Audi has revealed its contender for next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Endurance Championship. Despite the new car looking very much like a development version of the one it raced in the past two years, new Le Mans Prototype 1 regulations have made it necessary for the German carmaker to redevelop every single component of the car.
"The next Audi R18 e-Tron Quattro represents a completely new generation of Le Mans prototypes," said Audi Motorsport boss 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."
Based on the new technical regulations, specifically those that concern the powertrain, body dimensions, safety and aerodynamics, the R18 e-Tron Quattro for 2014 is equipped with:
* An updated V6 TDI mid-engine that powers the rear wheels;
* An e-Tron Quattro hybrid system at the front axle equipped with ERS-K (Energy Recovery System Kinetic, which stores kinetic energy);
* An optimized flywheel energy-storage system; and
* A hybrid system with an electric turbocharger in the internal-combustion engine with ERS-H (Energy Recovery System Heat, which stores energy converted from heat).
The R18 e-Tron Quattro is also equipped with laser lights to complement the car's main LED headlights. According to Audi, a blue laser beam backlights a yellow phosphorus crystal lens through which the light beam is then emitted, providing "an even more homogenous lighting of the road."
"By using this new lighting technology, Audi is setting yet another milestone at Le Mans," shared Audi board member for technical development Ulrich Hackenberg. "Laser light will also open up completely new possibilities for our production models in the future. Once more, motorsport at Audi accelerates a new technical development for our customers."