Audi’s successful R18 e-tron Quattro racing car will pose even stronger competition to its rivals in the 2015 season. The LMP1 car, which already received several important upgrades for the 2014 season, enters this year with improved aerodynamics and an upgraded, more powerful hybrid system.
To start with, all of the bodywork of the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro has been redesigned, with larger air inlets around the font wheels, new Matrix LED headlights, a new front fascia, redesigned front fenders, and new radiator cooling vents in the side pods. Audi is preparing two slightly different body designs with different aerodynamic performance, which can be switched depending on which track the car is racing.
The e-tron’s hybrid system also receives several technical upgrades, and can now recover up to 4 megajoules of energy per lap, versus 2 megajoules in the previous version. That’s because the electric regenerative-braking system can harness more power, allowing the flywheel-based energy storage system to capture 17 percent more energy than before. When the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro brakes, an electrical system captures power from the brakes and spins the flywheel, which can then be used to help accelerate the car on the next straight.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, however, and racing rules say that by improving its hybrid system, Audi’s internal combustion engine must use 2.5 percent less fuel than before. The 4.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 still produces 558 hp, but Audi says revisions help improve fuel efficiency.
The upgraded Audi R18 e-tron Quattro will look to continue Audi’s dominance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this June. Audi has won the event for the past five years running.