The recipe of Audi’s diesel-powered race car has been so successful that over the years it hasn’t been changed much. They just tweak it with every new model, so the latest R15 plus, must be on helluva good car! Of course due to new regulations of Le Mans, they had to make a couple of changes, mostly in terms of aerodynamics, so the looks of the car is very different than the original.
Audi completely revamped the front of the R15 TDI following regulation changes made last November with the Audi now sporting a striking two-part nose design. The entire shape of the R15 TDI bodywork has been reworked for maximum efficiency combined with a modified cooling and tank system.
The V10 TDI engine has been optimized and despite the smaller air restrictors and the reduced manifold pressure, the 5.5-litre V10 twin turbo engine still produces around 590-hp. Torque of over 1,050 Nm is transmitted to the rear wheels by a pneumatically operated five-speed gearbox. Not only this engine provides great fuel economy, which means the car less time in the pits and more on the track scoring laps, it also has super amazing straight line performance thanks to that massive torque. I remember watching an older version of this car at an ALMS race, as it monstered LMP1 Porsches in straight, leaving them in dust!
“There were about 20 important points on our specification sheet for the ‘R15 plus’ after Le Mans 2009,” says Dr. Martin Mühlmeier, Head of Technology. “Most of them concerned issues of efficiency and reliability, but there were also details such as a request from the drivers for better night-time illumination of the racetracks. And we met this request with a new headlamp concept.”
Meanwhile Audi’s first and best driver, the 40-year-old Scotsman Allan McNish is preparing for his third Le Mans title:
“Le Mans is the toughest motor race in the world and we have everything in place to take the fight to our rivals,” confirmed McNish. “Personally, I’m hungrier than ever for more Le Mans success.”
“Audi Sport is determined to claim back the Le Mans ‘crown’ after finishing third last year. We’ll face intense competition from Peugeot and Aston Martin. But we are all focussed on making it win number nine this time around and I want to be standing on the top step of the podium for a third time myself.”
“I believe we’re better prepared than last year. I scored a début win at Paul Ricard and then finished third at Spa, with the R15 TDI in full Le Mans spec, in our two races this year while testing has also gone very well.”
Joining McNish/Capello/Kristensen in driving the latest diesel-engined Audi R15 TDI will be Marcel Fässler (34/Switzerland)/André Lotterer (29/Germany)/Benoît Treluyer (23/France) plus Timo Bernhard (29/Germany)/Romain Dumas (32/France)/Mike Rockenfeller (26/Germany).