Rules on vehicle dimensions have resulted in the width of the R18 e-tron quattro being reduced by 10 cm, while the height of the vehicle is raised by 20 mm to 1,050 mm. The larger cockpit area leads to less favorable aerodynamics than the slimmer body and wheels, but teams can now use a genuine front wing with flaps rather than a diffuser, which means the car can be modified more easily to suit specific circuits rather than producing a variety of separate bodywork assemblies. The underfloor section has also been revised to complement the front wheel area.
The new R18 has to consume up to 30 percent less fuel than its predecessor; the V6 TDI engine driving the rear wheels has been retained, but this time it is supported by two hybrid systems. As previously seen, a Motor-Generator-Unit (MGU) harvests kinetic energy at the front axle during braking, which flows into a flywheel energy storage system, while an additional unit linked to the turbocharger converts the thermal energy created by the exhaust gases into electricity.
Other new features include a CFRP structure behind the transmission – the so-called ‘crasher’ – which absorbs energy in a collision, while new wheel tethers, which connect the front suspension units to the monocoque and the rears to the chassis, must withstand forces of 90 KN – the equivalent of a weight force of nine metric tons.
Audi also stated that the new minimum weight limit of 870 kilograms meant that its engineers had to take ultra-lightweight design technology to a new dimension as last year’s car tipped the scales at 915 kg – and that’s before the introduction of a second hybrid system.
Fans can see the new R18 e-tron quattro making its racing debut in the 6-hour race at Silverstone on April 20.
[Source: Audi Motorsport]