Having succeeded with the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI models as the world’s most important endurance race car as many as nine times, Audi is aiming for its tenth Le Mans success in 2011 with its R18 Racecar. Audi is planning to field three Audi R18 cars at Le Mans, which will be entered by Audi Sport Team Joest, the most successful Le Mans team of all time.
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.
The R18 benefits from the chassis and aerodynamics package containing a lot of know-how from the R8, the R10 TDI and the R15 TDI whereas the fitting of identically sized front and rear wheels is new to an Audi Le Mans sports car. This configuration allows a more balanced weight distribution.
The R18’s headlights, which are the first to completely consist of LEDs with optimized amount of light, are a technical highlight. The new generation of headlights was developed in close cooperation between Audi Sport and the Technical Development (TE) division of AUDI AG and by using at Le Mans, will be prepared for future use in production vehicles.