Audi is getting ready for the 2016 motorsport season with the redesigned R18, which was officially unveiled during the Audi Sport Finale at the company’s Training Center in Munich, on Saturday.
The impressive machine is billed as “the most powerful and efficient race car Audi has ever built” and it brings a modified hybrid system with lithium-ion batteries and “an efficiency-optimized TDI engine”. Audi hasn’t released any specs on the 4.0-liter turbo diesel V6, but in the previous model, the unit was rated at 558hp and 850Nm (626lb-ft), backed up by a 272hp electric motor.
“With our new Audi R18, we’re setting a clear signal: Audi continues to put the pedal to the metal in motorsport, deliberately relying on TDI – the world’s most successful automotive efficiency technology – at Le Mans“, said Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport.
The new racing car sports visual changes in the front and rear ends compared to the 2015 model, but the automaker hasn’t detailed them so far.
The Audi R18 will compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours race and in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The 2016 WEC season will start on April 17, in Great Britain, at Silverstone, with both Audi and Porsche to scale back their presence due to cost-cuts associated with the VW Group emissions scandal, entering two instead of three cars.
In related news, the Audi R8 LMS has beencompleted for GT racing and deliveries to customers have begun. Audi Sport customer racing is looking into the possibility of expanding production scheduled for the 2016 season, due to high demand, after just 45 cars were planned initially.
The Audi customer teams will race the new R8 LMS in four continents, including the R8 LMS Cup in Asia. The model will also compete in the Fia GT World Cup in Macau, in the 12-hour race at Bathurst, at the 24-hours races at the Nurburgring and at Spa.
In DTM, Audi will keep the eight drivers who scored ten victories for the company in 18 races, for the 2015 season. The “four rings” brand says the only change will be Adrien Tambay and Nico Muller, who will swap teams.