Audi is calling its completely redesigned race car its greenest and fastest LMP1 model yet, claiming that it has nothing in common with its earlier iteration. This is a fair statement to make as the R18 has been redesigned from scratch for the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Both of these endurance races are consistently tightening their regulations, encouraging manufacturers, like Audi, to build increasingly efficient cars and create innovative systems that not only improve racing standards, but will also spill onto the road car market.
Radical changes have been made to the race car’s aerodynamics, which includes a new safety cell, among other features. Its hybrid drive system is also battery-operated for the first time and the V6 TDI engine that powers the whole car has been subject to lots of revisions.
Previously, the R18 used a flywheel energy storage system for energy recuperation, but now the new model will be using a battery to gather this energy. Autoguide.com has said that thanks to the new electrochemical storage system, engineers have now managed to triple the amount of energy that the car can recuperate and redistribute. Audi has commented that the new unit is capable of producing an output of 986bhp but, thanks to changes to its system solutions, the car is ten per cent more fuel efficient than the previous R18.
The changes made to the car’s aerodynamics have made the car much lighter, which has also been a large factor contributing to the model’s improvements in fuel efficiency. Not only does the new Audi R18 have a powerful, but efficient foundation, it also cuts an imposing appearance on the track.
Contrasting red and black paintwork makes the model look sharp and aggressive, which is hopefully a nod to its performance in the WEC rounds this year. Motorsport fans will be able to catch their first glimpse of the newly reimagined R18 as early as next month, as Audi will be bringing a pair of them to Silverstone on April 17th, the first race of the 2016 season.
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