The top class of endurance racing like what we see at Le Mans tends to follow trends. Open cockpits gave way to closed ones in LMP1 racers, but while diesel engines continue to dominate, we’re now entering the age of hybrid prototypes.
Peugeot was said to be working on just such a powertrain for its 908 before suddenly shut down its program. Toyota is still developing its own version for the TS030 Hybrid. And now Audi has announced its title defender, the new R18 e-tron Quattro.
Unveiled yesterday, the R18 e-tron Quattro takes the same form as the conventionally powered R18 Ultra, but with one important difference: its TDI diesel engine is assisted by a regenerative braking system that gives it not only hybrid power but (through-the-road) all-wheel drive. Now we’ve got our first video clip of the hybrid prototype from its track tests and press conference unveiling, which you can see for yourself after the jump.