As with most iterations of the Audi R18 race car , this year’s e-tron quattro machine has just received a number of updates ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans . The endurance event is scheduled to take place in mid-June in France.
Unlike the version used throughout the 2014 World Endurance Championship, the Le Mans racer’s body has been optimized for minimal aerodynamic drag, an essential property on Circuit de la Sarthe — an unusual track that consists of several long straights and high-speed turns.
The Le Mans body might not differ much at a first glance, but a closer look reveals the Germans have altered the fenders, which now have opening on the inside instead of at the top, and elongated the body at the rear, with the wing no longer hanging above the diffuser. Lastly, the exhaust configuration has also been changed and the tail pipes are now located above the diffuser, instead of exiting to the right and left of the huge central fin.
Through these updates, the R18 e-tron quattro will be capable of higher speeds, and aim for faster laps and average race speed. Last year, factory driver Andre Lotterer achieved an average speed of 150.37 mph on his fastest lap.
Audi will field three teams in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race with the goal of winning its fifth consecutive even and the 12th title since 2000.
The powertrain of the R18 e-tron quattro in Le Mans configuration remains unchanged, with a revised, V-6, diesel engine motivating the rear wheels and with an e-tron quattro hybrid system spinning the front axle.
Click past the jump to read more about the Audi R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans.