Audi's World Endurance Championship (WEC) racecar has been unveiled for 2016 and is set to dominate the season with more than 1,000 PS. According to Audi, it has been completely redesigned from the ground up and features an array of newly developed technologies.
Beginning with the chassis, it is now lighter and delivers better handling. With the new monocoque, the driveshaft had to be repositioned because of the new mounting points of the front suspension. Newly-designed wishbones had to be used for the 2016 LMP1 racecar as well. Both the lift and damping system are actuated by pushrods.
The electrical actuators for the car's braking, transmission and engine systems now use a high-pressure central hydraulic system. With the omission of the former, it dramatically reduced overall weight.
Over to its exterior, the new LMP1 racecar has a more radical aerodynamic shape that redirects air and reduces turbulence. Moreover, the slimmer nose and reshaped front fascia enables airflow to enter the cooling ducts of the body shell. The rear, on the other hand, benefits from a new diffuser and larger wing, which deliver better downforce for cornering.
In terms of dimensions, it measures 4,650mm long, 1,900mm wide and 1,050mm tall.
Moving to the hybrid drive system, it is now battery-operated for the first time. As claimed by Audi, it will use a electro-kinetic technology instead of the electromechanical storage system. It works alongside the Motor Generator Unit (MGU) which gathers recuperated energy by harnessing the rotary motion of the front wheels into electricity when the driver brakes before a corner. After exiting a turn, the energy stored by the MGU is then used to help accelerate the car's front axle. The racing body however imposed a limitation wherein it will only supply 408 PS at Le Mans.
At the heart of the 2016 R18 is the 4.0-liter TDI turbocharged diesel V6 that puts out 514 PS along with 850 Nm. When paired up with the hybrid drive system, it has a combined output of 1,000 PS. Exact torque output was not revealed however. Delivering power to the wheels is a 6-speed sequential racing transmission that features carbon fiber reinforced plastic components (CFRP) on its clutch and transmission housing. Providing the necessary grip are Michelin Radial racing tires while carbon fiber disc brakes at the front and rear deliver stopping power.
Safety kit present on the 2016 R18 include: tire pressure monitoring system, electronic brakeforce distribution, a system that monitors the hybrid's battery status, Matrix LED headlights with Audi's laserlight and an array of active safety systems.