The Audi R18 E-tron Quattro Is A Diesel Hybrid AWD Race Car

Illustration for article titled The Audi R18 E-tron Quattro Is A Diesel Hybrid AWD Race Car

Someone in Ingolstadt is putting ecstasy in the water supply. It's the only way to explain how the Audi R18 Hybrid we've heard about became this diesel hybrid AWD race car. Get your glow sticks out, we're about to rave to the Audi R18 E-tron Quattro.

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Details are just being released, but from what we've seen the latest addition to Audi's award-winning racing stable is this "e-tron quattro" racer. Annoying capitalization aside, the LMP1 car is the world's first to have a diesel-electric hybrid system that mates the car's usual TDI engine out back powering the rear wheels with electric motors up front to power the front wheels.

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When Audi started dropping hints of a hybrid racer you might have assumed there'd be some sort of lame gearbox-based setup. You'd have been wrong. The R18 grabs kinetic energy from braking and feeds it into a flywheel accumulator and puts it out through the front with electric motors.

If this sounds familiar to you it appears to be similar to the system tested on the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid

In case you were curious about how this fits into the racing season: yes, this car is going to race at Le Mans. Audi is bringing four cars to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Two of them will be the Hybrid and two of them will be the R18 Ultra, which is basically a lighter version of last year's car. Both cars are identical but for the hybrid system.

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It'll be competing with the Toyota Hybrid Prototype, who is picking this up where Peugeot left off.

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June can't get here quickly enough.

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DISCUSSION

Xander, Proud of BOXER

Several tidbits:

1. Apparently Peugeot lobbied like mad to drop the power supply from 1 MJ to 500 kJ, then they promptly dropped out.

2. There is an option of using the electric motors to power either the front or the rear wheels. If the front wheels, they can only be activated after a certain speed (which I can't recall, something in the double digit km/hr region).

3. Toyota hasn't decided if they're going to mount their motors up front or in the back, they have two setups.