“You’re looking at the most advanced race car on the planet – and its diesel powered”
The Audi V10 TDI engine produces more than 447kW and a massive 1,050Nm but is more compact and lighter than the twelve-cylinder unit, which powered the historic 2006 Le Mans winning Audi R10 TDI car. Historic, as this was the first diesel powered racecar to ever win the prestigious French endurance race.
But Audi is no stranger when it comes to winning at Le Mans, its astonishingly successful R8 racecar, knocked up an amazing five wins at this super high-speed track from the year 2000.
The R15 TDI is the world’s first ‘second’ generation diesel sports racer competing in the Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) category, and will debut on March 21 at Sebring, in Florida USA.
It’s a highly advanced Sports Car employing a host of new technologies over the R10 TDI, and may well be considered a live test bed for features you may well see in your entry-level Audi passenger car, in just a few short years.
For example, the low beam headlight unit is made up entirely of light emitting diodes, which would seem to represent the next step in passenger car lighting, at least for Audi badge vehicles, that is.
And rather than using a conventional type of battery to power the car’s electrical system, R15 TDI employs a lithium-ion battery, as this is both lighter and supplies a higher voltage.
Audi have also evolved their turbo-charging and direct injection technology, which has resulted in improved engine response, if that was possible.
Even more relevant to the future Audi customer, is that the R15 TDI uses a new generation of diesel particulate filters, which are lighter again.
With speeds down the Mulsanne Straight reaching over 330km/h aerodynamics are critical, and Audi has taken this science to new levels using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics).
The R15 TDI has been CFD optimised so that airflow around the car at high speeds will cause minimal resistance to the car’s forward motion.
Audi Sport, is said to have ploughed some US$15 million a year into the R10 TDI project, and you would expect the new car to be even more expensive. However, if you consider the new technologies, which have been developed for the R15 TDI, and how they will most likely end up in a passenger car costing less than $50,000, then I would call that money well spent.
British race driver, Allan McNish will drive the Audi R15 TDI at Seabring in March, and expect to see him on the podium.