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New Audi R18 LMP1 sports car unveiled

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December 13, 2010

The new Audi R18 LMP1 sports car

The new Audi R18 LMP1 sports car

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Since its first attempt in 1999, Audi has won the Le Mans 24 hour race nine times with the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI, equaling Ferrari’s all-time win record. Last Friday it unveiled the new R18, a closed carbon fiber monocoque coupe specifically developed for Le Mans with a 3.7-liter V6 TDI engine and another first for endurance racing – all-LED headlights.

Recognizing that aerodynamic efficiency will be even more important at Le Mans than it was in the past, the new R18 marks the first time since 1999 that Audi will contest the world’s oldest endurance race with a closed coupe. Unlike that of the closed Le Mans prototypes, which consisted of two halves, the carbon fiber monocoque chassis of the R18 features a single-component design that reduces weight and increases stiffness.

The chassis and aerodynamics of the R18 take much of their inspiration from the R8, the R10 TDI and R15 TDI, however the fitting of identically sized front and rear wheels, which allows for a more balanced weight distribution, is a first for an Audi Le Mans sports car.

The new Audi R18 LMP1 sports car

With rule makers looking to achieve a substantial reduction of engine power in 2011, significantly smaller engines than those used before will be prescribed. This has led to Audi retaining the diesel concept that saw its first victorious outing in 2006 with a 3.7-liter V6 TDI unit with a six-speed transmission that has been specifically modified for use with the smaller engine.

Another first for the new R18 is the inclusion of all-LED headlights. Aside from optimizing the amount of light produced at night, during the daytime the LEDs form the shape of a “1” which is apparently intended to “inspire associations with Audi’s historic brand logo.” The company says the next generation headlights will also be prepared for future use in production vehicles – although the “1” formation seems unlikely to make the transition.

The new Audi R18 LMP1 sports car with its all-LED headlights

Development of the new R18 started in mid 2009 and the V6 TDI engine has been running on the dynometers since the summer of 2010. The car itself completed its first test on a racetrack at the end of November with its racing debut planned for the Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours in Belgium on May 8, 2011.

Prior to that, the new R18 prototype will do its first laps on the Le Mans track during the official test day on April 24, 2011, to gather data ahead of the race on June 11 and 12, where Audi is planning to field test three R18 cars, which will be entered by Audi Sport Team Joest.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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7 Comments

Yes, the smaller displacement diesel is great.

What I want to see is a substantial weight reduction.

Come on Audi, how about it....materials have certainly advanced far enough to move away from the heavy but reliable scenario.

Muraculous
14th December, 2010 @ 09:45 am PST

As much as I despise people who design, manufacture,market and drive SUV's and other gas guzzling buckets of shit, these are one of the very few types of car that I would REALLY like to own.

It would need some space for stuff under the bonnet and a passenger...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I still want one.

Mr Stiffy
14th December, 2010 @ 06:55 pm PST

the car will meet the minimum weight limit for LMP1 which is 900 kg for petrol and 930 kg for diesel

Mike Donovan
14th December, 2010 @ 10:06 pm PST

Muraculous, thats what the article says!

Denis Klanac
15th December, 2010 @ 12:36 am PST

Audi wasn't able to dominate with the R10 and R15 and that is exactly why they developed the R18. This car is just awesome. Only time will tell if it will be as good as it looks.

I bet there will be delays and you won't see it run at Spa. Unless I'm mistaken wasn't the R10 and R15 delayed?

tombutt
15th December, 2010 @ 11:22 am PST

Super! ECO rulz!

Facebook User
17th December, 2010 @ 03:30 pm PST

This is a great car. It has proof that's one of the best cars ever that had race on Le Mans. If you want to check the audi fan blog based on this car visit "Audi R18

AudiR18
10th November, 2011 @ 10:47 am PST
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