Even though the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans is many moons away, Audi teased the new R18 E-Tron Quattro, firing off the first shots of the 2014 endurance racing season. Porsche responded in kind by announcing their LMP1 competitor would use four cylinders and two hybrid systems. Not to be outdone, Audi announced it has added a secondary hybrid system to the R18 as well.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, and the new Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro is a lot like the old one. A turbodiesel V6 powers the rear wheels, and an electric hybrid system drives the front wheels, controlled by a boost button used at the discretion of the driver. New for this year though is an electronic turbocharger that captures waste heat and turns it into electricity
That energy can then be dumped either into the electric motor at the front wheels, or into the turbocharger to keep it spinning at maximum RPMs. Audi also made a number of aerodynamic enhancements to keep the R18 at the front of the pack. While their winning streak is impressive, it will someday come to an end, and with more challengers announcing their intentions and race cars every month, one has to wonder if the curtain isn’t closing on Audi’s winning streak.
After all, how long can it last?