Audi’s new LMP1 race car completed the near 10km distance through the city in a motorcade, did a lap on the Circuit Bugatti and arrived in front of the race track’s modern Welcome Center amid the applause of the invited international journalists and guests.
“I’ve been competing at Le Mans since 1997 but this was absolutely new for me, too, and very exciting,” said Tom Kristensen, who in 2006 had driven the revolutionary Audi R10 TDI on its world premiere – in Paris – in public traffic as well.
Aside from the unusual drive which brought back memories of a Le Mans era from the distant past when the drivers would arrive in their own race cars, Audi surprised the public with a new livery of the Le Mans car. While the body of the new R18 e-tron quattro was still black with red details when the car made its world debut in December, a striking color scheme now catches the eye. The new color scheme of white, silver, red and black stands for fresh, expressive graphics.
“The colors are symbolic,” commented Dirk van Braeckel, Design Manager Motorsport and Special Projects at Audi.
“Silver emphasizes the past success in racing. As a very quiet color, it provides the base for our livery. White, as the second color, harmonizes well with silver and appears very light. It stands for the hybrid drive. White is used asymmetrically in order to symbolize the complexity of this powertrain technology.” Mr. van Braeckel added.
The next color is black. It is used for the front and rear wings, as well as on sections of the fenders and sides with highly defined geometric contours.
“We opted for matt black, as it nicely contrasts with the gloss white,” said van Braeckel.
“Black stands for light-weight design. The black look of the large fin on the engine cover is intended to represent something like a backbone.”
A unique red – Audi’s performance color – completes the graphics. Special characteristics include the reflecting surfaces of the elements, Audi’s logos and inscriptions that are exclusively applied to these areas, as well as the pronounced longitudinal orientation of the color in the overall concept.
“The reflective livery is particularly impressive at night and provides the spectators with an enhanced experience,” explained van Braeckel.
“Due to its longitudinal orientation the graphics express the speed that is so typical for Le Mans. Even the rims include a red segment. Due to the wheel rotation, it achieves a very dynamic effect.”, he finished.