Audi is looking to continue its dominance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with an updated version of last year’s race winner, the R18 TDI.Dubbed the (take a deep breath) R18 e-tron quattro, the car has some new aero bits and a different livery, but what really changed is beneath the skin.
This car is the world’s first all-wheel drive diesel hybrid prototype race car. Granted, that is a very specific category.
Audi has taken advantage of new regulations that allow for a hybrid system on the cars. Audi is using a flywheel to store power recuperated under braking. It will then be deployed to the front wheels to aid acceleration. This makes it more of a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) than a true hybrid.
At speeds above 75 MPH, the e-tron can add an additional 70 horsepower boost to the front wheels. This is solely to aid performance; it will not make the car any greener.
The KERS system is not being developed in house, but has been contracted out to the Williams F1 Team’s engineering arm.
This system is being combined with the same TDI engine as last year. New rival Toyota will have a tough time beating this car.
Check it out from above:
Photo: Courtesy Audi
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