Audi R18 Le Mans team may have lost one of their best drivers, Allan McNish, to retirement, and they might be under constant threat from Porsche and their new 919 Hybrid, but they can take solace in the fact that their car will be the only one on the grid with laser headlights. Audi confirmed this during the car’s premiere in Ingolstadt last night.
This is more than just a marketing exercise. The Audi R18 e-tron Quattro is an endurance racer, which means it will spend a lot of time driving around tracks at night time. That’s where these new laser lights will become handy, as they complement the main LED headlights with blue laser beams, providing more homogenous lighting of the road.
The 2014 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro will be the spearhead of Audi’s motorsport efforts next year, competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). In the WEC Audi Sport Team Joest will compete as the title defender, running with two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars in all eight races of the season. For the season’s pinnacle event at Le Mans on June 14/15, 2014, the fielding of a third R18 is planned.
The RS5 and the R8 will have the supporting act, representing the German auto maker in DTM and GT sport races across the globe.
“The new laser light is just one of numerous technical innovations featured by our new R18,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, who was recognized by Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg on Wednesday night on the occasion of his 20th anniversary at the helm of Audi Sport. “We’re not going to reveal any more than that at this early stage, as in 2014 we’re facing an extremely tough competition and a year full of challenges for Audi Sport.”