The brand new for 2016 version of the Audi R18 etron quattro was presented this evening at Audi’s end of season ‘Finale’ celebration in Munich with a brief ‘reveal’ before the new car was covered again to prevent closer examination.
The new car looks radically different in detail, but the bigger revelation came with the announcement that both Audi Sport and their VAG cousins at Porsche Motorsport had agreed that in light of the need (in the wake of the ongoing VW Gate emissions scandal) for cost reduction that both factory teams would reduce their planned Le Mans attacks to a pair of cars apiece from the predicted three each.
Audi Sport has fundamentally re-designed the Audi R18 for the 2016 season. with an entirely new and innovative aerodynamic package, front and rear, a new hybrid system with lithium-ion batteries for energy storage, plus an ‘efficiency-optimized’ 4 litre V6 TDI (diesel) engine.
The car is expected to compete in the 6mJ hybrid ‘bracket’ with the new car having already tested at Paul Ricard.
“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,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
“We’re proud about being able to again represent the Audi brand in 2016 with such an extensive commitment in motorsport,” says Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “The new Audi R18 marks a major step that we’re expecting a lot of at Le Mans and in the WEC.”
Dr Ullrich responded to questions over the fate of the current factory drivers that were expected to race in the third Le Mans car by saying: “We will not release any of our current factory drivers.”
Decisions are therefore awaited on the scope and scale of programmes for Messrs Rast, Bonanomi and Albuquerque.
ACO President Pierre Fillon responded to the announcement in pragmatic fashion: “I think it is an entirely sensible decision from Porsche and Audi,” he said and with Toyota too making it clear that they would field two cars it makes the fight for the win a very even fight!”
A couple of additional snippets missed in the DSC Ed’s 2am posting last night here:
The livery shown at the unveiling last night will not feature on the cars in race usage, and, the car shown last nights already tested putting in “significant mileage” at Paul Ricard.