The old adage of “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday” lost much of its meaning when NASCAR, the U.S.’s largest racing series, gave up on production-car roots for plastic cars with tube frames back in the late-1980s. Before then, body kits and aerodynamic add-ons for the road were perfected on the race circuit, as was engine technology. Consumers reaped the benefits at their local showrooms.
The decline of racing technology on the street hasn’t affected most racing series, though, as Audi proudly demonstrates in its so-awesome-I-can’t-sit-still launch trailer for its all-new Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car. In the 1980s, Audi perfected its quattro all-wheel-drive system in Group B rally racing, competing in FIA racing in the 1990s, and developing high-efficiency diesel engines for its LeMans prototype race cars in the 2000s. Now Audi’s preparing a little more something-something to whet the appetite for tomorrow’s technology in the Audi R18 e-tron.
With the new rules in place, Audi has been allowed to develop a hybrid system for its diesel-powered prototype race cars, with the diesel engine powering the rear wheels while a small electric motor powers the front. Not only should it be one of the fastest race cars to lap France’s La Sarthe race track, home of June’s 24 Hours of LeMans, but the Audi R18 e-tron should also be one of the most fuel efficient.
The Audi R18 e-tron quattro debuts at this month’s 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida. And if Audi is mulling a diesel hybrid for the racetrack, you can bet the German automaker is likely thinking about a diesel hybrid to make it to the street eventually.
Source: Audi via YouTube