The outgoing Audi R18 e-tron race car had a standout season last year, including a 1st and 2nd place finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Audi hopes to continue that success with the new R18 e-tron, which sports aerodynamic and powertrain upgrades, along with a new headlight design showcasing Audi’s Matrix LED and Laserlight technology.
For starters, engineers improved the kinetic-energy recovery system (KERS) to store more energy and provide more power per lap. Audi says the flywheel storage system now holds up to 700 kilojules of energy (a 17-percent increase compared to last year), while usable energy per lap jumps from 2 to 4 megajoules. The system powers the front electric motor, which now makes 268 hp, 40 more horses than before.
Due to the electric motor’s increased power, regulations state that the internal combustion engine must consume less. In the case of the R18’s 4.0-liter turbodiesel V-6, it must use 2.5 percent less diesel per lap this year compared to 2014. With that said, the engine will be more efficiently while still producing 550 hp.
The new R18 rides on the same carbon-fiber monocoque from the previous race car, but Audi made numerous aerodynamic improvements. The front end, for example, has a redesigned wing and wheel arches, while the sidepods improve airflow to increase engine cooling and reduced drag. The engine cover has also been modified, with a more tapered design that reduces drag.
The FIA World Endurance Championship season kicks off on April 12 at Silverstone, while Circuit of the Americas is on the schedule for September 19.