Audi R18 e-tron quattro 2015 preview - an in depth look at the new Le Mans car

Does this year's Audi have what it takes to win again?

First impressions of Audi's new R18 Le Mans racer might have you struggling to spot differences with last year's car. Look closer though and you can see just what extensive work has been done in order for Audi to remain consistently competitive.

2015 more than ever, is a crucial year for Audi Sport and endurance racing. Last year Porsche very nearly took the win at Le Mans, while Toyota has the quickest car but the worst luck.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Nissan has now entered the game with its front-wheel drive GT-R LM Nismo and while it may have pulled out of the first two races of the season, the team still has a Le Mans victory in sight.

As such, Audi has drastically revised the aero setup for this year's Le Mans car, as well as addressing efficiency requirements for the powertrain.

Comparing the front end of the new R18 with last year's car, the most obvious difference are the bigger dive planes, as well as huge air inlets on the front wheel arches, the latter in an attempt to reduce aerodynamic drag. Such significant changes meant Audi had to have the R18's crash structure completely re-tested for 2015.

Moving along the vehicle, the sidepods are paired with new radiator configurations to help better cool the engine and hybrid systems. Finally the rear end of the car is packaged a lot tighter which again is to help reduce drag.

In terms of powertrain, the 4-litre V6 TDI now outputs 550bhp which is paired up with a 268bhp electric motor that drives the front axle. 

Audi has decided to run into the 4 megajoules class of hybrid output for its 2015 race season, which means the revised R18 powertrain will need to use 2.5 percent less diesel per lap.

The end result is an R18 e-tron quattro with more power, improved efficiency and better aero. Given the success over previous years for the car, it's likely that this formula will see it remaining hugely competitive.

The car also now finds its home at Audi Sport's new Neuberg HQ, which will act as a central hub for Audi's entire racing setup, from TT Cup cars to DTM and all the way up to LMP1.

For those interested in seeing the new R18 in action, it will make its race debut on the 10th April at the Silverstone WEC race.



Quarantine Quattro - iconic Audi rally scenes recreated in Lego

15 Apr 2020

New 2020 Audi RSQ3 Sportback review

31 Mar 2020

New Audi e-tron GT spied testing

17 Mar 2020

Abt reveals tuning upgrades for new Audi RS4, RS6, RS7 and RSQ8

30 Jan 2020

Most Popular

Best cars

The world's 10 best GT cars - 6-4

These cars have the ability to make long-distance journeys relaxing while still being able to thrill on a twisting road
16 Sep 2020
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 RSR v GT3 R v GT3 Cup - track-only 911s driven

They’re aimed at different levels of motorsport, but what exactly separates Porsche’s 911 RSR, GT3 R and GT3 Cup models, and what are they like to dri…
20 Sep 2020
Best cars

The world's 10 best GT cars - 3-1

These cars have the ability to make long-distance journeys relaxing while still being able to thrill on a twisting road
16 Sep 2020

Toyota GR Super Sports revealed at 2020 Le Mans 24hr

Toyota is gearing up for the 2022 WEC Hypercar class, showing off it’s contender for the 2020/21 season
21 Sep 2020