Audi e-tron quattro and Ultra R18

Today, in Munich, Audi unveiled their newest Le Mans competitors.  That’s right competitors – as in two different cars: the hybrid Audi R18 e-tron quattro and the R18 Ultra.

The R18 Ultra is an upgraded/improved version of last year’s Le Mans winning R18.  Similar to what Audi did to the R15 in creating the R15+, the R18 Ultra features improved aerodynamics, an all-new gearbox, and improved cockpit visibility.

Audi also introduced the R18 e-tron quattro.  Using an innovative four-wheel drive system, Audi uses electric motors mounted on the front axle as well as their 3.7-liter V6 turbo diesel powering the rear wheels.

Audi’s flywheel-based hybrid system, which has been in development for the last two years, takes kinetic energy recovered from the front wheels under braking and turns it into additional power through the use of electric motors, which by ACO rules, can only be engaged at speeds over 120 kph.

Both cars will make their racing debuts in the 6 Hours of Spa in May as a test run for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.  Audi will be at Sebring this year, but will be running last year’s R18.

UPDATE: Video from the presentation

Photos and video courtesy of Audi Sport



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