Audi’s R18 e-tron quattro has undergone substantial revisions ahead of the 2015 World Endurance Championship (WEC). Now entering its fifth-generation, the 2015-specification LMP 1 contender carries revisions to its hybrid system, aerodynamic package, and monocoque in comparison to its predecessor.
“The possibilities of the revolutionary regulations that have been in effect for LMP sports cars since 2014 are far from having been fully used. The rules harbor so much potential that there is room for future developments,” explained Jörg Zander, Audi Sport’s head of engineering. “We expect that the technological progress resulting from the fierce competitive pressure exerted by four automobile manufacturers that are now involved will significantly improve lap times this season – while concurrently reducing fuel consumption.”
At the heart of the car, is a revised monocoque. The central safety cell of the racecar is largely carried over from the previous model, but features a revised hood, front wing and wheel arch design. As this body element incorporates the crash structure, Audi performed a new crash test for the 2015 season.
Audi states that the ‘fresh look’ is the result of creating ‘a new way of conducting airflow around and through the front end’. What this translates to is the inclusion of new, larger air inlets in the front wheel arches to reduce drag. A by-product of the revised front end, are new headlights, which Audi state increase the relevance to road-car technology, implementing the brand’s ‘Matrix LED’ and ‘Laserlight’ technologies.
Further revisions to the cars aerodynamic package include new sidepods, which increase the airflow over the car, and in to the new radiator configurations for cooling the engine and the hybrid system. The engine cover, which encloses the unit, has been reprofiled to fit even more tightly, and features a notable taper behind the cockpit.
Since 2012, the R18 e-tron quattro has been unbeaten at the Le Mans 24H endurance race. For this year, Audi has doubled the amount of energy available per lap, from 2 to 4 megajoules. An all-new electrical motor delivers an output of more than 272 hp, which Audi states is a significant increase compared to last year.
For 2015, the R18 weighs in at just 870 kg and thanks to revisions to the 4.0-liter V6 TDI engine, now consumes 2.5% percent less diesel per lap than last year in order to meet the more stringent regulations implemented by FIA. The engines output now stands at 558 HP (410 kW) and only five engines will be available during the 2015 WEC season, which begins at Silverstone, UK, April 12.