Audi’s AWD Turbo Diesel Hybrid is prepped for Le Mans
Ultra lightweight e-tron quattro set to do battle with the Toyota TS030 Hybrid in LMP1.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - June 8, 2012
Audi’s AWD R18 turbo diesel hybrid e-tron quattro - For the first time ever, a Le Mans sports car with a diesel hybrid drivetrain and two driven axles will compete.
The world’s most important endurance race scheduled for June 16 and 17 is the Le Mans 24 Hours and Audi will be there with its latest prototype development vehicles ready to do battle with the world’s largest automobile manufacturer in the form of Toyota.
Audi already has ten victories to its name at the 24 Hour classic and like many other teams; a new challenge of hybridization has been laid before it. Audi’s aim is not only to win Le Mans but to push the envelope of safety and propulsion technology.
An Audi - Le Mans 24 Hour timeline
In 2001, Audi claim the first victory with the combination of turbocharging and direct injection (TFSI), which is standard in production vehicles today.
In 2006, the first turbo diesel-powered race car made headlines.
In 2010, a vehicle with variable turbine geometry (VTG) triumphed for the first time.
Now it is the Audi R18 e-tron quattro – the first race car with diesel hybrid drive at Le Mans that concurrently marks the return of quattro drive. In car number "1" last year’s winners Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer will be starting from the grid. Their team-mates Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish will drive the diesel hybrid marked as number "2."
Audi is also bringing a "twin” of the R18 e-tron quattro to Le Mans: the Audi R18 ultra, the lightest Le Mans prototype ever built by Audi. In the cockpit of the number "3" R18 ultra, Romain Dumas/Loïc Duval/Marc Gené will be taking turns at the wheel. Number "4" will be driven by Marco Bonanomi/Oliver Jarvis/Mike Rockenfeller.
Except for the hybrid system and different graphics, the R18 e-tron quattro and the R18 ultra are technically identical in every respect. Both embody ultra lightweight technology, which is one of the company’s core competencies. The new CFRP transmission housing – the first of its kind in an LMP sports car – is just one example of this ultra lightweight expertise.
In addition, both vehicle concepts are packed with numerous other innovations – from the highly efficient charging concept of the 3.7L V6 TDI engine with its single VTG turbo charger through to the digital rear-view mirror with an active matrix OLED display. It clearly improves active safety, has high relevance for road traffic and is a perfect example of the close association between AUDI AG’s Technical Development and Audi Sport.
The Le Mans 24 Hours has experienced so many different drive concepts. Audi is expecting Toyota to be a strong competitor in the field of the 56 entrants. The test day at the beginning of June saw the first meeting of the two manufacturers in a direct comparison – with Audi taking the win.
All four R18 cars are fielded by Audi Sport Team Joest, the most successful Le Mans team of all time. The driver line-up is a high-caliber one as well. The twelve Audi racers combined have achieved 19 Le Mans victories.
Spectators watching the race at home have numerous information channels available to them. In addition to national television broadcasts, Audi Live Racing will be offering unique cockpit camera perspectives and summaries of the race. The Audi Sport iPhone app will carry comprehensive reports including a ticker, news, pictures and results of the year’s major racing event.
Like the Toyota Hybrid prototype questions, how quick will Audi’s e-tron quattro be vs. the Toyota TS030 Hybrid?
Just 8 more days and we’ll find out first hand.
Re: Audi’s AWD Turbo Diesel Hybrid is prepped for Le Mans
With Speed Channel's coverage of the 24 Hours of Le mans sporadic at best (they continue to cover the Michigan Sprint Cup Practice instead!!!), we have some race facts with a third of the race behind the teams at 8 hours in.
After a third of the race the Audi Sport Team Joest drivers defended their clear 1-2-3 lead. The Lola-Toyota in position four was four laps behind the leading #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven by Marcel Fässler.
Just before he handed the car over to Allan McNish, Dindo Capello lost some time due to a spin in the second chicane. Nevertheless, the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro was still on the same lap like the leader. Marc Gené made his way back to the top ten with his #3 Audi R18 ultra.
Positions after 8 hours:
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