Audi has revealed more details on its new R15, which will make its racing debut in the upcoming Sebring Twelve Hours, ahead of an assault on Le Mans later in the year.
The new car will be the first 'second generation' diesel LMP1 machine as it looks to follow in the footsteps of the successful R10, which remains the only diesel car to have won in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
At the heart of the new car is a newly developed V10 TDi engine, which is more compact and lighted that the engine used in the R10. Innovations in the turbo-charging and fuel-injection will provide improved engine response, while fuel consumption and CO2 emissions could also be reduced.
The new car's aerodynamics have been refined, with the airflow around and through the car being optimised with Computational Fluid Dynamics. Included among the many innovative detail solutions which can be spotted at first glance are a rear wing suspended from the top and a high nose.
The vehicle electrical system in the Le Mans sports car is entirely new, with a lithium-ion battery, as found in some hybrid vehicles, used for the first time as part of the electrical system. The new battery will be lighter than a conventional one while supplying a higher voltage.
The headlights fitted to the R15 TDi also benefit from the higher power. At Le Mans, Audi will compete for the first time with a low beam unit comprised entirely of light emitting diodes, which represents the next generation of Audi LED technology for road cars.
Under the skin, the front and rear suspension have has been raised and thanks to a longer wheelbase and the optimised vehicle weight, the R15 TDi is significantly more agile than its predecessor.
“The R15 TDi has many detailed technical solutions never seen before on a sports prototype,” head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “To a certain extent we followed entirely new routes.
“With the R15 TDi we have created the base to be in a position to win also in 2009.”