Motorsport debut for Audi's next-generation hybrid quattro drivetrain
The carmaker has a history of introducing its latest technology in Le Mans, having previously taken victories with TFSI direct-injection petrol and TDI diesel engines in 2001 and 2006 respectively.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audi Motorsport, said: ‘We started to think about the hybridisation of a Le Mans sports car relatively soon after the first TDI successes. A concrete opportunity for this materialized when it became clear that the regulations would be permitting such an option.’
The R18 e-tron uses a V6 TDI engine to drive its rear wheels and an electric motor at the front axle for energy recuperation and additional power under acceleration. Despite both axles being driven, there are no mechanical connections between them.
Ullrich added: ‘This defines a new form of quattro drive – the e-tron quattro. We’re also pursuing this strategy in racing, which again puts us on the front row. Not only because we’ll be the first at Spa to contest a race with such a concept in an LMP race car, but because production development will be able to benefit from our system in the future as well.’