature cooling circuit used to cool the battery cells, MGU, and power electronics.

The Audi R18’s exterior proportions and aerodynamic items have also been completely revised for the 2016 season. Changes have been made to help the car to reduce unwanted aerodynamic lift at the front end and create greater downforce. You can also spot Audi’s Matrix LED and laser light technology headlamps up front for, combined for better night time illumination.

“The new proportions influence weight distribution and aerodynamics,” explains Jorg Zander, head of engineering at Audi Sport. “Our most important objective was to improve airflow,” he added. The car has been sculpted to better direct airflow towards the underfloor. The air is channelled under the car and towards the rear diffuser, creating a major portion of the downforce from beneath the race car itself.