new Audi R18 e-tron quattro tests Sebring
Only a week after the World Championship winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car’s last run in a race, its successor is ready to hit the track. Tests of the new LMP1 sports car, which has been kept under wraps up to now, commence today on the U.S. race track at Sebring (Florida).
Audi Sport in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm has developed a fundamentally new Le Mans prototype that corresponds to the Technical Regulations for 2014 and is designed for maximum efficiency. The development started in 2012. The roll-out took place in the early fall of 2013. Starting today, the next-generation Audi R18 e-tron quattro is being tested on the race track where all new Le Mans prototypes of the Audi brand have had to prove their worth: at Sebring.
“We’ve reached a crucial stage in this project,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “After building the first prototype, testing on various race tracks is now taking center-stage. The tests are mainly focused on achieving high mileage, coordinating the highly complex hybrid drive systems and working out an efficiency-optimized total package that has never before been as complex as this one.”
Audi has won the manufacturers’ and drivers’ classifications in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) for the second time in succession and the Le Mans 24 Hours for the twelfth time this year. Before the end of December, Audi will present the next generation of its hybrid sports car and announce further details.
Audi R18 e-tron quattro with laser light
At the world premiere of the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Audi unveiled another technical highlight of its new LMP1 sports car in Ingolstadt on Wednesday night. In 2014, the brand with the four rings will be running with laser light for the first time in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
“By using this new lighting technology Audi is setting yet another milestone at Le Mans,” said Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Management Board for Technical Development of AUDI AG, at the official presentation of the new R18 e-tron quattro that took place as part of the ‘Audi Sport Finale.’ Laser light will also open up completely new possibilities for our production models in the future. Once more, motorsport at Audi accelerates a new technical development for our customers.”
The innovative laser light, which about 500 guests in attendance at the ‘Audi Sport Finale’ had the chance to experience live for the first time, complements the main LED headlights of the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro. A blue laser beam backlights a yellow phosphorus crystal lens through which the light beam is then emitted. This new light source provides even more homogenous lighting of the road.
Laser light just one of numerous innovations of the new R18
“The new laser light is just one of numerous technical innovations featured by our new R18,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, who was recognized by Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg on Wednesday night on the occasion of his 20th anniversary at the helm of Audi Sport. “We’re not going to reveal any more than that at this early stage, as in 2014 we’re facing an extremely tough competition and a year full of challenges for Audi Sport.”
As before, the motorsport commitment of AUDI AG in the new season will continue to consist of the three pillars Le Mans prototypes (LMP1), DTM and GT sport. In addition, Audi Sport is preparing for its move into the new Motorsport Competence Center in Neuburg in the summer of 2014. “This is a very important step to ensure that Audi will retain its ability to be successfully active in motorsport at the highest level but, obviously, it also puts an additional strain on our squad,” said Dr. Ullrich.
Three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars in Le Mans 24 Hours
The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) will see Audi Sport Team Joest compete as the title defender in the 2014 season. In all eight races of the 2014 WEC, the World Champions will be running with two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars. For the season’s pinnacle event at Le Mans on June 14/15, 2014, the fielding of a third R18 is planned. The driver teams will be announced at a later date.
Aw, but no McNish....
The new Audi will have to do without the aggressive skills of Scottish wheelman Allan McNish. One of the most successful and charismatic race drivers is leaving the grand stage of motorsport. A few days before his 44th birthday, Audi factory driver McNish announced that he would not continue his active career in the 2014 season.
The Scotsman began his very successful racing career 32 years ago in karting. McNish achieved many of his greatest victories since the 2000 season with Audi – most recently, the first World Championship title in his career at the wheel of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. “I found the ideal moment for myself to bring an end to my LMP sports-prototype racing with Audi,” says McNish. “Together with my team-mates Tom Kristensen and Loïc Duval I finished my most successful season in the sports car. Having also won the Le Mans 24 Hours, I can’t wish for more than what we’ve achieved this year. I can look back on a fantastic career that has left no aims unfinished and I’m looking forward to new challenges the future holds for me. Now I’ll have a lot more time for my family. But I’m going to continue to be part of motorsport in various roles, albeit no longer as an Audi race driver.”
Allan McNish will remain in close contact with Audi Sport and contribute his knowledge. “We appreciate and respect Allan’s decision to retire at the pinnacle of his career,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “At the same time, this is a parting that is particularly difficult for us. All of us are well aware of Allan’s racing successes. We should not forget, though, how valuable he has been in the development of our race cars, how great a team player he has always been and how he has consistently applied himself to achieve Audi’s aims far beyond motorsport with professionalism, loyalty and commitment. We regret that Allan will no longer be contesting any races for us but are happy that he will continue to be associated with Audi Sport and the Audi brand.”
In the 2000 season, Allan McNish in the Audi R8 won the American Le Mans Series for the first time. In 2006 and 2007, in the Audi R10 TDI, he again celebrated title wins in the North American sports car series. Four overall victories in the Sebring 12 Hours complement his track record in North America. Two of his three successes in the Le Mans 24 Hours he celebrated with Audi in 2008 and 2013. The early title win in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Shanghai (China) five weeks ago marked the pinnacle of the Scotsman’s career, who had initially pursed a classic career in formula racing.
Except for the years of 2001 to 2003, when the racing pro with the physique of a jockey was active in Formula 1 as a test and race driver, he was competing for the four rings since 2000. He almost exclusively drove the company’s sports cars and in 2005 he was additionally active in the DTM. He is the only driver to have raced all sports cars ever made in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, from the Audi R8R to the R8, R10 TDI, R15 TDI, R18 TDI models and the R18 ultra through to the R18 e-tron quattro. He has recorded 29 overall victories, 18 pole positions, 17 fastest race laps and four title wins in eleven years, which makes him one of the most successful Audi sports car drivers. “Of course, we’re going to miss Allan in our driver line-up extremely,” says Chris Reinke, Project Manager LMP at Audi Sport. “But it’s typical of Allan that he’s also found a perfect point in time to end his career.”
GTD version of the Audi R8 LMS for U.S. racing
Following the merger of the GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series into the Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC), a new chapter will begin in U.S. racing. Based on the previous race car for the USA, Audi has developed a GTD version of the R8 LMS, with GTD standing for ‘GT Daytona.’ The GTD version now only differs from the GT3 model in few details.
The Audi R8 LMS Cup in its third season is taking the next step in its internationalization effort in the Asian region. In 2014, aside from three races in China – among others, held in conjunction with the WEC at Shanghai and the DTM at Guangzhou – the world’s first one-make cup of AUDI AG will take place in Malaysia, in South Korea and, for the first time, in Japan. Following the fielding of 16 race cars in the inaugural season and 20 last year, Audi China is planning to put up to 24 Audi R8 LMS cars on the grid.
The extensive motorsport commitment of AUDI AG is complemented by the offer of the Audi race experience, which gives customers with sporting ambitions the opportunity to personally drive the Audi R8 LMS ultra. In addition to individual training sessions, the Audi race experience offers racing commitments in the VLN Endurance Championship and in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. The three-time Le Mans winner Marco Werner, the former DTM race driver Rahel Frey and the former 24-hour Nürburgring winner Markus Winkelhock will be passing on their knowledge as instructors.
courtesy of Audi