With the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours events coming up again next year, Audi is looking to repeat past successes with its e-tron platform in the form of the R18 e-tron quattro. It is a new Le Mans prototype said to have been redeveloped from scratch that sports a hybrid drivetrain.
The R18 e-tron quattro, according to Audi, is said to be the most complex racing vehicle it has ever built. While basic elements from back in 2012 have been kept, due in part to new technical racing regulations, ” a large number of principal definitions, which concern the powertrain, body dimensions, safety and aerodynamics, were re-determined.” The key details in this latest iteration include:
- A further developed V6 TDI mid-engine powers the rear wheels
- e-tron quattro hybrid system at the front axle (ERS-K – Energy Recovery System Kinetic, a system to store kinetic energy)
- Optimized flywheel energy storage system
- Hybrid system with an electric turbocharger in the internal combustion engine (ERS-H – Energy Recovery System Heat, a system that stores energy converted from heat)
“The next Audi R18 e-tron quattro represents a completely new generation of Le Mans prototypes,” said head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich in a statement. “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.”