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Motorsport and Production

Motorsport and Production

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Audi in Le Mans: History, technology and more
Audi in Le Mans: History, technology and more

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Published by: Fourtitude.com on Jun 25, 2013
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Motorsport and Production

Audi Le Mans Prototypes 1999–2013

CFRP e-tron quattro

ultra lightweight design

WEC Le Mans

24 Hours



4 6

Editorial by Wolfgang Dürheimer Comparison between Audi sports prototypes

14 20 26 34 40 48 52 56 58 64 66

Win rate ultra-lightweight design Assistance systems Engine technology Aerodynamics Interview with Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich DTM–LMP comparison Number facts Audi R8 LMS ultra and Audi R8 Technology transfer Masthead




Wolfgang Dürheimer Audi has been competing at Le Mans since 1999. This year, we will again be challenged to continue the unrivaled string of successes achieved in recent years and to clinch the twelfth victory in the world’s most famous endurance race.






emitted by Matrix-Beam headlights. This is the future of lighting technology, in production cars as well. At the world’s toughest 24-hour race, Audi, with a hybrid race car, is testing tomorrow’s automotive technology today. I wish you a gripping race at Le  Mans and a fascinating season with thrilling motorsport in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

what is left for Audi to prove at Le Mans, having achieved eleven

victories there to date. Does the technology transfer from motorsport to production really exist? At first glance, Le Mans prototypes such as the Audi R18 e-tron quattro seem to have clearly less of a kinship with our production cars than an Audi RS 5 DTM

or an R8 LMS ultra, for example. The latest issue of our MediaInfo magazine ‘Motorsport and Production’ invites you to discover that appearances are deceptive though. It will show you that Le Mans, right in the spirit of this tradition-steeped race, is the toughest test lab for new developments for us. Did you know, for instance, that our engineers have reduced fuel consumption by more than 20 percent since 2006 when we started to use TDI technology? Or that the safety cell – the CFRP monocoque – now weighs only half of what it did in 1999? Today, assistance systems support our race drivers. This, too, is leading-edge technology, which is particularly relevant for Audi’s current and future automobiles. Our race drivers are looking forward with the LED light beam, which has a range of more than 800 meters, Wolfgang Dürheimer Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Technical Development


Looking beneath the skin


Comparison between Audi sports prototypes 14 years have passed since Audi competed at Le Mans for the first time. The first LMP sports car in 1999 was an Audi R8R. Today, the brand relies on the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. There is a world of difference between these two models. Dr. Martin Mühlmeier, Head of Technology at Audi Sport, has accompanied the development of the sports prototypes back then and today. A look beneath the carbon fiber skin of the race cars brings back memories of exciting developments in all areas.


Dr. Martin Mühlmeier looks back on 14 years of sports car development

Audi achieved major progress, from the steel roll bar to the closed CFRP cell.

Mühlmeier, Head of Technology at Audi Sport, recalling the transition period shortly before the start of the new millennium. Until 1998, all Audi race cars were still based on steel structures. Except for the 1989 Audi 90 IMSA GTO, all rally models and touring cars were directly derived from production models. “The 1999 R8R was our first concept with a stressed CFRP structure. This material exhibits a completely different behavior. While metallic materials bend or break in a crash, carbon fiber collapses. Consequently, the calculation methods used here are totally different.” In the early phase, Dallara assisted with their experience. The Italian company acquired its expertise over many years as a constructor of ‘monoposti’ (open-wheelers) and sports prototypes. “Audi Sport When comparing the 1999 R8R and the R18 e-tron quattro, 14 years of progress in all areas become evident – starting on the outside. The first car subsequently entered the field of CFRP on its own,” Dr. Mühlmeier goes on to explain. “We implemented this know-how, strengthened our resources by recruiting highly skilled personnel and developed proprietary calculation methods. This soon made it possible for us to calculate structures, strength and crash behavior in-house.”


ot even the mathematical calculation methods have remained the same,” says Dr. Martin

The arrival of TDI power in 2006 marked a change of the entire concept 8

The development of the seven generations of LMP race cars
Audi R8R (1999)
On its debut, Audi opted for a conventionally designed sports car. A V8 bi-turbo unit powered the mid-engine race car. Its water radiators were installed at the front. At both the Sebring 12 Hours and the Le Mans 24 Hours, Audi celebrated a podium finish with the roadster. Its opponents at La Sarthe back then were the factory teams of Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, BMW and Panoz.

Audi R8 (2000–2005)
Audi’s so far most successful sports prototype owes its list of 63 victories in 80 races to its concept, as well as to its long life. Five of the sports car’s six runs at Le Mans ended in victory, despite increasingly severe limitations imposed on power and performance by the regulations. In addition to constant further development of aerodynamics, the engine changed as well. In 2001, TFSI gasoline direct injection made its debut.

Audi R10 TDI (2006–2008)
Unbeaten – this is the strong track record of the Audi R10 TDI at Le Mans. Visually, the revolutionary car still bore some resemblance to its predecessor, the R8. But the V12 TDI engine with more than 650 hp was a pioneering achievement. From the cooling system to the wheelbase, from the axle load distribution to the aerodynamic concept, every area was affected by the diesel revolution.

Audi R15 TDI (2009–2010)
Audi’s last open sports car to date secured its entry in the history books. In 2010, Audi set a new distance record with the innovative roadster at the Le Mans 24 Hours. Its V10 TDI engine paved the way for VTG turbocharger technology in racing, its lithium-ion battery and LED high-beam headlights rang in a new era in other areas as well.

Audi R18 TDI (2011)
Audi ultra-lightweight technology was embodied by the R18 TDI in an exemplary way. The engineers created a lot of reserves for ideal positioning of ballast weight. Thus, the sports car powered by a V6 TDI engine excelled in delivering well-balanced handling. The closed sports car won one of the most thrilling Le Mans races in recent history with a 13.854-second advantage.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro (2012)
Visually a close relative of the R18 TDI, the R18 e-tron quattro carried the next revolution under its bodywork. The V6 TDI engine continued to drive the rear wheels. A hybrid system at the front axle completed the powertrain. A flywheel accumulator stored the recuperated energy and supplied it to the front wheels again on acceleration. The prototype immediately won the race.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro (2013)
In 2013, Audi is relying on an evolution of the revolution. The hybrid sports car has a more efficient hybrid system, new details and modern assistance systems such as the digital inside mirror and LED headlights with matrixbeam technology. Specifically for Le Mans, Audi has developed a new overall aerodynamics concept. The long-tail body catches the eye. Now, the bodywork is flush with the rear wing.

Audi has acquired a wealth of knowhow in order to master all technologies inhouse – from working with materials through to engineering design, calculation and simulation.

The period between Audi’s first run at Le Mans in 1999 and today has seen major development leaps

minimum weight of 900 kilograms with relatively high accuracy. Today, an R18 e-tron quattro that tips the scales at 915 kilos weighs almost the same. However, it is powered by a diesel engine, which is heavier due to its basic design, has a closed cockpit and contains a complex hybrid system. Still, it remains below the minimum
Audi uses Le Mans as a technology lab

weight. That’s why we can work with ballast weight on the set-up.” How are such major strides achieved? “When we were developing our first car, a steel roll bar was typically used,” recalls Mühlmeier, who has a PhD in

featuring a roadster concept, which laid the foundation for the ‘R’ being used in the name of the ‘R8’ model range abbreviation, looks pretty plain by today’s standards. But how can progress be measured? Dr. Mühlmeier cites weight as an impressive example: “With the R8R we met the prescribed

engineering. “As of 2000, an integrated CFRP roll bar was implemented. Since 2011, we have been fielding the R18 with a closed monocoque that is completely made of CFRP and features a one-piece design.” In the case of the body, a lot has changed as well. The first skin was designed for relatively high robustness and permitted severe body contact in duels. Now, the body consists of a

Audi’s in-house responsibilities for its LMP sports cars have long included aerodynamics as well


Chris Reinke was Technical Project Manager in the past and assumed overall responsibility as Head of LMP in 2013

very thin-layered carbon construction. The steering system is another example. In 1999, power steering was still a hydraulic system supported by the engine. Since the R10 TDI, which made its debut in 2006, the driver’s work at the wheel has been electrically assisted. ultra-lightweight design, which achieves significant savings in current Audi production models, is desirable in all areas of racing. The suspension of the LMP sports prototypes has become notably lighter. The lithium-ion battery that has been used since the 2009 R15 TDI saved 7 kilograms of weight compared with a lead battery. One of the major single steps the engineers achieved concerned the carbon fiber transmission: Since 2012, Audi has been saving a double-digit number of kilos in just one step. At the same time, the engineers improved the efficiency of the entire race car. Aerodynamically, the R18 e-tron quattro is a lot more efficient than the first model. Engine technology has even seen true leaps in efficiency. Not only the switch from gasoline to diesel engines in 2006 represented a major step, as the current V6 TDI engine makes very favorable fuel consumption possible. More than 20 percent fuel savings have been achieved in the diesel era. Next season, a fundamentally different set of regulations will place an even greater focus on efficiency.

ultra-lightweight design, which achieves significant savings in current Audi production models, is desirable in all areas of racing. The suspension of the LMP sports prototypes has become notably lighter.

But Audi has not only clearly progressed in terms of technology but also with respect to manpower. Today, a total of 250 employees are working for Audi Sport at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm locations. Under the direction of Audi Head of Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, they take care of the factory-backed motorsport commitments in the DTM and in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). For 2013, new responsibilities have been established. Dieter Gass, as Head of DTM, is responsible for the program with the Audi RS 5 DTM. Chris Reinke, as Head of LMP, manages the sports car program with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. Both report directly to Dr. Ullrich, who has overall responsibility for all factory-backed programs. ◆


Audi is aiming for the brand’s twelfth Le Mans victory with the R 18 e-tron quattro 13

Advantage through efficiency


Win rate Audi has shaped the world’s most important endurance race since 1999 like no other automobile manufacturer. Eleven victories in 14 events, including the 2010 distance record – and the technology milestones set by the brand have been unrivaled too.


Two technological milestones in Audi’s Le Mans history were the introduction of TFSI gasoline direct injection in 2001 (above) and VTG turbocharger technology in the R15 TDI eight years later 16

The relevance to Audi’s series products is crucial for innovations.

engineering. Conversely, motorsport has been benefiting from the diverse know-how of AUDI AG’s Technical Development (TE) time and time again. Audi’s Le Mans track record to date underscores the company’s forward-thinking work and breaking records in the process. In 90 years of Le Mans history since 1923, no other manufacturer has been able to look back on such an amazing tradition of success sto-

disc brakes (1953) to turbocharging (1974), from the Wankel engine (1970) to carbon brakes (1990), from TFSI gasoline direct injection (2001) to the first diesel victory with the TDI (2006), from the VTG turbocharger in Audi’s TDI engine (2009) through to the R18 e-tron quattro (2012). It was the forst hybrid sports car that won the race. Ever since Audi has been involved in the most important endurance race, a single factor has acquired crucial importance: efficiency – a core competency of the brand with the four rings. In the course of a decade and a half, Audi has launched numerous innovations at Le Mans. The crucial aspect for the company, which carries the claim of ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ in its name, is the relevance of its inventions to the brand’s series products. Innovations from racing have always been fed back into automotive


he 24-hour race at Le Mans has accelerated numerous innovations since its inaugural event in 1923 – from

ries and technological milestones. Audi has clinched eleven victories in 14 events since 1999. This equates to a rate of 78.6 percent. With that, Audi has advanced to second place on the all-time winners’ list with respect to the absolute number of wins achieved. The current number one – Porsche – has taken 16 victories – albeit, from 1970 onward, spread over a period of 28 years. Since 1923, 24 marques have decided the endurance race in France in their favor.

Audi celebrated one-two-three wins at Le Mans five times – the first time was in 2000


All eleven Le Mans victories have been clinched under the direction of Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich

Including its victories, Audi has captured 27 podium places at La Sarthe to date. This, too, equates to the runner-up’s spot on the all-time list of the best contenders. A special reason to celebrate existed an amazing five times, as in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2010 and 2012, Audi drivers took a clean sweep of the podium at the classic endurance race. With respect to an absolute best mark, Audi has taken the lead. A distance record set by Porsche existed since 1971. It was subsequently regarded as being practically impossible to equal due to track conversions. Two chicanes on the long Hunaudières straight have been clearly slowing the race cars on the fastest track sector to this day. Still, in 2010, Audi broke the existing record when the victorious R15 TDI, having covered a distance of 5,410.713 kilometers, surpassed the

previous best mark by 75.4 kilometers. In the following years, the regulations again significantly reduced the engine power of the LMP race cars. In addition, smaller fuel tank capacities result in shorter pit stop intervals. The progress achieved by Audi is the result of targeted development. All innovations are marked by two common factors: They are efficient and relevant to production cars – this applies to TFSI gasoline direct injection as well as to the TDI engine including the VTG (Variable Turbine Geometry) turbocharger, to quattro four-wheel drive, to e-tron hybrid technology, to ultra-lightweight design, to LED lighting technology and to numerous other detailed solutions. Various driver assistance systems that make driving in normal road traffic easier and safer are

Audi celebrated its most recent success at Le Mans in 2012 with the R18 e-tron quattro sports car

gaining importance at Le Mans as well. A key prerequisite for such innovations is the desirability of the related progress. Compared with the sporting rules for many international touring car, formula or rally categories, the regulations for LMP sports prototypes are particularly conducive to fielding innovations and different concepts. The competition at Le Mans regularly shows that ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ is measurable. Right in the first decade of its program, Audi achieved impressive improvements. From 2000 to 2010, fuel consumption dropped by more than ten percent although the average speed in the race increased from 208.6 to 225.2 km/h. The milestone of the first hybrid victory in 2012 was linked to another significant efficiency increase: Consumption dropped to 33.34 liters – Audi thus reduced it by ten percent within twelve months. On June 22 and 23, on its 15th run at Le Mans, the brand will be battling with three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars to take its twelfth victory. In doing so, the focus is placed on rigorous ultra-lightweight design, optimized aerodynamics, an improved hybrid system, engine modifications, driver assistance systems, the matrix-beam headlight system and, of course, reliability and efficiency. “No other automobile manufacturer has a track record of Le Mans technology and sporting success that has been compressed into as short a time span as Audi,” emphasizes Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Le Mans has been pointing the way

to the future for a long time. The regulations promote innovations and the most efficient solutions like no other racing series does. We wish for this to continue to be the case in the future. This presupposes maximum equality of opportunity for different ideas.” ◆

Four shafts and a motor-generator unit (MGU): The e-tron quattro hybrid system won at Le Mans in 2012 19



ultra-lightweight design Audi has cultivated ultra-lightweight design and sets standards in the field of the sports prototypes. A comparison of the safety cells of the LMP race cars shows the magnitude of the improvements achieved by the Audi engineers in the past 15 years of development.


Even the first cells – in this case the one used in the 2001 Audi R8 – consisted of CFRP. At that time, though, the race cars still had open cockpits

(LMP). Materials such as CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) harbor major potential for optimizing weight. Although the first Audi LMP race car already had a monocoque made of the black fiber, the performance of the material that is still in use today has since been greatly enhanced. “In the space of 15 years, we’ve also achieved major progress in the area of ultra-lightweight design,” stresses Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Audi’s LMP sports cars have continually become lighter, stiffer, safer in crashes and more efficient. There is hardly another motorsport discipline in which the creativity of the engineers is rewarded as highly as it is with





the Le Mans prototypes. Whether in terms of engineering design details or materials: many of the ultra-lightweight ideas from motorsport have the potential of positively influencing the development of Audi’s production models. Reducing the weight of the cars is the key to our successful future – in motorsport and in production.” Right in its first LMP sports car – the 1999 R8R – Audi used a carbon fiber monocoque. Audi has significantly been reducing weight to this day. The monocoque is the central chassis component. It supports the front axle, the front and lateral body parts and, since 2012, the hybrid system. The engine is directly connected to the rear. The monocoque thus transmits the torsional and bending forces which are introduced through the wheel suspensions, and absorbs the impact energies that are generated in

weight design has been playing a central role with Audi’s Le Mans prototypes


The one-piece design of the monocoques used in the Audi R18 is a trendsetter in terms of safety and weight.

accidents – in frontal or side crashes as well as in rollovers. The chassis has become clearly more complex since 2006. At that time, Audi introduced a third springdamper element on each axle. It allows the loads generWith the R10 TDI, Audi integrated various functions and already used parts of the cell as body skin

ated by aerodynamic downforce to be cushioned without having a negative effect on the characteristics of any individual wheel suspension element. The Audi R8R (1999), the R8 (2000– 2005), the R10 TDI (2006–2008) and the R15 TDI (2009– 2010) all had open monocoques. With the R18 TDI (2011), Audi used a closed cell for the first time. Its onepiece design is a trend-setter for safety and weight. Up to then, the closed monocoques of competitors, for manufacturing reasons, had been made up of several elements. Although a closed cockpit requires the use of more material Audi has managed to cut the weight of the monocoque in half between 1999 and today, while surpassing all the safety and crash requirements of the FIA. Furthermore, Audi managed to again increase the torsional strength of the monocoque during this period of time despite the 50-percent reduction in weight. The comparison with a production car reveals interesting facts: with similar torsional values, the weight of the

The closed cell of the Audi R18 weighs only about half as much as the cell of the 1999 R8R


the transmission housing. Since 2012, it has been made of a lightweight and stable full-carbon construction in which the mounting points for the rear axle are integrated. In addition, very light backstays from the monocoque to the transmission housing optimize the stiffness of the rear end.
Audi relies on VTG technology for the turbocharger – the unit shown here is for the R18. 3.7 kilograms of weight could be saved early on

A chronological comparison illustrates the significance of the progress that has been made in ultra-lightweight design. The weight of a diesel engine, due to its design, exceeds that of a comparable gasoline engine in the two-digit percentage range. At the same time, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, since 2012, has been accommodating a hybrid system including a motor at the front axle. Still, the basic weight of the race car is below the minimum of 915 kilograms. The ballast weight is used to improve the set-up. The 1999 R8R, with a gasoline engine and without a hybrid system, weighed almost exactly 900 kilograms and hardly offered any latitude for ballast.

carbon cell of the R18 only amounts to about a fourth of the weight of a body-in-white made of steel sheet. The torsional and bending stiffness of the monocoque can only be completely effective if the fully stressed assemblies of the engine and transmission provide the corresponding stiffness. The V6 TDI engine with a 120-degree cylinder bank angle is based on an innovative architecture of the crankcase: Underneath the main bearing, the crankcase is of a ladder frame design. The lateral suction port of the dry sump and the finning connect the bearing blocks with each other. In combination with the upper crankcase deck, this creates a stiff unit. The engine and the monocoque have nearly the same stiffness. This chassis design is complemented by

Numerous smaller solutions have been accompanying the major steps. The carbon fiber gas pedal in the Audi R10 TDI already saved a few hundred grams of weight compared with an aluminum version, and the lithium-ion battery that was used for the first time in the 2009 R15 TDI even proved to be seven kilograms lighter than a lead storage battery. The turbocharger offered room for improvement as well. By using optimized components and a different material the engineers saved nearly 3.7 kilograms of weight with the variable-turbine-geometry turbocharger. At the same time, the engineers reduced the inertia moment of the turbine and the compressor wheels. Since then the response of the turbocharger to gas pedal movements has been clearly improved. ◆

The CFRP transmission housing has been designed as a fully stressed component of the chassis 24

An Audi R18 e-tron quattro today, with a diesel engine, hybrid system and ballast weight, weighs about as much as a 1999 R8R without these factors.

Audi used open monocoques from 1999 to 2010 (above). A central support already optimized the cell in the R8 (center). The R8’s successor, the R10 TDI, competed with a V12 diesel engine (below) 25

Surely faster with safety


Assistance systems Active safety and passive safety are two basic categories in automotive development. While active safety is designed to avoid accidents, passive safety serves to protect occupants in the event of an accident. Systems such as matrix-beam light that improve active safety are becoming increasingly important in motorsport. Audi has achieved a pioneering feat yet again.


The daytime running light of the Audi R10 TDI (above) consisted of LEDs. In the R15 TDI, Audi initially used LEDs to generate the daytime running light and subsequently the high-beam light (both pictured below). Ever since the R18 TDI (bottom), full LED headlights have become standard equipment

easier for the driver to change lanes by capturing the traffic situation using Radar, the ‘Audi pre sense’ safety system helps avoid accidents, the night vision assistant marks detected pedestrians – to name just a few examples. Not everything that is available in the entire range of technology is suitable for racing though. Various inventions are simply not allowed for use with Le Mans prototypes. Race drivers are expected to demonstrate their skills on the wheel and to battle for positions – instead of leisurely following the car in front with ‘Audi adaptive cruise control’ as a driver could in normal road traffic. Still, new synergies are created


udi customers are intimately familiar with assistance technology.

‘Audi side assist’ makes it

between production and racing. Currently, a digital system to optimize vision is being used in the Le Mans prototype. It may serve as a prototype for future production automobiles. This digital rear-view mirror makes rearward vision possible. A small camera is mounted on the roof of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro above the driver. The glass cover of the camera has a heater to prevent fogging and icing. The lens has a size of only a few millimeters and captures the traffic behind the car with a field angle of 60 degrees. The electrical signal is transmitted to a display in the cockpit. It is located in the same position as a rear-view mirror in a production car. As the rear of the monocoque facing the engine compartment has no window on a closed LMP model, a conventional mirror cannot be used. The display features innovative AMOLED technology. The acronym stands for Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode, in other words an organic light emitting diode with active matrix technology. Contrast is ten times better and energy consumption 30 percent lower compared to a liquid crystal display. With a screen diagonal of 6.8 inches, the display has a resolution of 600,000 pixels. Each pixel can be discretely

controlled. The display has a thickness of merely seven millimeters, including the mechanical components. “This invention is of enormous help to us,” stresses the two-time Le Mans winner and FIA WEC World Champion Marcel Fässler. “The AMOLED display has many advantages over a conventional mirror. It operates without any vibrations in any situation and provides us drivers with particularly clear vision. The width of the field angle is very helpful too. The blind spot, which is typical for all closed LMP race cars, has simply disappeared with our cars.”

Aside from these basic advantages, the invention pays off particularly in the present-day era. “Le Mans has long become a sprint race,” says the Swiss. “That’s why we’re battling for every second even when lapping in traffic. The system helps us assess where the rival’s car is, and this gives us higher safety reserves. We’re in a much better position to judge when we can change lines. And in a direct duel, we can tell whether a rival attacks from the right or left.” Although it does not belong to the group of driver assistance systems, advanced lighting

The sight distance of the headlights has increased by 85 percent since 2006.

453 m


482 m


836 m






There is a world of difference between the steering wheels from 1999 and today (right). Marcel Fässler is thrilled with the current functions


Audi successively integrated further functions into the steering wheel – as in the 2001 Audi R8 pictured here

technology clearly facilitates the work of the Audi factory drivers and increases active safety. Modern LED light was used for the first time in the Audi R10 TDI from 2006 to 2008 – as daytime running lights. In the R15 TDI, the LED technology additionally functioned as the high-beam headlight. Initially, the xenon headlights continued to be used alongside the LED lamps. Only the Audi R18 that has been fielded since 2011 has been fully relying on LED light. The high beam in the R15 TDI was directly adopted from the production Audi R8. This production sports car was the world’s first automobile to use full LED headlights. Today, this technology is available at Audi in the five model ranges R8, A8, A6, A7 Sportback and A3. The lower energy consumption – around 80  watts instead of 135 watts with halogen units – earned Audi an accolade in April 2013. The EU Commission measured the fuel savings in rig tests. The results after ten NEDC cycles with the Audi A6 revealed that more than one gram of carbon dioxide per kilometer driven can be saved. With that, the EU Commission has officially rated the LED headlights as an innovative technology to reduce CO2 emissions. Audi is the first manufacturer to have been awarded this certificate. Audi has since started to rely on matrixbeam technology. Its operating principle consists of subdividing the LED high-beam light into a large number of individual segments. The small single diodes, which work in tandem with lenses or reflectors in front of them, always deliver precise lighting without requiring a swivel mechanism. They are discretely switched on and off or dimmed, depending on the situation. In a production automobile, the Audi matrix LED headlights are supplied with the information they need by a camera, the navigation system and other sensors. When the camera captures other vehicles, the new headlights specifically inactivate the high beam, which is made up of several sectors, in the relevant sub-sector. The cornering light assists the race driver as soon as he turns into a corner. The LEDs on the outside of the corner are dimmed whereas those on the inside emit a brighter light. The transition is smooth and the driver notices that illumination of the track in his line of sight has improved. The system is controlled by software which Audi has specifically developed for use in racing. Steering angle and speed are the influencing parameters captured by the system, which requires no mechanism and is highly reliable. It thus perfectly complements the basically high efficiency of modern lighting technology. Audi has resolved the issue of the cooling required for LEDs by targeted guidance of the airflow of the moving vehicle. A separate fan is not necessary. That is why the R18 headlights are one kilogram lighter than the lighting units of the predecessor, the R15. A third component has long evolved into a valuable assistance system although it primarily serves

In racing, Audi uses this technology as a cornering light. Principally, a headlight of the R18 e-tron quattro consists of eight LED units. In addition, there is a circumferential light band which, among other things, serves as the turn signal. When entering the pit lane, it switches to a color that has been allocated to the respective car number. This makes it possible for the mechanics to identify their car from a distance. During the day, five of the eight main diodes emit a low-beam light. At night, in the high-beam mode, all eight LEDs are activated. They generate a headlight sight distance of up to 836 meters. The enormous lighting intensity of the R18 headlights is more than two and a half times as high as that of the predecessor, the R15. The color temperature of 5,500 kelvins is similar to that of daylight. Consequently, the driver’s eyes hardly get tired.

The matrix-beam light of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro assists the driver in cornering by dimming and intensifying the light

a completely different purpose: the steering wheel. The times when it merely served to change the car’s direction of travel have been over for quite a while. A look at the early days of the first Audi LMP sports car is astonishing. The 1999 R8R had a very simple three-spoke steering wheel. Each spoke had an integrated button for activating the radio, high-beam headlight and the pit lane speed limiter – that was all. Today, the steering wheel is packed with technology. Four paddles are installed on the back. The driver uses them to shift gears, activate the pit lane speed limiter and the passing light flasher. The steering has an arrangement of 13 buttons. They are used to control frequently used basic functions, from brake balance to traction control, from the radio to drink supply, from the starter to the windshield wiper. In addition, there are five rotary controls which the driver uses to influence the engine and traction control maps, among other things.

An electronic display is centrally located in the driver’s field of vision. It allows him to read the lap time as well as the times of individual track sectors, the difference to previously set lap times or the inflation pressures of the four tires. Alarm functions are activated when the fuel supply starts to go down or temperatures begin to leave the permitted range. A rotary control allows the driver to scroll between twelve menus. The fact that an instrument which used to be of elementary importance – the tachometer – no longer exists as a classic gauge shows how much racing has changed. Today, an array of shifting lamps at the upper edge of the steering wheel indicates to the driver when it is time to shift into a higher gear. “There are many possibilities today that didn’t exist in the past,” stresses Marcel Fässler. “The steering wheel and the individual programs have been

In view of today’s strategy, the steering wheel with its additional functions has become an important assistance system.

specifically developed by Audi. We now need to use these functions a lot more because the communication between the driver and the pits has become more intensive. Today’s strategic considerations make a quick exchange of information particularly important. In the LMP race car, we’ve got to react fast, for instance when the tires degrade. We can directly influence the car’s handling with individual controls. Looking at it this way, the steering wheel is actually an assistance system.” For the race driver on track, specific functions are of particular use. “The worst thing is not to have any radio contact,” relates the 2011 and 2012 Le Mans winner. “We urgently need information from the pits. In the race, we most frequently change the ASR function. The basic set-up of the traction control works

A tiny camera supplies the images for the digital rear-view mirror

very well but we always readjust it a bit here and there. Due to the weather, the tire inflation pressure, the condition of the tire tread or rubber pick-up on the track, grip constantly changes.” Summing it up, the Swiss is absolutely convinced of the steering wheel as an assistance system: “Across the distance of an endurance race, we need all the possibilities that are available. With their complexity, race cars such as the Audi R18 e-tron quattro represent the latest state of the art in technology and we’ve got to master and use this technology as perfectly as possible.” With leading-edge technology, Audi not only makes normal driving on the road easier for many customers but for its race drivers on track as well. ◆

The AMOLED display, shown here in the R8 e-tron, could become relevant for future consumer products as well 33

Driving force


Engine technology Audi’s prototype racing activities include a decade and a half of engine development. The progress that has been achieved is not always detectable at first glance. The regulations have repeatedly limited major strides being made with respect to sheer power output – but the engineers compensated for many losses and have consistently been improving efficiency.

Gasoline engines
Race car Engine type Combustion principle Mixture formation Number of turbochargers Cubic capacity (cc) Power output (kW/hp) Torque (Nm) Air restrictor (mm) Boost pressure (millibar) Output per liter (kW/hp per l) R8R V8 Gasoline MPI 2 3,600 > 400/544 > 600 2 x 33.2 1,670 > 111/151

R8 V8 Gasoline MPI 2 3,600 449/610 700 2 x 32.4 1,670 125/169

R8 V8 Gasoline TFSI 2 3,600 449/610 750 2 x32.4 1,670 125/169

R8 V8 Gasoline TFSI 2 3,600 449/610 > 700 2 x 32.4 1,670 125/169

R8 V8 Gasoline TFSI 2 3,600 404/550 > 700 2 x 30.7 1,670 112/153

R8 V8 Gasoline TFSI 2 3,600 404/550 > 700 2 x 30.7 1,670 112/153

R8 V8 Gasoline TFSI 2 3,600 382/520 > 700 2 x 29.9 1,670 106/144


Piston area output (kW/hp per cylinder)

60/82 50/68 40/54

> 50/68







Change in regulations (vs. prior year)




Audi innovation

Fully stressed engine


engines powered Audi’s LMP race cars, and since 2006 diesel units have been used. Although these are two highly different concepts, they keep bringing up the same question: How can the powertrain be optimized? Audi has added valuable chapters to engine development at Le Mans with a wealth of ideas and, by 2012, has clinched eleven victories at the world’s toughest endurance race. For the engine constructors, the Le Mans project began with a 3.6-liter gasoline engine. Two turbo36


wo major eras have shaped Le Mans from the perspective of engine designers. Up to 2005, gasoline

chargers assisted the V8 unit in achieving a power output of more than 400 kW (544 hp). Just a year later, output had increased to more than 449 kW (610 hp). “Our first great progress was gasoline direct injection in 2001,” recalls Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Development at Audi Sport. “This made it possible for us to significantly reduce fuel consumption.” It was not the only achievement by his team. Improved drivability and more favorable response behavior made the race drivers’ work a lot easier – particularly in the Le Mans year of 2001 that was hit by rain. Equally remarkable was the fact that at the pit stops the starting time decreased by up to 1.3 seconds because the directly injected fuel was immediately burned.

Diesel engines
R10 TDI V12 Diesel TDI 2 5,500 > 478/650 > 1.100 2 x 39.9 2,940 > 87/118

R10 TDI V12 Diesel TDI 2 5,500 > 478/650 > 1.100 2 x 39.9 2,940 > 87/118

R10 TDI V12 Diesel TDI 2 5,500 > 478/650 > 1.100 2 x 39.9 2,940 > 87/118

R15 TDI V10 Diesel TDI 2 5,500 > 441/600 > 1.050 2 x 37.9 2,750 > 80/109

R15 TDI V10 Diesel TDI 2 5,500 > 440/598 > 1.050 2 x 37.5 2,590 > 80/109

R18 TDI V6 Diesel TDI 1 3,700 > 397/540 > 900 2 x 33.5/ 1 x 47.5 2,960 > 107/146

R18 e-tron quattro V6 Diesel TDI 1 3,700 > 375/510 > 850 2 x 32.4/ 1 x 45.8 2,800 > 101/138

R18 e-tron quattro V6 Diesel TDI 1 3,700 > 360/490 > 850 1 x 45.1 2,800 > 97/132

> 66/90

> 63/85

> 60/82

> 44/60 > 40/54 > 40/54 > 40/54

> 44/60

Restrictor, boost pressure

Restrictor, boost pressure

Cubic capacity, restrictor, boost pressure Double-flow turbocharger design

Restrictor, boost pressure




At Le Mans, Audi tested a specific combustion process back then – the fuel was injected using an air-formed instead of a wall-formed or jet-formed principle. This homogenous mixture formation subsequently appeared in the first Audi available with standard FSI technology. The principle that had been tested at Le Mans replaced the planned stratified charge process. On the road, FSI engines make fuel economy benefits of up to 15 percent possible. Only five years later, Audi celebrated a pioneering achievement with the TDI engine. After the inventor of the TDI in 1989 had offered its first production model – an Audi 100 – featuring this technology, the brand, in 2006, immediately clinched the first victory of

a diesel sports car at Le Mans. From 5.5 liters of displacement, the V12 engine of the Audi R10 TDI developed more than 478 kW (650 hp). Its torque of over 1,100 Nm was impressive as well. “This was the first Audi diesel engine with an aluminum cylinder block,” stresses Baretzky. “In conjunction with pre-development and production development, basic tests and trials for the V12 TDI were conducted.” But this was not the only area in which racing profited from the know-how advantage of AUDI AG’s Technical Development. The first racing pistons incorporated experiences that had been gained in

Audi has achieved significant improvements with respect to specific outputs.

Pre-Development. In designing the piston cavities, the engineers pursued similar approaches with the racing and the production engine. The injection system with two high-pressure pumps and piezo injectors has been refined by Audi for specific output and maximum efficiency in racing. “Over the course of the years, there has been a continuous increase in the injection pressures of the hydraulic system and the ignition pressures in the cylinder,” Baretzky goes on to explain. “This way, it was possible to optimize combustion and power output which, in turn, has been benefiting the development on the production side of the house to this day.” The V12 TDI was followed by a V10 TDI in 2009, which still had a displacement of 5.5 liters. “It was 100 millimeters shorter and ten percent lighter than its predecessor,” reveals the Audi developer. A major step was achieved by Audi with the turbochargers. The variable turbine geometry (VTG), a long-standing standard in volume car production, was introduced into racing in the V10 TDI following several years of development. “The biggest challenge was posed by the temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees centigrade, which do not occur in production cars,” explains the engineer. VTG technology

significantly improves the car’s response behavior. In 2010, Audi not only celebrated the Le Mans victory with the R15 TDI but, after 397 laps and 5,410 kilometers on track, broke the outright distance record that had existed for 39 years. The biggest step in recent years was marked by the new engine regulations for 2011. It was centered on four objectives: a significant reduction of fuel consumption, heightening the relevance to production cars by means of downsizing, increasing lap times by lowering maximum output and equalizing the output of gasoline and diesel engines. A much smaller cubic capacity was a major step toward achieving these objectives. In the case of diesel engines, the regulations forced the engineers to reduce the volume by 1.8 to 3.7 liters. Audi developed a V6 TDI engine packed with innovations. The exhaust side is located inside the cylinder banks, which feature a 120 degree angle configuration. ‘Hot side in,’ is the name of this concept. A double-flow mono-turbocharger is supplied with the exhaust gas from both banks and its compressor is of a double-flow design as well. The aspirated air is directed into two intercoolers by volutes with two exits and subsequently into the two exhaust manifolds. VTG technology only makes use of a mono-turbocharger possible in the first place. The turbocharger’s response behavior would be unthinkable without such technology in racing. More and more new restrictions imposed by the regulations are contrasted by continuous progress being made by the Audi engineers. The diameter of the air restrictor in the diesel era, for example, has been reduced by 34 percent since 2006. The boost pressure has decreased by 4.7 percent and the cubic capacity of the engine by nearly 33 percent. Absolute power output has dropped from over 478 kW (650 hp) to around 360 kW (490 hp) today, in other words by around 24 percent. Considering this, the increases achieved with respect to specific output are particularly noteworthy. For instance, the engine output per liter of displace-

Consumption (l/100 km)
100% -8% -21%

R10 38



ment went up from 87 kW (118 hp) in 2006 to 107 kW

Ulrich Baretzky is in charge of engine development at Audi Sport

The current turbocharger – the compressor side is shown here – is of a double-flow design

(146 hp) in 2011 – a gain of almost 24 percent. The piston area output – in other words the measure for the output delivered by each individual cylinder – grew from 40 kW (54 hp) to 66 kW (90 hp), and thus by 65 percent, during this time frame. Even more impressive is the fuel consumption development. “We’ve improved fuel consumption per lap in racing operations at Le Mans from the first diesel generation in the R10 TDI to the latest generation by more than 20 percent, and this has been achieved with a clearly higher output per liter,” emphasizes Baretzky. The higher injection pressure of the Bosch racing injector ensures even more efficient combustion, while the engine

has now been designed to withstand permanent combustion pressures of clearly above 200 bar. “All these improvements reflect the great strides that have been achieved in combustion process development and with the components used,” explains Ulrich Baretzky. “They also reflect an understanding of the mechanical loads that act on the engine plus the optimization of friction. All of the progress that has been made has utmost relevance for production car development, which deals with the same topics. Le Mans is an ideal lab for forward-thinking technologies.” ◆

Audi’s racing engines are created in Neckarsulm. The V6 TDI engine has already earned the brand two Le Mans victories and a World Champion’s title in the FIA WEC 39


Aerodynamics At Le Mans, top performances in aerodynamics are particularly valuable. Nowhere else are such high speeds driven with LMP sports cars. Thanks to improved airflow excellent lap times are consistently achieved over and over – despite the opposite effect of the regulations.


The aerodynamic concepts from 1999 until today clearly differ from each other.

aerodynamic concepts of the two cars are clearly evident. The 1999 Audi R8R with an open cockpit is contrasted by the closed R18 e-tron quattro. And not a single detail resembles another one. When Audi built an LMP sports prototype for the first time 14 years ago, Fondmetal Technologies was the partner in aerodynamics. In Italy, the engineers tested the air flow on the R8R using a 40-percent scale model. Back then, such models had carbon fiber tires that were fixed in position from the outside. “Today’s state-of-the-art technology is completely different,” explains Axel Löffler, who as Head of Design


look at Audi’s first prototype and its youngest one is quite revealing, as the differences between the

The new long rear of the R18 e-tron quattro (left) has been developed for Le Mans. Open cockpits such as the one of the 2006 R10 TDI in the wind tunnel (bottom) generated a less favorable airflow than the closed ones


The rear wing suspended from the top has been compensating for many losses since 2009 that resulted from changes in the regulations

The CFD simulation shows the airflow around the supported (left) and the suspended rear wing (right). The thickness of the boundary layer is shown in red. When the boundary layer separates from the profile, this results in an undesirable break-away (left) and downforce decreases

Chassis/Bodywork was also responsible for aerodynamics for many years before Jan Monchaux assumed responsibility for this function in 2013. “We’ve now reached a model size of 60 percent. Thanks to today’s rubber tires we can create the airflow around the model with a lot more realism. Likewise, a moving floor in the wind tunnel helps us obtain more accurate measurement results. The suspensions of the models have also been fully emulated and are movable today.” The basic aerodynamic concept of the various evolutions of the LMP race cars from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm has obviously been subjected to further development. In 1999, the radiators of the engine still lay flat at the front end. The warm exit air escaped from the hood in front of the cockpit opening, partially flowing across the top of the cockpit and to the right and left. To optimize airflow to the rear end, Audi has been integrating the radiators and intercoolers into the side pods

in the Audi R8 as of 2000. “This has clearly improved airflow,” says Löffler. “Plus we gained some new freedom of design at the front end. We were able to guide the exit air of the front diffusor with much higher precision.” Audi took yet another step with the R15 TDI, which set a new distance record at Le Mans in 2010. “The car’s extremely high nose made it possible for us to guide the air to the underfloor with even less eddying than before. This supports the ground effect, in other words the suction generated by the underfloor,” says the expert. But improvements are not always achieved. The aerodynamicists repeatedly had to accept limitations. When diesel direct injection was introduced in the Audi R10 TDI in the 2006 season the cooling requirements increased by around 30 percent due to the different combustion process. Furthermore, the Audi


The regulations by now have severely limited many of the latitudes in aerodynamics.

R18 e-tron quattro that has been fielded since 2012 has a low-temperature circuit for cooling the hybrid system, which poses an additional challenge. Still, no other Audi LMP sports car has ever been as aerodynamically efficient as the current hybrid sports car. Existing latitudes are limited by the regulations time and again. For example, when the project was launched in 1999, the rear wing was allowed to fill a maximum volume of 2,000 mm (width) x 400 mm (length) x 150 mm (height). Today, these dimensions have been reduced to 1,600 x 250 x 150 mm. Through a large number of individual solutions, such as the rear wing suspended from the top since the 2009 R15 TDI, Audi has compensated for a major portion of the lost downforce. It allows significantly improved airflow to


of the downforce, while the underfloor including the rear diffusor delivers the other half. This downforce is counteracted by the inevitable lift that is caused by the airflow through the cockpit and over the body. It accounts for around a fourth of the downforce produced. “The regulations have since been

severely limiting the freedom in aerodynamics,” says Axel Löffler. “In the past, we were able to use the desired aerodynamic configurations of the Audi R8 for fast tracks like Le Mans as well as for slower road courses in the American Le Mans Series with a single body version. Now, the minimal latitude that is allowed forces us to optimize a car for a single requirement. That’s why a long-tail version of the R18 e-tron quattro was created just for Le Mans 2013.” The long rear end is only the most visible change. The entire aerodynamics of the hybrid sports car has been modified for Le Mans in 2013 to meet the special demands. An example of numbers illustrates how

the wing. For comparison: If the wing supports are installed at the bottom, downforce is significantly reduced. The new mounting principle was subsequently used by many other constructors too. The specifications for the underfloor were significantly modified as well. As of the Audi R10 TDI (2006), the specifications have been requiring a seven-degree increase of the profile cross-section toward the sides and a wooden board being installed underneath the chassis. Despite such limitations a modern LMP sports car achieves very high levels of downforce. Theoretically, at high speed, it could run on the ceiling of a tunnel without falling down. The aerodynamic loads involved are instructive. The front diffusor, for instance, together with the rear wing generates half

Aerodynamic efficiency


R18 45

Significant development steps in aerodynamics are also detectable in detail between the beginning of the diesel era in 2006 with the R10 TDI (right) and the current R18 e-tron quattro (below)

The rear wing width of 2,000 millimeters for a car like the Audi R10 TDI (below) has been limited to only 1,600 millimeters today


At Le Mans, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro is running as a long-tail version in 2013

extreme the conditions are: A year ago, Audi factory driver Loïc Duval set the fastest lap in the 24-hour race at La Sarthe, achieving an average speed of 240.289 km/h. Including all the times the car spent at rest during 33 pit stops, the victorious R18 e-tron quattro of Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer still achieved an average of 214.468 km/h that was thus clearly above the 200 km/h-mark. There is no other circuit in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) where the cars run as fast as this.

Engineers keep finding ways to improve aerodynamic efficiency – in other words the relationship between downforce and aerodynamic drag. This ratio expresses the degree to which the aerodynamicists have improved the downforce of a race car without an equivalent increase in drag. Since 1999, Audi has improved the aerodynamic efficiency of its LMP sports cars by around 65 percent. “The lap times reflect the significance of the strides that have been made in aerodynamics,” emphasizes Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Of course there are many other influencing factors  – the powertrain, the tires, the chassis, the ultralightweight design or the distribution of weight. To name just one example for the sake of comparison: In 2006, the fastest race lap at Le Mans was 3m 31.211s. The R10 TDI back then had 12 cylinders, 5.5 liters of displacement and, delivering more than 650 hp, was our most powerful LMP race car. Six years later, the best lap time was 3m 24.189s. Our cars had become more than seven seconds faster. But the V6 TDI engine of the Audi R18 ultra in 2012 was only allowed to have a displacement of 3.7 liters and delivered around 510 hp. A major share of these advances is owed to optimized aerodynamics.” ◆

Axel Löffler shaped the aerodynamics of the Audi sports prototypes for many years


Looking at


Interview with Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Ullrich takes a look at the sports car future and assesses the greatest change in the regulations since Audi first built an LMP sports car in 1999.


The Audi R18 e-tron quattro is competing in its second season in 2013 before a fundamentally new set of regulations applies in 2014

interventions that limit power output. Instead, they promote an energy-based approach to efficient race cars. Does this mark a revolution in thinking? Dr. Ullrich This solution for the regulations very much represents a forward-thinking approach. And clearly, Audi will increasingly position itself toward efficiency and energy awareness in the future. Motorsport gives us a very good opportunity to properly prepare ourselves for the future with an efficient concept at the highest competitive level. With the new regulations, a fundamental approach to motorsport is being abandoned. Instead of power output, energy consumption will be limited. This entails two major consequences: For the engineers, it opens up some degrees of technical freedom, as previous limitations imposed on cubic capacity or on the number of cylinders basically cease to exist. Furthermore, energy consumption is drastically reduced. Only a specified amount of energy will be available for a certain distance. In the end, those doing the best job of managing this amount of energy will be the fastest. Efficiency is the aim while the competition between various technological concepts is being accelerated. What prerequisites have to be established to ensure a fair competition? Dr. Ullrich It’s anything but easy to formulate a set of regulations for different concepts with all their potential as well as their advantages and disadvantages. The aim is to put everyone in a position of being in contention for victory with a well-developed concept. This is exactly what the officials have to strive for. The intensity of the competition is being promoted. As a result, there is a threat of costs going up. Do the current regulations include any cost limitations? Dr. Ullrich The release of the different concepts strictly in relation to energy will certainly require an intensification of the development investments for new vehicles in the initial step. All the manufacturers, the FIA and the ACO are looking at this issue. We’re intensively working to avoid costs getting out of hand without controls because that would be equally inappropriate in this day and age as a non-efficient power train in an inefficient race car.


decade-long philosophy in racing is now changing. The regulations are no longer focused on Audi has been relying on TDI power at Le Mans since 2006. A diesel engine is a thermal engine the efficiency of which has traditionally been higher than that of a gasoline engine. Does this make ratings more difficult? Dr. Ullrich It makes ratings more difficult in that currently, in the 2013 season, we’re the only entrants competing with a diesel engine. So we’re in a demanding situation today. In the ideal case, equality of opportunity exists between the concepts. To ensure this poses a challenge. It starts with the definition of the fuel  – this aspect alone leads to consequences in the design of any engine. But it’s also about the available energy classes relating to energy recovery. Factory teams have to decide between 2, 4, 6 and 8 megajoules with respect to the amount of energy. For the largest amount of energy, you need a system which, according to the current state of the art, is also the largest one and thus weighs the most. A race car with a gasoline engine, however, has more latitude when it comes to weight than a diesel sports car which, for technical reasons, is heavier. And this is just one, albeit obvious factor to be considered in the selection of the concept.

“Motorsport gives us a very good opportunity to properly prepare ourselves for the future with an efficient concept at the highest level.”

There have been energy limitations in motorsport before, in the nineteen-eighties. This led to races that were run very tactically toward the end when the energy was almost used up. Has this risk been curbed today? Dr. Ullrich The new regulations have not been designed to make the entire amount of energy available for optional use in the race. Instead, the fuel flow per lap will be limited. And that’s exactly why we’ll be seeing real, fiercely fought races and no economy runs. Consequently, it’ll be necessary to squeeze the optimum out of a system, to develop an efficient vehicle as well as an efficient internal combustion engine and to make perfect use of the energy recuperation systems. This makes different concepts and strategies possible. All the parties involved have been paying attention to ensuring that we’ll be seeing races and no economy runs. And despite this, the LMP sports cars will be consuming less fuel than ever before. ◆


Two ways, one aim


DTM–LMP comparison They could hardly be any more different – the Audi RS 5 DTM and the R18 e-tron quattro. Still, there are some things which both race cars from Audi’s factory programs in the DTM and WEC have in common. Plus, both are pursuing the same aim – success.


The cell of the Audi RS 5 DTM is a carryover part for all three manufacturers in the DTM

possible to be successful in motorsport with such cars. In 1990 and 1991, the Audi V8 quattro won the DTM twice in succession. No other automobile manufacturer had achieved this feat before. The Group A race cars were created on the basis of a production Audi V8. The following years again showed that a good production touring car provides a viable base for great success in racing. The Audi 80 competition and the Audi A4 quattro, prepared according to Super Touring Car regulations, won titles for Audi worldwide. Since the 2000 season, different rules have applied in the DTM – a kind of touring car prototype took the place of production concepts. Although the Audi A4 DTM resembled the volume production model it was based on a steel space frame and relied on mechanical systems strictly designed for racing in all areas such as the suspension, aerodynamics, the engine and the transmission. Audi won the DTM Championship with it five times. In 2012, new rules were introduced yet again while the idea of a pure race car concept has been retained. A carryover-parts-principle for the three manufacturers involved in the DTM prescribes a large number of shared component assemblies. For example, the carbon fiber monocoque including the steel roll cage is identical for the Audi RS 5 DTM and its competitors. Basically, these touring cars rely on a material in a central, stressed component that has been
54 For the hybrid drive, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro requires dedicated developments Touring and sports cars mutually benefit from various calculation methods


here was a time when a touring car was an optimized production model. Audi often proved that it is

used as the standard material for Audi’s sports prototypes since 1999: carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). The material is comparable but the results differ. In the DTM, the monocoque consists of carbon fiber up to the belt line. Above it, a rugged steel cage protects the driver and serves as the mounting point for the bodywork and other parts. Six carbon fiber elements – one each at the front and rear – additionally absorb the impact energy in accidents. Since 2000, individual tubular steel frames and a CFRP cockpit were standard in the DTM.

At Audi Sport, the DTM and LMP projects benefit from each other.

As Head of Technology, Dr. Martin Mühlmeier (left) is responsible for the Audi RS 5 DTM and the R18 e-tron quattro. Andreas Roos (right) switched from the DTM to the WEC as Technical Team Coordinator

In the Audi R18 e-tron quattro sports car, the entire one-piece monocoque is made of carbon. While the cost-optimized DTM design weighs around 130  kilograms, the performance-optimized sports car cell tips the scales at less than half of this weight. By taking the step in favor of an identical monocoque the DTM has clearly progressed in terms of passive safety. Even though the number of almost 60  carryover parts between the three manufacturers in the DTM appears to be small, the effects should not be underestimated. “The monocoque is a particularly large component,” emphasizes Dr. Martin Mühlmeier, Head of Technology at Audi Sport. “The transmission and the drive shaft are identical. For the suspension, the mounting points are severely limited and the material is specified. For the engine, a minimum weight is prescribed.” By contrast, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro offers a lot of engineering freedom. There are no carryover parts, different types of internal combustion engines such as gasoline or diesel units are allowed, the number of cylinders may vary and the regulations provide a lot of latitude with respect to numerous other parameters. Similarly, the limitations imposed on the chassis are much smaller as well. “By the same token, we’ve got a lot of freedom with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in terms of

aerodynamics too,” says Dr. Mühlmeier. “In the DTM, the underfloor is geometrically specified, from the front to the rear diffusor. The same applies to the rear wing.” The direct comparison between both cars is crystal-clear for the Head of Technology: “The number of variables is significantly lower for a DTM race car. The regulations have deliberately reduced the complexity of the car. As a result, the manpower required to construct the race car, in simulation and in further development is clearly lower.” At Audi Sport, both projects benefit from each other nonetheless. “We use the same programs for aerodynamics calculations by means of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and in engineering design with the finite elements method (FEM),” explains the engineer. “The departments and the employees that deal with many of the various questions arising in the DTM and LMP are the same.” Special developments, though, are necessary to develop and test the hybrid system of the R18 e-tron quattro. “Despite all the differences between the race cars, at Audi, we’ve repeatedly been able to use synergies benefiting both projects for years,” stresses Dr. Martin Mühlmeier. ◆

The things that count at Le Mans
kilometers were covered by the victorious Audi R18 e-tron quattro in practice, qualifying and the race in 2012



Number facts Interesting details about the 24-hour race.

kilograms of weight were saved by Audi right in the first development year by optimizing the VTG turbocharger

meters is the range of the light emitted by the LED headlights

the winning team in 2012 bar is the pressure level in the hydraulic rail system of the V6 TDI engine’s injection system

pit stops with a total stopping time of 40m 59.968s for refueling, tire and driver changes were performed by

shifting events have to be handled by the six-speed transmission at the Le Mans 24 Hours without fail


percent of GTL (Gas-to-Liquid) and BTL (Biomass to Liquid) is the biofuel content of the identical diesel fuel used at Le Mans. BTL is a second-generation biofuel, which is exclusively produced from agricultural waste

braking maneuvers are performed by a race car like the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in 24 hours



Share and share alike

Audi R8 LMS ultra and Audi R8 The Audi R8 is an excellent athlete. The thoroughly revised production sports car has won numerous international awards, most recently the red dot award for top design quality. It generously shares a range of components with its racing ‘brother,’ the R8 LMS ultra, which has been collecting numerous trophies in motorsport.


After 10,000 kilometers, the racing engine requires a minor maintenance service, rebuilding it follows only after 20,000.

body-in-white of the Audi R8 on the lifting platform in Heilbronn-Biberach looks as if it is about to turn into an Audi for the consumer. In fact, it actually comes from the production site of quattro GmbH at the Neckarsulm location where more than 20,000 Audi R8 cars have left the assembly line since 2006. The connection of extruded profiles, gussets and panels plus the light-gray primer and wiring – everything looks like the body-in-white for the production automobile. Only a peek into the interior reveals that the roll cage does not belong in a road-going vehicle. This is precisely the point at which the common genealogical tree of production and racing splits into two branches. The 210-kilogram Audi Space Frame (ASF) is the ideal backbone for both versions. With its torsional stiffness, ultra-light weight and very high safety it is optimally suited for a race car. Before leaving the assembly line, the racing version is fitted with a steel roll cage as prescribed by the regulations. In addition, space is created for the installation of air jacks that allow the race car to lift on its own as soon as compressed air is


he photo is almost an invitation to a hidden-objectsgame: Who can find the differences? At first glance the

An underfloor is installed underneath the production-based ASF chassis of the GT3 sports car for aerodynamic reasons


The body-in-white of the Audi R8 LMS ultra originates from the road car production line in Neckarsulm

pumped into the system at the rear by an air gun. At a pit stop, the R8 LMS ultra thus immediately starts hovering in the air and the wheels can be changed. More than 50 percent of all the parts of the race car are adopted from production vehicles. Even seasoned motorsport experts are amazed over and over about the quality of the genes of the road-going sports cars,” says Romolo Liebchen, who today is Head of the customer sport department of Audi Sport customer racing. Numerous facts prove how expertly this has been achieved. The chassis, for example, not only lasts for the entire lifetime of an automobile or, in racing, perfectly holds up to an endurance distance such as the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring or at Spa – both
Around half of the components underneath the carbon skin are production parts 61

events having been won by the GT3 race car in 2012 – as individual race cars sold by Audi to customers since 2009 have by now covered tens of thousands of kilometers, notably at racing speed. A case in point: Chassis number AS42AOFGT3110319 did its first laps at a functional test on March 29, 2011, followed by a 4-hour race plus a 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. In July, the R8 LMS was run in another 24-hour race at Spa plus a 12-hour race in Malaysia in September. In November, Edoardo Mortara won the GT Cup in Macau with it. In February 2012, the Audi won the Bathurst 12 Hours in Australia. It was subsequently sold to a local team that has since clinched further success with it. Within a year and a half, the GT3 sports car has covered 12,667 race kilometers – not counting the practice and qualifying sessions. “Such distances represent testing at an accelerated rate,” says Romolo Liebchen. “Audi has gained quite a few findings from this which are fed back into the production side of the house.” The relevant questions are typically not of a fundamental nature but often relate to minor areas in which learning effects occur: joining techniques, design-related parameters, possibilities of implementing motorsport ideas or clever details that facilitate the work of the race teams. The viability of production solutions in two other areas is amazing. The transverse links (wishbones) that guide the four wheels can be recognized as production parts for road-going models at first glance. “They actually originate from the production side. We modified them for racing,” reveals Liebchen. Cornering forces of more than 2g, deceleration forces when braking with up to 31-centimeter wide slicks or the loads occurring on the famous hilltop jump in sixth gear at the The benchmark is similarly high with the engine. The 5.2-liter V10 FSI unit is produced at Audi’s plant in Győr, Hungary, together with its production counterparts. Only specific bearing locations are ‘Pflanzgarten’ on the Nürburgring: The suspension, supported by springs and dampers for racing, commandingly handles the brute force.
The rugged 5.2-liter V10 engine powers the production model and the GT3 sports car

On the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring, high loads act on the R8 LMS ultra


Romolo Liebchen is Head of Audi Sport customer racing

The kinship between production and sport at Audi is far more than a claim.

subjected to minimal modifications. The engine’s standard dry-sump lubrication can even handle the extreme centrifugal forces in racing. The exhaust system is a new element. The tailpipe of the racing component is centered at the rear between the taillights. “After 10,000 kilometers, we recommend a minor maintenance service to our customers and after 20,000 kilometers the engine is dismantled and rebuilt for further races,” says Liebchen, describing the service intervals for the 560-hp engine. “In the GT3 category on an international scale, these are top marks.” Customers directly benefit from this, as the rugged power-plant is gentle on the budget. Conversely, racing technology has long been fed into production models as well. The compartment for the convertible top and the rear side panels of the R8 Spyder are made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). The material that combines strength and light weight is also functionally used for the enlarged front spoiler and the distinctive rear diffusor. CFRP has thus long been playing a much greater role than only for visual carbon applications in the interior. Within only five years, the racing project with the Audi R8 LMS ultra has demonstrated that the kinship between production and sport at Audi is far more than a claim. The exchange is actively pursued, benefits both areas and promotes the entire development. This underlines the sportiness of the brand. ◆
63 The cockpit of the R8 LMS ultra reveals a kinship to the production car as well The suspension and the ASF frame originate from the production car and have been modified for racing

From motorsport to production
Technology transfer Audi is active in motorsport in order to accelerate technical progress. Numerous interesting examples provide compelling proof points.

cessful motorsport history and rise to the level of a technology trendsetter. Since then, Audi has built more than five million vehicles with quattro drive. The more powerful models in particular are no longer thinkable without permanent quattro all-wheel drive.


n 1980, the quattro marked the beginning of the Audi brand’s suc-

Torsen differential and hollow shaft

S tronic
use an engaged gear and pre-select a second one celebrated its debut in 1985, in the Audi Sport quattro S1.

years later, the invention made its way into large-scale production, initially in the Audi 80/90 and later in all quattro models.


n 1985, Audi was the first automobile manufacturer to test a Torsen differential in rallying. Two


he “S tronic” transmission in which two clutches allow the driver to

ogy celebrated its debut with a victory of the Audi R8 at the 2001 Le Mans 24 Hours.

ultra-lightweight design


he combination of turbo charging and direct injection is standard at Audi today. TFSI technol-

petence. Audi started to gather experience with aluminum in rallying and has been increasing its expertise in CFRP with sports prototypes since 1999.


ightweight design is a core topic in motorsport and an Audi core com-

TDI Power
continuing development of TDI technology: to control increasingly high injection and ignition pressures, for example.

Material technology
a pioneer for production when it comes to using new types of materials.


udi is the inventor of the TDI engine. Since 2006 motorsport has been assisting Audi in its


e it aluminum, magnesium or composites – motorsport is often


Matrix LED headlights
Matrix-Beam, has a cornering light function in its full LED headlights. Additional functions are possible in road traffic. The new technology will be making its debut in road cars within the foreseeable future.

and motorsport development. The production side takes up many ideas from the sport. The enclosed underfloor of the Audi A8 is just one example.


udi is regarded as a pioneer in LED technology. Currently, the R18 e-tron quattro, thanks to


aximum aerodynamic efficiency is a common aim of production

tery of the type used in hybrid electric vehicles and thus a forerunner of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro.

pressure monitoring system. Such systems can be ordered for production models as well.


n 2009, the Audi R15 TDI was the first Le Mans sports car to be equipped with a lithium-ion bat-


ince 2001 Audi’s sports prototypes have been equipped with a tire

Emissions reduction
ing exhaust and noise emissions since 2006. The related know-how has already been transferred to TDI production engines.

Assistance systems
suspension, engine and transmission control: motorsport initially sparked their development.


articularly by fielding TDI technology at Le Mans Audi has been introducing new trends in reduc-


e it push-button engine starts or various dynamics programs for

Digital rear-view mirror
play. This technology is currently being tested at Audi for future use in production applications.

e-tron quattro
drive system in which one of the axles is electrically driven. Audi is testing such technologies in productionbased test models as well.


he Audi R18 e-tron quattro has a digital rearview mirror with a camera and an AMOLED dis-


n the R18 e-tron quattro, Audi is testing a new type of four-wheel


Your contacts
AUDI AG Communications Motorsport D-85045 Ingolstadt Phone +49 841 8934200 Fax +49 841 8938617 E-mail motorsport-media@audi.de Jürgen Pippig Head of Audi Communications Motorsport Phone +49 841 8934200 juergen.pippig@audi.de Eva-Maria Veith Communications LMP Phone +49 841 8933922 eva-maria.veith@audi.de Virginia Brusch Communications Customer racing Phone +49 841 8941753 virginia.brusch@audi.de Daniel Schuster Communications DTM Phone +49 841 8938009 daniel2.schuster@audi.de Petra Strack Communications Motorsport Phone +49 841 8954457 petra.strack@audi.de

Information sources
All texts and photographs contained in this MediaInfo magazine are available for downloading from the internet (accreditation required): www.audi-motorsport.info

Audi Sport App (iOS/Android)

Facebook www.facebook.com/AudiSport

Audi Express (iPad/Android)

Twitter @Audi__Sport

AUDI AG D-85045 Ingolstadt Responsible for the content Jürgen Pippig, Head of Audi Communications Motorsport I/GP-P4 Editor Alexander von Wegner



Digital rear-view mirror

LED AMOLED Matrix-Beam
Active safety


AUDI AG Communications Motorsport D-85045 Ingolstadt Phone Fax E-mail +49 841 8934200 +49 841 8938617 motorsport-media@audi.de

Technology transfer

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