The Audi R18 Le Mans Prototype Unveiled
Audi’s new Le Mans LMP1 racecar will be a closed-cockpit model, like rival Peugeot’s. The company’s R18 debuted earlier today in Ingolstadt and is the key to Audi’s bid for a 10th Le Mans 24 win.
Less powerful engines, according to new Le Mans rules, means the new car will rely more on aerodynamic efficiency, thus the importance of a roof. Like Audi’s previous LMP1 cars, the R18 will get a smaller TDI powerplant than the R10’s V12 and the R15’s V10 — a 3.7-liter V6. Also, Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich says the R18’s been designed for “progressive” electrification, leaving the door (if not the roof) open for some form of energy recovery and transfer system.
According to the press release, the LEDs of the daytime running lights form the shape of a “1,” recalling Audi’s historic brand logo.
The R18 won’t be at Sebring, however — that honor will go to the R15. The R18 will make its race debut at the Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours in May, 2011, before moving on to the Le Mans 24, Imola 6, Silverstone 6, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October 2011, and China 6 hours.