Audi Sport chose not to wait until next weekend’s FIA WEC Prologue at Le Castellet, France, to reveal the LM P1 hybrid prototype challenger that will defend the German firm’s chances in world class endurance racing in 2016.
The car was revealed on Audi Media TV after turning a wheel for the first time last December at Sebring, Florida, USA.
In its bid to match Porsche, Audi has produced a completely new prototype which will be powered by a new four-litre diesel V6. The hybrid system now only recovers energy via the front wheels and the former flywheel energy storage has been replaced by a lithium-ion battery. After switching to the 4 MJ category for 2015, the team has ‘upgraded’ to 6 MJ for 2016.
The monocoque chassis, hydraulic system and transmission are also all new, with a six-speed gearbox replacing the former five-speed unit. “It’s a new car,” stated Audi Sport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
The only unchanged factor is the driver line-up which continues to feature Lotterer/Fässler/Tréluyer and Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis.
Audi sees the new R18 e-tron quattro as a chance to recover its front-running role in the discipline it dominated for a decade. Its most recent victory dates back to Spa, 2015