Peugeot recently launched its entrant for 2011 endurance races with its 90X and today was Audi’s turn with its striking looking R18.
The R18 is a closed coupe that has been specifically developed for the Le Mans 24 Hours. A new DTM car is also being built at Audi Sport. In addition, Audi will extend and restructure its customer sport program.
Audi aims to continue its string of victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours with a completely new LMP1 sports car development. Since its debut in 1999, the brand with the Four Rings has won the world’s most important endurance race as many as nine times with the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI models.
In doing so, Audi has equaled this feat in the race’s roll of honor with Ferrari. With the new R18, which was presented at the Audi Sportpark in Ingolstadt on the evening of Friday, December 10, 2010, Audi is aiming for its tenth Le Mans success in 2011.
For the first time since 1999, Audi will contest Le Mans with a closed coupe again. “In the future, aerodynamic efficiency will be even more important at Le Mans than it was in the past,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “A closed car has clear advantages in this respect. Our computer simulations have been confirmed in the wind tunnel and during initial track tests.”
Significantly smaller engines than those used before will be prescribed at Le Mans in 2011 as the rule makers aim to achieve a substantial reduction of engine power. By opting for a 3.7-liter V6 TDI unit, Audi retains the diesel concept that saw its first victorious fielding in 2006.
“From our point of view, the TDI continues to be the most efficient technology,” says Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Development at Audi Sport. “There are good reasons why the share of TDI units among Audi’s production models is as high as it is.”
Through the innovative V6 TDI engine for the Le Mans 24 Hours, motorsport is yet again performing pioneering work for the production arm at Audi where there is a growing trend towards smaller, more economical but yet powerful engines. Another new development is the six-speed transmission in the R18 which has been specifically modified for use with the smaller engine.