The 24 hours of Le Mans are due next weekend and Audi will showcase their latest efficiency efforts with the Audi R15 plus TDI and the Audi e-tron.
There is no other race at which there is as strong a focus on efficiency, sustainability, fuel economy and the associated reduction of CO2 emissions and innovative powertrain concepts as at Le Mans. “This is exactly why Audi is involved in sports prototype racing,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Audi has a reputation of putting highly efficient automobiles on the road – the experience from Le Mans assists in this endeavor.”
In 2010 Audi is bringing a plus in efficiency to the grid: after its third-place finish last year, the first second-generation diesel race sports car, the Audi R15 TDI, was updated in numerous details and trimmed for even higher efficiency. Through numerous modifications the engineers from Audi Sport managed to maintain the power output of the 5.5-liter V10 TDI engine at last year’s level despite regulatory restrictions. The complex aerodynamics of the LMP1 sports car that is internally designated as the “R15 plus” has been completely revised and trimmed for top speed. The radiator package has been repositioned. The cockpit is now even more ergonomic than before. And the standard LED headlights from the Audi R8 high-performance sports car, which are used as additional lights on the 2010-specification Audi R15 TDI, now provide even more efficient lighting on the track at night.
On Wednesday night (10 p.m. to midnight) and on Thursday night (7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight) a total of three qualifying sessions will determine the grid positions, which at Le Mans tend to be of lesser importance, though. Before the race starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday the organizer, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), will offer the spectators a glimpse of the future of the automobile. As part of this program, an Audi-e-tron electric vehicle will do a demo lap on the circuit.
“Downsizing, energy recovery and electric mobility, as well, will play a major part in future events of the Le Mans 24 Hours,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “I can’t imagine a better platform for Audi than this unique race.”
From 2011 forward, new technical regulations prescribing smaller, even more efficient engines will come into force at Le Mans. Audi Sport has already started to work on the successor model of the current R15 TDI under the project name “R18.”