This is racing progress in its finest form.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- June 9, 2012
Audi sent me a clip of the e-tron Quattro with some short interviews including one with one of the premiere drivers in the Le Mans Racing series, Audi’s Allan McNish. I think you will find his comments both forthright and prescient
In addition, they sent me the base spec sheet of both the R18 e-tron Quattro and its sister ship, the R18 TDI Ultra.
Audi will compete with two different models at the Le Mans 24 Hours next week – the R18 e-tron quattro and the R18 ultra.
When the technical and logistical teams prepare for the year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, a complex prep phase was followed by the most intensive week of the year. Audi Sport and Audi Sport Team Joest are ready for the > 3,000 mile race. The team(s) try to predict all the things that could possibly go wrong, practice the exchange of vulnerable parts time and again, check the fit of spare parts on the subsequent race car, establish emergency plans for repairs and preassemble entire component assemblies such as the suspension corners on the chassis.
For the 2012 Le Mans racing season, Audi is competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with two models – the R18 ultra and the R18 e-tron quattro. This first diesel hybrid race car at Le Mans fundamentally differs from the conventionally powered model in some respects. The e-tron quattro, for example, has an electrically driven front axle in addition to the conventional rear-wheel drive, a motor generator unit (MGU) on the front axle, a rotating mass storage device, an additional cooling system and new detailed solutions.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich:
"The R18 ultra is the basis that has made it possible to make the R18 e-tron quattro reality in the first place. We would have had no chance if we hadn’t achieved the weight saving between our 2011 Le Mans winner, the R18 TDI, and the current R18 ultra because we had to additionally package the entire hybrid system in the vehicle. And in spite of this, we continued to pursue the aim of staying below the minimum weight of 1,980 pounds in order to have some latitude to balance the car with ballast."
The Audi R18 ultra uses exactly the same monocoque as its sister model featuring, among other things, two openings for the front drive shafts which of course are only needed for the quattro all-wheel drive.
“I was on the pole and won the first race with diesel at Sebring. … People are looking for innovation; they are looking for the next development.”
“It is very progressive… Without a doubt in my mind, it is the next generation and it is quite exciting to be a part of it.”
“They would not have decided to bring e-tron Quattro to one of the worlds hardest races the Le Mans 24 Hours if they did not believe it was more efficient and better than what they already had and what they already had has just about won everything in sight.”
Tom Kristensen, another of Audi’s premier drivers:
Technical Specifications for the Audi R18 e-tron quattro and ultra
“What it means to me? At the moment it means the future”.
Version: February 2012
: Audi R18 e-tron quattro / Ultra
Vehicle type: Le Mans Prototype (LMP1)
Monocoque: Carbon-fiber composite with aluminum honeycomb, tested according to the strict FIA crash and safety standards.
Turbocharged 120° V6, 4 valves per cylinder, DOHC, 1 Garrett turbocharger, mandatory intake air restrictor of 1
x 45.8 mm diameter and turbo boost pressure limited to 2.8 bar absolute, diesel direct injection TDI Fully stressed aluminum cylinder block, diesel particle filter
Engine management: Bosch MS24
Engine lubrication: Dry sump, Castrol
Displacement: 3,700 cc
Power: > 375 kW / 510 hp
Torque: > 627 lb-ft.
Type of accumulator: Electric flywheel accumulator, max 500 KJ, WHP
Motor Generator Unit (MGU): MGU on the front axle, water cooled with integrated power electronics, 2 x 75 kW
Type of drive Rear wheel drive, traction control (ASR), four-wheel drive e-tron quattro from 74 mph*
Clutch: Carbon clutch
Gearbox: Sequential, electrically activated 6-speed racing gearbox
Differential: Limited-slip rear differential
Gearbox housing: Carbon-fiber composite with titanium inserts
Driveshafts: Constant velocity sliding tripod universal joints
Steering: Electrical assisted rack and pinion steering
Suspension: Front and rear double wishbone independent suspension, front pushrod system and rear pull rod system with adjustable dampers.
Brakes: Hydraulic dual circuit brake system, monobloc light alloy brake calipers, ventilated carbon disc brakes front and rear, infinitely manually adjustable front and rear brake balance.
Wheels: O.Z. magnesium forged wheels
Tires Michelin Radial, Front: 360/710-18, Rear: 370/710-18
Length: 15.25 ft.
Width: 6.56 ft.
Height: 3.38 ft.
Minimum weight: 1,980 pounds
Fuel tank capacity: 15.3 gal US*/15.85 gal US
*Different specification for R18 e-tron quattro
I am sure you all know what I am thinking... < 2,000 pounds, a 6-speed automated manual gearbox, a 3.7L V6 TDI that would need to be detuned and shrouded in a very small frontal area shell should be worth about 40.x mpg out on the interstate ...