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New Audi R18 makes its debut; fundamental redesign of diesel hybrid racer with Li-ion battery storage

The new Audi R18 made its world premiere on the occasion of the Audi Sport Finale at the Audi Training Center Munich on Saturday. Audi Sport has fundamentally re-designed the Audi R18 for the 2016 season.

The LMP1 race car that will compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2016 features innovative aerodynamics; represents the next stage in lightweight design; and has a modified hybrid system with lithium-ion batteries for energy storage, plus an efficiency-optimized TDI engine. The 2015 R18 e-tron quattro racer featured an encapsulated WHP flywheel energy storage system that sat in the cockpit alongside the driver. (Earlier post.)

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The 2016 R18 retains the 4.0L TDI engine. The 2016 R18 will race in the 6MJ class; the 2015 R18 raced in the 4MJ class, up from 2MJ the season before. (Earlier post.)

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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.

—Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich

Further technical details will come later.

In the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) that will start at Silverstone (Great Britain) on April 17, Audi Sport Team Joest will be fielding two new Audi R18 cars. In the interest of cost efficiency, Audi and its Volkswagen Group sister brand Porsche, have both agreed to each compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the WEC season’s pinnacle event, with only two instead of the most recent three cars.

Other series. In the DTM, Audi relies on continuity. All of the eight drivers that were in the field in 2015, scoring ten Audi victories in 18 races, will remain on board. The only change: Adrien Tambay and Nico Müller are swapping teams. Audi Sport expects this move to provide the brand’s two youngest DTM drivers with new impulses. The eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars will continue to be fielded by the long-standing Audi Sport Teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg.

In GT racing, the development of the new Audi R8 LMS has been completed and deliveries to customers have begun. Due to the high demand, Audi Sport customer racing is exploring possibilities to expand the production scheduled for the 2016 season. Originally, 45 cars were planned.

Audi customer teams will be fielding the new Audi R8 LMS on four continents in the 2016 season. In the Audi R8 LMS Cup in Asia, the new model will be debuting in 2016 as well. Special highlights on the calendar of Audi Sport customer racing are the two 24-hour races at the Nürburgring (D) and at Spa (B), the 12-hour race at Bathurst (AUS) and the FIA GT World Cup in Macau (MAC).

Following its successful inaugural season, the Audi Sport TT Cup will again be held as part of the supporting program of selected DTM events. The number of permanent entrants will increase from 18 to 20. The final selection of the young drivers will be made following an evaluation course at Vallelunga (I) on December 4/5. In total, quattro GmbH received 125 applications from 35 nations.

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.

—Dr. Ullrich

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