New Audi R18 e-tron quattro for 2015

Audi guns for Le Mans victory number 14 in 2015 with the newly overhauled R18 e-tron quattro

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Audi has unveiled the ‘thoroughly revised’ R18 e-tron Quattro with which it will contend this year’s World Endurance Championship. The thorough overhaul comes after a comparatively disappointing 2014 season, in which Audi scored two wins eventual champions Toyota’s five.

The fifth generation R18 boasts the same monocoque chassis as its 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning predecessor, but little else of the bodywork has survived. The carbon fibre has now been reshaped to improve airflow front to rear courtesy of a new hood, front fenders and wheel arches.

The other significant change however concerns the hybrid system, updated for WEC’s top peg LMP1 category. The cockpit-mounted flywheel now sends 4 megajoules per lap to the 272-hp front axle engine – double that of last year – and the whole system now capable of storing 17 percent more energy than the 2014 prototype. The 4.0-litre TDI V6 side of the hybrid powertrain in the 870kg R18 e-tron quattro produces 558hp and consumes 2.5 percent less fuel than last year.

The R18 e-tron Quattro is the second prototype to make its debut following the unveil of the brand new GT-R LM NISMO. Unlike Nissan’s contender, which will appear at Le Mans at the earliest, Audi’s newboy will have its first outing at the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone. The two R18s will be driven by former WEC champions André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler in the #7, and Oliver Jarvis, Loïc Duval and Lucas di Grassi in the #8.

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