It’s back and it’s meaner than ever. That pretty much described the new Audi R18 e-Tron quattro LMP1 machine during its launch in Audi Sport Finale event in Munich. The Ingolstadt premium car manufacturer claims that the 2016 Audi R18 Le Mans Prototype is the most powerful and most efficient race car the company has ever built.
This R18 is set to become Audi’s weapon of choice in the prestigious LMP1 category in next year’s World Endurance Championship (WEC). The new R18 retains the diesel powertrain from its predecessor and has been upgraded into 6MJ energy retrieval. Audi also follows this year’s title winning Porsche by ditching the flywheel energy storage in favour of the lithium-ion battery solution in its hybrid system.
The biggest changes go to the bodywork that’s now designed to maximise aerodynamic performance. That said, the designer of this car could also have been a big fan of Darth Vader.
Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullric said, “With our new Audi R18, we’re setting a clear signal: Audi continues to put the pedal to the metal in motorsport, deliberately relying on TDI – the world’s most successful automotive efficiency technology – at Le Mans.”
Meanwhile, in charge with piloting the brand new race car are the same duo from this year’s WEC. Just like its sister company Porsche, the third car lineup, usually raced in Spa and Le Mans, will be dropped for next year.
Porsche had won not just the driver’s and manufacturer’s title this year, but also finished 1-2 at the the 24 Hours of Le Mans held some months back. The 2016 WEC season will kick start in the Six Hours of Silverstone on 17 April.