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Audi Diesel Wins Twelve Hours of Sebring Race

V12_tdi
The aluminum V12 TDI

Audi made racing history on Saturday as its diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, becoming the first diesel car in the world to win a major sports car race. Audi used Sebring as a test for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, set for June 17-18.

The new Audi R10 TDI is powered by a completely new all-aluminum, 5.5-liter, twelve-cylinder bi-turbo TDI engine that delivers more than 485 kW (650 hp) and more than 1,100 Nm of torque.

The V12 TDI used in the R10 is the first Audi diesel engine with an aluminium crankcase. The cylinder-bank angle is 90 degrees. The V12 TDI has, like Audi production car engines, four valves per cylinder and twin overhead camshafts. The common rail fuel injection system exceeds 1,600 bar, and ignition pressures reach values never previously seen in any Audi engine. The V12 TDI is equipped with a pair of diesel particle filters.

This engine is the specifically most powerful diesel there is in the world and, up until now, the biggest challenge that Audi Sport has ever faced in its long history. There has never been anything remotely comparable. We started development with a clean sheet of paper.

—Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Technology at Audi Sport

Audi wants to use its diesel work in motorsport to increase its technology advantages in the commercial diesel engines. Every second Audi sold today is delivered with a TDI diesel engine.

With regard to fuel consumption, environmental friendliness, the combustion process and other new technologies we expect an enormous push in the coming years. We are still relatively close to the findings of our colleagues from production since we are breaking completely new ground in motorsport. However, this will change. I believe to be able to share the things that we developed specifically for motorsport with production in the future.

—Ulrich Baretzky

Comments

Rafael Seidl

Race cars are hardly green machines, but Audi's purpose here is to persuade a sceptical US public that diesel technology is not just for trucks and tractors any more. The R10 is clearly a very capable prime mover, beating the entire gasoline competition at the very first test. Note that the crankcase is made from aluminium rather than cast iron, despite the high torque demand - the compression ignition parameters of gasoil limit diesel race engines to 5000-6000 RPM.

I don't know much about Sebring but at Le Mans the present rules restrict only tank volume. However, diesel contains 10-12% more energy per gallon than gasoline does. In an endurance race, that translates to fewer refuelling stops and hence, a competitive advantage. If Audi wins Le Mans as well, I would not be surprised to see a change in the rules next year.

Btw, in this case, the particulate filters are a bit of a marketing ploy. The most criticial test of a PM filter is igniting and burning off layers of accumulated soot without thermal damage to the monolith. This never occurs during a race because at full power, soot is burnt off long before it starts clogging the filter.

fred

Good go Audi...on Rudolphs Bday no less!

Tony Chesser-Evans

Is the pressure figure right? 1,600-bar is 24,000 psi. Most hydraulic systems (which I'm familiar with) run about 3,000 psi. Compressed Natural Gas is typically stored at 3,600 psi. I'm wondering if the fuel-system pressure figure has got an extra zero on it. Alternately, I could understand 1,600 psi for a fuel system (kinda high, but believable).

Tony

Mike

The pressure figure is correct. Bosch introduced its 1,600-bar system several years ago (press release here) and is up to 1,800 bar now.

rexis

I only need 1/10 of that power and torque but this can give a message to those power loving people that diesel is one of their choice.

jb


I don't know much about Sebring but at Le Mans the present rules restrict only tank volume. However, diesel contains 10-12% more energy per gallon than gasoline does. In an endurance race, that translates to fewer refuelling stops and hence, a competitive advantage. If Audi wins Le Mans as well, I would not be surprised to see a change in the rules next year.

Is that so? I remember a few years ago there was this Nasamax car in Le Mans that ran on ethanol, and due to the lower energy density of ethanol they got to use a 135 liter tank instead of the normal 90 liter one (as well as a bigger hose so that refueling times would be comparable). But perhaps they got an exception to the rule?

Although in this case, I think a bigger advantage for Audi is that the diesel ought to be significantly more efficient than a comparable gas engine. That advantage would remain even if the rules were to be changed to some kind of "equal amount of energy in the tank".

Rafael Seidl

(a) Tony, Mike -

current-generation common-rail diesel injection systems do indeed operate at up to 1600 bar in series production vehicles, which can mean as high as 2000 at the injector tip because designers take advantage of wave dynamics in the conduits. VW had for the longest time insisted on individual pump-injectors for each cylinder, because that permits pressures as high as 2400 bar and avoids heating up the fuel. Higher pressures produce smaller droplets and improved admixture of the fuel and air. The combustion is more rapid and complete.

However, separating the pump from the injector has several advantages:
- piezoelectric actuation permits multiple pre- and post-injections even at high RPM, reducing combustion noise and emissions
- common-rail injectors are a little smaller, which is important in designing the cylinder head
- greater economies of scale, as everyone but VW is using common rail in new vehicles today. The company has announced it will switch to common rail in the foreseeable future.

The cental high-pressure pump is controlled to produce only the pressure level that is required for a given engine load. At first glance, it might seem that Audi's 1600 bar system is conservative - this is not true, as peak pressures are only rarely required in regular passenger cars but all the time in endurance racing.

(b) JB -

the fuel economy gap between diesels and gasoline engines narrows substantially as you approach full power. Your argument absolutely holds true for regular passenger cars that are operated at low load most of the time, but far less so for race conditions.

As for ethanol, perhaps that was an exception.

Wilfred

A lot of 'Americans' on this site. For those: The Sebring 12 hours is run under ALMS flag. ALMS stands for American Le Mans Series. The regulations are written by the official Le Mans 24h organisation, the ACO (Automobil Club de l'Ouest). So, European (French) regs for this 'American' series.

In Europe Diesel technology is very important to the customers and Manufacturers.
Large manufacturers are important to 'Le Mans' and with French manufacturer Peugeot coming to Le Mans with a Diesel powered LMP1 soon, i do not expect the ACO to make big changes to the current LMP1 regulations regarding Diesel powered cars. As a result, regulations for the ALMS and the European LMES (Le Mans Endurance Series) will also not change.

However, there still is a lot of room for the evolution of Diesel racingtechnology such as fuel injection system, turbo systems, particulate matter filters and engine construction (wheight and size). Therefore, in a few years time the ACO could be forced to make changes to limit power en speed of these new Dieselpowered cars. The manufacturers will mostprobably not allow the ACO to undermine the effeciency benefits of Dieselfuel.

George Allegrezza

Note that the history of endurance racing in general, and Le Mans in particular, is one of constant cycling of rules to address both parity in competition and political/commercial interests. The ACO made a conscious effort to provide an advantage to diesel cars in its most recent rules revisions, including a 1500cc displacement advantage for turbocharged cars, larger inlet restrictors, and higher boost pressure.

More power plus better specific fuel consumption is critical at Le Mans, which is a high-speed circuit with over 8.4 miles between pit stop opportunities. Rules that enable a team to skip two pit stops in 24 hours, for example, provide a decisive tactical advantage.

While I agree that the rules will probably stay stable through 2007 to allow Peugeot some success when it enters next year, an adjustment to restore parity with gasoline-engined cars is likely in 2008 (perhaps a displacement increase for the SI cars or a smaller restrictor for CIs).

None of this should detract from Audi's magnificent technical achievement however. Very few new prototypes, diesel or not, win Sebring on the first try, and Audi and the Joest team are to be commended.

mark

the diesel comes with many advantages within the regulations, namely variable geometry turbo chargers (turbo gas competitors must still use fixed geometry turbos) which allow for much better throttle response, larger diameter inlet restrictors allowing for equal if not more power than gas-powered competitors, diesels are allowed to refuel at a faster rate in that their refueling restrictor is of a larger diameter, diesel fuel has a higher energy content than gas and for a given cubic capacity (in this case 90 liters) a diesel engine will be expected to go further (more fuel efficient), finally, diesels produce awesome torque (800-plus pound-feet vs 500-plus pound-feet for the R8).

Until the rules are on a fair playing field in american lemans, the diesel will continue to win.

Kate

Audi is very slow to bring its great cars across the pond. The A3 is new in the USA--why not one of their amazing diesel quattros? You cant get them if you want them.

Tyler

I think the car manufacturers have decided somehow that North America won't accept diesel and that hybrid is the way they are approaching our market. At least that's what BMW answered to a query I sent them. Maybe this will change their minds! Thanks Audi!

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Lowell Northrop

I just watched the Audi D10 win the final race of the ALM. Great, a diesel won. But that is not what just blew me away. What amazed me no end was how quiet the car was. It sounded like it was just coasting by with the engine turned off. No kidding it was astounding how quiet it was. Please, does anyone know what it is that allows it to be so quiet?

Lowell

Bark

Part of the reasons for quiteness of the Audi, is the engine is probably Revving up only up to 5000 RPM, whereas the gas engines will be buzzing aroud 8-12K. The slower engine speed means less air is moving through the engine and exhaust system. Diesels burn cooler so the thermal expansion of gas in the engine is less than gas engines. Also the fact they have installed particulate filters and cats on the exhaust system, will silence some of the exhaust noise. The Gas engines are most likely running straight pipes, you could actually take most diesel engines and run straight exhaust and barely notice the difference. Mainly due to the speed of the exahust gases, much slower (cooler) than gasoline.

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chinahanji

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system for quite a few years. Our parts include nozzle, elements & plunger, delivery valve, VE-pump and
so on. All products are in higher quality with competitive price.Our excellent quality has been performance in various kind of reputation brand-BOSCH, ZEXEL,DENSO, Delphi.Now we are producing the parts which used in the engine system of M35A2 and M60 tank, the type of the parts are HD90101A and HD8821, their most competitive price(almost one tenth of the product which made in USA) and the same quality will meet your need fairly.
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