Audi have unveiled the 2016 Audi R18 e-tron quattro at the Audi Sport Finale in Munich. The Audi R18 has received a complete redesign for the 2016 LMP1 season. It will compete at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hour race and int he FIA World Endurance Championship alongside stablemate, Porsche.
The unveil happened yesterday and confirms Audi’s step up to the 6MJ hybrid subclass and a switch to hybrid technology. The flywheel-based hybrid system has been ditched in favour of a lithium-ion battery. This will enable it to better compete with its Toyota and Porsche rivals which compete in the 6MJ and 8MJ classes respectively.
The 2016 Audi R18 e-tron quattro will continue to run a four-liter V6 turbodiesel engine although exact specifications have yet to be confirmed. A strong statement of the company’s commitment to diesel technology. It is expected to run a single, front-axle kinetic energy-retrieval system. Testing has already began at Paul Ricard with Filipe Albuquerque with further tests planned for early December at Sebring.
Audi Sport Team Joest will field two 2016 Audi R18 e-tron quattro’s during the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship and two cars in the Le Mans 24 Hours rather than the three we have become accustomed to in recent years. The World Endurance Championship gets underway on 17 April 2016 at Silverstone.
As far as the rest of the LMP1 field goes, it appears as though the Porsche 919 Hybrid will get some aerodynamic updates but not much else. Audi’s german rivals will likely field two updated 919 Hybrids. Toyota are set to unveil the TS050 Hybrid which makes a step up to 8MJ. Nissan will also field some updates although there is no clear information at the this time.
Further news has been revealed including an unchanged driver line-up in DTM. Adrien Tambay and Nico Müller are the only changes, they will be swapping teams. Eight further Audi RS 5 DTM cars will continue with long-standing Audi Sport Teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg. In GT, delivery of the 45 Audi R8 LMS cars have begun. Demand is such that Audi are looking to increase production.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich says:
“With our new Audi R18, we’re setting a clear signal: Audi continues to put the pedal to the metal in motorsport, deliberately relying on TDI – the world’s most successful automotive efficiency technology – at Le Mans,”
“We’re proud about being able to again represent the Audi brand in 2016 with such an extensive commitment in motorsport. The new Audi R18 marks a major step that we’re expecting a lot of at Le Mans and in the WEC. In the DTM, we already had the strongest car in 2015. That’s what we’d like to build upon. Plus, the high demand for the new Audi R8 LMS is equally gratifying as the many young talents that are interested in the Audi Sport TT Cup.”