When we hear names like TFSI and Quattro, we automatically think of Audi. But while these technologies have proliferated across the company’s production model range, they weren’t initially developed for the road – they were developed for racing. So sit up straight and pay attention to Audi’s cutting edge new Le Mans prototype, because it’s jam-packed with new technologies that will likely end up in showrooms sooner or later.
Called the R18 e-tron Quattro, the LMP1 you see here doesn’t just continue Audi’s tradition of turbo diesel propulsion in endurance racing, it supplements it with hybrid propulsion and all-wheel drive. The two are part of the same system, regenerating brake energy (similar to F1’s Kinetic Energy Recovery System) into a flywheel that is then fed back into the front wheels under acceleration, while the V6 TDI engine feeds 510 horsepower to the rear wheels for a combined through-the-road all-wheel-drive system. The added weight of the hybrid powertrain is offset by a carbon-fiber gearbox housing, used for the first time in endurance racing.
Audi will be campaigning two examples of the R18 e-tron Quattro at Le Mans in June and before that at Spa in May, alongside two of the R18 Ultras with conventional diesel power. Since both cars were developed together, they use mostly the same components, enabling more efficient race logistics for the team. We’ll be watching to see how the tour de force fairs against the newcomers from Toyota with their TS030 Hybrid at Spa, Le Mans and the rest of the FIA World Endurance Championship, but for now you can check out the high-res images in the gallery above and the details in the press release after the jump.
Audi unleashes hybrid, AWD powertrain on Le Mans with new R18 e-tron Quattro originally appeared on AudiMobiles on Wed, 29 Feb 2012 15:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.