Audi has confirmed that its new-generation R18 e-tron quattro will continue to be powered by a V6 turbodiesel engine, although featuring two hybrid systems, per 2014 LMP1 rules.
The German manufacturer revealed technical details of the new prototype contender Thursday, ahead of the car’s official launch next week.
While retaining the same name and similar appearance of its predecessor, the new R18 features significant changes, particularly with its hybrid powertrain.
A flywheel-based unit will continue to be used at the front axle, but coupled with a new thermal energy recovery system that will convert exhaust gas into electric energy.
Audi first tested the new thermal energy hybrid system last year, with a view toward running it on this year’s R18 e-tron quattro, but did not at the request of the ACO.
Next year’s LMP1 regulations will, however, allow two energy recovery systems per car.
“A fundamental approach to motorsport is being abandoned,” said Chris Reinke, Head of LMP at Audi Sport. “Instead of power output, energy consumption will be subject to limitations.
“This is in line with the spirit of our times and opens up great technical freedoms to the engineers. In 2014, well be seeing a wide variety of concepts on the grid at Le Mans.”
The basic elements of the 2014 Audi R18 was defined last year, with production work having begun more than 12 months ago.
The car turned its first laps in September and has been testing at Sebring International Raceway this week, conducting a series of endurance runs in preparation for next year’s FIA World Endurance Championship.
News on Audi’s driver lineup and complete 2014 program is expected to come during the car’s official launch on Wednesday in Ingolstadt.
Porsche’s LMP1 contender, meanwhile, will be powered by a four-cylinder gasoline engine, while Toyota’s new TS040 will have a normally aspired V8 gasoline power plant.