“The next Audi R18 e-tron quattro represents a completely new generation of Le Mans prototypes,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “The principles of the LMP1 regulations have fundamentally changed. The idea behind this is to achieve similarly fast lap times as in the past with considerably less energy. Making more out of less: a forward-thinking approach.”
Chris Reinke, Head of LMP at Audi Sport, talks about a ‘revolution in thinking.’ “A fundamental approach to motorsport is being abandoned. Instead of power output, energy consumption will be subject to limitations – this is in line with the spirit of our times and opens up great technical freedoms to the engineers. In 2014, we’ll be seeing a wide variety of concepts on the grid at Le Mans.”
With the new R18, Audi Sport has opted for a similar concept as in the past – albeit with innovative detailed solutions and an additional hybrid system. The key details:
-A further developed V6 TDI mid-engine powers the rear wheels
-e-tron quattro hybrid system at the front axle (ERS-K – Energy Recovery System Kinetic, a system to store kinetic energy)
-Optimized flywheel energy storage system
-Hybrid system with an electric turbocharger in the internal combustion engine (ERS-H – Energy Recovery System Heat, a system that stores energy converted from heat)
The further developed V6 TDI unit of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro has to do with up to 30 percent less fuel than its immediate predecessor. In addition to the internal combustion engine, the powertrain concept, for the first time, features the integration of two hybrid systems. As in the past, a Motor-Generator-Unit (MGU), during braking events, recovers kinetic energy at the front axle, which flows into a flywheel energy storage system. For the first time, the turbocharger of the internal combustion engine is linked to an electrical machine, which makes it possible to convert the thermal energy of the exhaust gas flow into electric energy – for instance when the boost pressure limit has been reached. This energy also flows into the flywheel energy storage system. When the car accelerates, the stored energy can either flow back to the MGU at the front axle or to the innovative electric turbocharger, depending on the operating strategy.
The overall design of these systems and their direct impact on engine and powertrain management require highly complex coordination and tuning work. (No shit.) Audi Sport initially performed theoretical analyses and simulations, followed by rig testing and, since October, by track tests. The options available to the drivers and engineers as a result of the new technology are now more extensive than with the previous racing machine.
(Images courtesy of Porsche)
Porsche has concluded the 2013 development program of its new LMP1 race car by completing the year’s final series of test laps at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimão, Portugal. Formula One driver Mark Webber participated in the last test session of the year, ahead of officially joining the Porsche factory team on January 1st. Webber will join the already confirmed Porsche driver lineup of Le Mans-winners Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, and Neel Jani. Testing will resume in early 2014. Porsche will field two LMP1 prototype race cars in the sports car World Endurance Championship (WEC) starting in April, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans the highlight of the season.The WEC regulations stipulate that manufacturers run hybrid vehicles in the top class for Le Mans Prototypes (LMP1). In developing the all-new LMP1 race car, Porsche engineers have developed a high-performance hybrid drive system that consists of a four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and two energy recuperation systems. The recovered energy is stored in a battery until retrieved by the driver. A powerful electric motor then provides additional drive to the front axle. The WEC rules limit the amount of fuel as well as the electrical "boost" energy available to the driver per lap. The development of such a highly-efficient drive will have positive influences on the development of production sports cars at Porsche, according to the manufacturer.
Webber commented in Portimão: “My first day in this fascinating project was an intense experience for me. I would like to thank Red Bull Racing for giving me the chance to join the project so early. This is a major and important step for us all. It allows me to integrate with the team quicker and to contribute to further developing the LMP1 race car. We have a long way to go and it involves a lot of hard work. I have no misconceptions about this.”
To follow the preparations of the Porsche LMP1 team in the lead up to tackling the WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, visit:www.porsche.com/mission2014.
On the eve of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC) series, Porsche Cars North America has commissioned a retrospective video covering its 12 ALMS Manufacturer and 14 Driver Championships during thee 15 years of the American Le Mans Series. The one-minute, 15-second video by ALMS Productions video and TangentVector editing provides glimpses of Porsche's 116 ALMS class wins – by far the most by a manufacturer in series history - including footage of the Porsche RS Spyder prototypes and the Porsche 911 GT3 R/RS/RSR championships. Watch the video here.
Add the McLaren P1 to the list of production cars (along with the Porsche 918 Spyder) that have achieved a sub-seven minute lap at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. Watch the video here.
(Photo by John Lamm)
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will celebrate the 100-year history of Maserati, next August 14-17, 2014, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. A 1957 Maserati 250F leads a 1939 Maserati 4CL through the Corkscrew (above).
Tony Kanaan's image was unveiled on the Borg-Warner Trophy on December 2nd. Kanaan finally won the single most coveted race in the world - the Indianapolis 500 - last May after many years of trying.
Sebastian Vettel has been named International Racing Driver of the Year and the Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB9 handed the prize for Racing Car of the Year at this year's Autosport Awards in the UK, the fourth year in a row driver and team have been honored in the categories.