Audi R18 – Contemporary LMP Tech


Audi have just launched their latest LMP car to contest the Le Mans 24h, Now with a downsized V6 turbodiesel the chassis has been given a closed cockpit.   The chassis exploits both current thinkign and some innovations.  I’ll soon add more detail to this article, for now I just wanted to post the pictures, each with as simple summary

R18 - front diffuser


R18 - Diffuser flow out through gap between chassis and wheelpod


R18 Tail fin - working with the chamfered underfloor, the fin creates high pressure above the car to prevent blowovers when the car's sideways


R18 wing pillar, the pillar forms a structural end to the tail fin, it's swan-necked to fre the underside of the wing from obstructions


R18 two part doors - following Peugeots lead, the doors are split to meet the FIA template, only the top half is normally opened


R18 front vanes - in order to maintain flow 'through' the car and still obscure the mechanical parts, these vanes are used


R18 wheelpods - pressure build up in the wheel arches creates lift, venting the arch helps creates downforce, the size of the upper vented openings are constrained by the rules

14 thoughts on “Audi R18 – Contemporary LMP Tech

  1. Thanks Scarbs! It’s a shame the rules force Audi to ditch the roadster. Just something about two cars battling that actually LOOK different…..
    Any inside into why a V-6? Must be finding gobs of power to be dropping cylinders yet again.

    • @Redstorm: A rule change. Max displacements for 2011 and post regulations are 3.7L and 8 cylinders for diesels, 3.4L for NA petrol engines and 2.0L and 6 cylinders for turbocharged petrols.

      Unfortunately I’m sure air restrictor sizes and boost pressures will yet again make sure diesel will have a considerable advantage over any petrol engine.

    • I’m glad Audi has finally build a coupe.
      LeMans Prototypes should, in my opinion, in a sense be prototypes of what you and I drive > a closed top car.
      Monoposto’s / formula cars (F1 / GP2 / F3 etc.) should be open. Sports cars shouldn’t.

    • It’s not just because of the rules that forced Audi ditch the roadster design.

      “In the future, aerodynamic efficiency will be even more important at Le Mans than it was in the past,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “A closed car has clear advantages in this respect. Our computer simulations have been confirmed in the wind tunnel and during initial track tests.”

      • So what was the advantage of open-top cars? I mean, if it is more aerodynamic to have closed tops, why have they only just developed one?

      • @Henry: Advantage of open cars was driver change during pitstops. Was, because for 2009 pitstops essentially became longer when wheelguns were reduced from two to one. If R15 had been designed before this rule change, it probably would have been closed one.

  2. To me, the R18 is very reminiscent of Dome S102 – the layout, the proportions. I haven’t kept myself up to date with what’s going on with the Japanese team. Any possibility there’s been some transfer of ideas (beyond a passive confluence of design optimisation over time)?

  3. Thanks Scarbs, great article and fantastic pictures.
    I’m more of an F1 fan LM racing, so I was wondering…that shark fin engine cover, it looks very similar in principle to those used in F1. Do you think we could see a F-duct implemented for these type of cars, or would the reg’s or downforce levels not permit it?

      • Ah right, thanks for the reply. It certainly looks the business anyway, I really like the old R10, but they seem to have taken the design up a notch here. Let’s hope it goes well.

  4. I don’t mind it being a coupe (Audi). The thing I find most interesting is the fact of a Vee 6 engine is being used and probably a single turbocharger. I for one loved the R15 and think that this one looks a little neater but they all look better after a win or two!

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