Image credits: © Audi.
2012 Audi R18 e-Tron Quattro news, pictures, and information
The beginning of a new era at Audi• Audi R18 e-tron quattro to contest its first race
• Six more weeks to go before the start of the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours
• Technologies from the Le Mans sports car are relevant for production vehicles as well
The race debut of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend signifies the beginning of a new era at Audi. For the first time ever, a Le Mans sports car wîth diesel hybrid drive and two driven axles will compete in a race. For Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich, this is arguably the most challenging project in the more than 30-year history of Audi Sport.
Audi previously marked milestones at Le Mans wîth TFSI gasoline direct injection (first victory in 2001) and TDI diesel power (first victory in 2006). Now, at round two of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Spa, the company's first diesel hybrid sports car will be contesting its first race. The birth of the idea for an LMP vehicle wîth diesel hybrid power and quattro drive at Audi Sport dates back several years though.
'We started to think about the hybridization of a Le Mans sports car relatively soon after the first TDI successes,' reveals Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich. 'A concrete opportunity for this materialized when it became clear that the regulations would be permitting such an option.' In 2008, the Le Mans organizer ACO announced this forward-thinking approach and since 2009 the regulations have expressly been allowing energy recovery systems for LMP1 cars. The complexity of the related tasks is shown by the fact that in 2012 Audi is the first automobile manufacturer to field such an LMP1 vehicle in a race.
|Engine : 6-cylinder|
Power: 510 hp
For the R18 e-tron quattro, Audi has developed a concept in which the V6 TDI engine drives the rear axle. On the front axle, the energy is electrically recuperated und fed into a flywheel energy storage system which can return it to the front wheels during acceleration. This means that there is no mechanical link between the front and rear wheel drives. The interaction is completely controlled by complex electronic systems.
'The decision in favor of flywheel energy storage was made based on the specific requirements relating to racing,' explains Dr. Úllrich. 'That's also why a battery system is currently out of the question in view of our ultra lightweight design. But I can safely state that the things we're testing wîth flywheel energy storage are of interest to our production colleagues too. The combination of different systems is an aspect that will have to be considered in various applications in the future.'
An Audi R8 GT provided the base for the first trials. 'In the initial phase of the concept development for the R18 e-tron quattro when we wanted to get a trial vehicle off the ground as quickly as possible we came up wîth the idea of using the R8 GT as the base for it,' says Dr. Úllrich. 'The implementation was possible at relatively high levels of efficiency and we managed to package all the subsequent original components of the R18 e-tron quattro at the front end of the R8. That's how our prototype for initial set-up and concept work was created.'
In the development phase up to the finished race car, Audi set ambitious goals for developing the R18 e-tron quattro wîth support from various partners. Audi Sport has a track record of successfully managing numerous major technological challenges – from the brand's first carbon fiber race car in 1999 through to TFSI gasoline direct injection and the TDI project. Building a sports prototype wîth a conventionally driven rear axle and an electrified front axle is an accomplishment that ranks at a particularly high level in Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich's book: 'A look at the timeline for the project since the beginning of 2010 shows that the e-tron quattro wîth its highly complex technological content and plenty of new territory was no doubt one of the most challenging projects we've ever had. At the same time, we should not forget that the R18 ultra as the lightest car ever built by Audi Sport created the prerequisites for hybridization in the first place. The overall complexity of this project is enormous.'Source - Audi
Audi brings the quattro back to the race track- World premiere in Munich: the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro
- Four-wheel driven diesel hybrid for the 24 Hours of Le Mans
- Audi ultra lightweight as base for the application of hybrid technology
Motor sport is used yet again by AÚDI AG to pioneer new technology: the brand wîth the four ring's new Le Mans race car is the world's first LMP1 car to combine a highly-efficient TDI wîth a hybrid system. quattro drive also celebrates its comeback to the race track wîth the prototype – in a entirely new form.
Audi R18 e-tron quattro is the name of the new Le Mans prototype that makes its race debut on May 5 in the 6-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) and fights for overall victory at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans (France) on June 16/17. Audi unites two technologies in a fascinating way to create a new type of drive, which is also already being tested for future use in production cars: e-tron quattro.
Hiding behind this description is the next generation four-wheel drive wîth which Audi combines the advantages of the proven quattro drive wîth the potential of electromobility. To this end one vehicle axle is powered conventionally, the second by electric motors.
'Audi has always consciously selected championships and categories in racing that have a close relationship to production and therefore have technical relevance for the Audi customers,' explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich, who personally drove the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro onto the stage on Wednesday evening during its world premiere in the Audi Training Center at Munich airport – electrically and almost silent. 'quattro, TFSI and TDI are three excellent examples of how motorsport has stimulated production development. A similar tendency is apparent wîth the e-tron quattro: we test a completely new technology on the race track before it's introduced to the Audi production line.'
On the Audi R18 e-tron quattro kinetic energy is recovered on the front axle during the braking phase. It is fed as electric into a flywheel accumulator before being retrieved under acceleration again above a speed of 120 km/h. During this procedure only the front axle is integrated. The V6 TDI power plant producing 375 kW (510 hp) continues to transmit its power to the rear wheels. Both systems complement each other to create the new drive principle e-tron quattro.
Project began in February 2010
The project e-tron quattro for motorsport started in February 2010. Only 18 months passed from the initial conceptual ideas to the first test. 'This is a relatively short cycle for a technology that has never been tested in motorsport and which still doesn't even exist in production,' stresses Dr. Martin Mühlmeier, Head of Technology at Audi Sport. 'The challenge is correspondingly big.'
Audi Sport developed the Audi R18 ultra in parallel to the Audi R18 e-tron quattro – because Audi takes a two-pronged approach this year in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the newly created FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) – the 2012 model year Audi R18 is built wîth and without hybrid drive. The trick: the base of both cars is completely identical, which is why the additional logistical effort is kept limited for Audi Sport and the race team.
'The TDI engine invented by Audi is still the most efficient drive in the world,' says Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich. 'We are convinced that the TDI has even more potential. This is why Audi not only supports the hybrid in motorsport as it does in production, but in parallel also the further development of the conventional drive.'
Innovation in transmission area
The R18 e-tron quattro's twin brother more than lives up to its model name ‘R18 ultra': it is the lightest Le Mans prototype that Audi Sport has ever built. To compensate for the additional weight of the hybrid system the subject of lightweight design and construction was the focus throughout development of the 2011 Le Mans race winning R18 TDI. In addition to the many detail optimizations there is also a genuine innovation in the transmission area: a new gearbox wîth a carbon-fiber composite housing was developed for the R18 – a premiere for endurance racing.
'The new R18 ultra is a distinct evolution of last year's Le Mans race winning car,' summarizes Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Úllrich. 'Our drivers' impressions were very positive from the first moment. Without the weight optimized R18 ultra we would have not been capable of realizing the R18 e-tron quattro which is absolutely identical wîth the exception of the hybrid system.'
Le Mans 2012: two R18 e-tron quattro and two R18 ultra
Audi Sport Team Joest will field two R18 e-tron quattro and two R18 ultra prototypes in the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 16/17. The two hybrid cars are driven by last year's winning trio Marcel Fässler (CH), André Lotterer (D) and Benoît Tréluyer (F) as well as Dindo Capello (I), Tom Kristensen (DK) and Allan McNish (GB) who boast a total of 13 Le Mans wins between them. New signing Loïc Duval (F) starts together wîth Timo Bernhard (D) and Romain Dumas (F) in an R18 ultra as do Marco Bonanomi (I), Oliver Jarvis (GB) and Mike Rockenfeller (D).
Audi Sport Team Joest also contests the World Championship round at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) on May 5 in the same formation. At the same time the race doubles as a dress rehearsal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only Mike Rockenfeller will miss this race due to a clashing date wîth the DTM.
After the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi plans to enter an R18 e-tron quattro and an R18 ultra in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). André Lotterer and Allan McNish have been nominated as the drivers so far.
At the World Championship opener at Sebring (ÚSA) on March 17, Audi Sport Team Joest relies on the proven R18 TDI from last year, which are driven by Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer, Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish as well as Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas/Loïc Duval.
|Audi Aims For Twelfth Victory At Le Mans|
|- Three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars at season's top event for sports cars - Eleven Audi victories clinched at 24 Hours in France - Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: Challenge is particularly high this year On June 22/23, Audi will be competing at the classic 24-hour race at Le Mans for the 15th time. On the 90th anniversary of the world's most important endurance race, the challenge is particularly great for the brand with the four rings, following the most recent changes in the regulations. Le ...[Read more...]|
|AUDI COMPLETES LE MANS PREPARATIONS|
|◾Three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars ready for 24-hour race ◾Rainy weather limits test program ◾Marco Bonanomi tests tire generation for 2014 Ingolstadt/Le Mans, June 9, 2013 – Audi completed its preparations for the most important endurance race of the year with a test in France that was largely held in rain. Two weeks before the Le Mans 24 Hours, Audi Sport Team Joest set up the long-tail version of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro for the high-speed track on the eight-hour test day. ...[Read more...]|
|Audi Goes To Le Mans Aerodynamically Optimized|
|◾Aerodynamic efficiency has clearly increased in 15 years ◾Micro-tube radiator optimizes airflow of Audi R18 e-tron quattro ◾Many losses caused by the regulations have been compensated for Ingolstadt, May 16, 2013 – Five more weeks until the Le Mans 24 Hours celebrates its 90th anniversary. Over the period of 14 years, Audi has won this classic race eleven times and in doing so has consistently been delivering top performances in aerodynamics as well. They are a major reason for exce...[Read more...]|
|Audi at Le Mans: Advantage through efficiency|
|• 90 years of Le Mans, 15 years of Audi at the '24 Heures'
• Eleven victories at 14 runs and absolute distance record
• Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: 'Le Mans points the way to the future'
Six more weeks until the Le Mans 24 Hours celebrates its 90th anniversary. Since 1999, Audi has shaped the world's most important endurance race like no other automobile manufacturer. Eleven victories in 14 events – the technological milestones set by Ingolstadt and...[Read more...]
|Audi In Grid Positions One To Three At Spa|
|• World Champions' trio Fassler/Lotterer/Tréluyer starts from pole|
• Gené/di Grassi/Jarvis complete front row
• First best time in qualifying for Audi in the 2013 WEC season
Ingolstadt/Spa, May 3, 2013 – Audi prevailed in qualifying for round 2 of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC): At Spa, the three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars secured the three front grid positions and thus have good prerequisites for the race that starts at 14:30 on Saturday. In ...[Read more...]
|Audi At Le Mans: Engine Technology Forges Close Links To Production|
|◾Fuel consumption of the TDI units reduced by more than 20 percent ◾Direct technology transfer between motorsport and products ◾Piston area output significantly increased Ingolstadt, June 13, 2013 – One more week before the Le Mans 24 Hours celebrates its 90th anniversary. 15 years of engine development have been shaping Audi's prototype racing commitment. Through intensive development work the engineers have repeatedly compensated for the restrictions imposed by the regulations whil...[Read more...]|
|AUDI MAKES SEBRING THE ‘HOME OF QUATTRO'|
|First race for the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the USA •Farewell event for LMP1 class with historic automobile exhibition •Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: 'Emotional race weekend' Ingolstadt, March 8, 2013 – It is a debut and a farewell at the same time: the Audi R18 e-tron quattro contests the 12-hour race at Sebring (Florida) in the USA for the first time on March 16 and, in doing so, makes the legendary racetrack 'home of quattro'. At the same time, it is provisionally the LMP1 sports car...[Read more...]|
|With e-tron quattro to first hybrid pole position at Le Mans|
|Premiere at the Le Mans 24 Hours: The 80th running of the endurance classic that has been held since 1923 will see a sports car with hybrid drive starting from grid position one for the first time – the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro. The intelligent combination of TDI power at the rear axle and an electrically driven front axle made it possible for André Lotterer in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro designated as car number '1' to achieve a fastest lap of 3m 23.787s in the final qualifying se...[Read more...]|
|Audi R18 e-tron quattro: heading for Le Mans with all-wheel drive|
|In a month from now a prestigious success will be at stake for Audi. On June 16/17, a hybrid vehicle could be winning the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time. Electrified drive and quattro all-wheel drive – what looks like two different worlds at first glance has been merged into a technological synthesis by Audi. 'Soon after the TDI phase had begun we started to think about the hybridization of a Le Mans sports prototype, when it was foreseeable that the regulations would open up this optio...[Read more...]|
|The beginning of a new era at Audi|
|Ingolstadt, May 4, 2012 – The race debut of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend signifies the beginning of a new era at Audi. For the first time ever, a Le Mans sports car with diesel hybrid drive and two driven axles will compete in a race. For Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, this is arguably the most challenging project in the more than 30-year history of Audi Sport. Audi previously marked milestones at Le Mans with TFSI gasoline direct injecti...[Read more...]|
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