ALMS: Audi Pulls Curtain Back on New R18 Prototype

By Auto News Log • December 11th, 2010

North American debut set for Petit Le Mans in October; R15s for Sebring

Audi has joined the closed-top brigade with the unveiling of its new R18 on Friday in Germany. The German prototype powerhouse took the cover off the new LMP1 challenger that will contest the Le Mans 24 Hours and much of the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in 2011.

The Audi R18 will compete on North American shores for the first time at Road Atlanta’s Petit Le Mans in early October with two cars in the signature event of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. For the season-opening 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, Audi Sport Team Joest will field a modified version of its R15 TDI.

A 3.7-liter V6 TDI unit will power the R18 as 2011 LMP1 regulations seek to increase fuel and energy efficiency. The coupe design is the first for Audi since the R8C in 1999, with Audi engineers also drawing on experience from the Bentley program that won Le Mans in 2003.

While the chassis and aerodynamics package contains a lot of know-how from the R8, the R10 TDI and the R15 TDI, new for the R18 is the fitting of identically sized front and rear wheels for a more balanced weight distribution. Acura and Honda Performance Development made waves with its LMP1 entry for 2009 that featured same-size tires.

The R18’s headlights, which are the first to completely consist of LEDs with optimized amount of light, are a technical highlight.

The Audi R18 has been designed for progressive electrification, which Audi Sport is planning to drive forward step-by-step.

Source: American Le Mans Series

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