The perfect platform to demonstrate its e-tron hybrid powertrain, German auto maker Audi announced it will be fielding its Audi R18 e-tron Quattro diesel hybrid LMP1 in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, auto world’s most prestigious endurance race. Initial plans to create the first ever all-wheel drive Le Mans Prototype race vehicle with hybrid powertrain got its start back in 2010. Constructed side-by-side with Audi R18 TDI Ultra LMP1, the design which went on to win the 2011 Le Mans 21 Hours, engineers at Audi Sport Team Joest were keen to compensate the hybrid system’s additional weight. Quite similar in appearances and design, the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro will utilize a V6 TDI turbocharged diesel engine, capable of generating 510 horsepower, to power its rear wheels. At the same time, the e-tron system will power the front axle with recovered kinetic energy from braking and electric motors on the front wheels. To lessen the overall weight, Audi also created a new gearbox out of carbon fiber, a first of its kind in endurance race. As juxtaposition to the two hybrids, Audi Sport Team Joest will include two Audi R18 TDI Ultra to increase the chance of a win, All four vehicles will debut on May 5th as they take part in the 6-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps.
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