2010 Audi R15 Plus: full details and specs

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 1, 2008

For this year's 24h Le Mans race, Audi has prepared the second generation of the R15 TDI diesel race sports car, which had won in the same race in 2006. Audi tweaked the vehicle, trimming it and installing several updates that are focused on higher efficiency. The vehicle, dubbed the "R15 plus" has been able to maintain the output of its 5.5 liter V12 engine ( over 620 hp), despite the tougher regulations.

In addition, the aerodynamics were revised and trimmed to improve its speed. The radiator package was repositioned and the cockpit now offers improved ergonomics. Racing at night for this racecar is not a problem since it uses additional LED lights borrowed from the R8 supercar. The R15 plus has passed several tests covering over 40,000 kilometers since March 2010.

These sessions include two endurance runs of 30 hours each and aerodynamic test performed in the wind tunnel. The racecar also went through tracks and airfields simulations on an artificially dirtied race track. Its radiators were also tested on how they would face soiling. Furthermore, it underwent two test races in the Le Mans Series at Le Castellet and Spa-Francorchamps and a final test in Southern France at the end of May.

Audi Sport has come out with a LMP1 race car that is different from earlier Le Mans models as it utilizes creative freedom. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport, explains that the technical solutions that can be seen on the R15 TDI are not typical at all.

Ullrich adds that they did take new directions. For instance, the suspension on its front and rear has been raised in order to be more aerodynamic. With its weight optimized plus a wheelbase that has been lengthened, the R15 TDI is made more agile compared to the previous models.

There are also new approaches utilized in this sports car’s chassis. At present, Audi remains to be the only automaker to use a diesel car and win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ullrich shares that the R15 TDI will form the foundation of what will be a chance to win in 2009.

The R15 TDI will make its first appearance as a race car during the 12-hour race to be held in Sebring, Florida on March 21. Additionally, Audi Sport Team Joest expects to have three cars join the 24 Hours of Le Mans which is slated for June 13 to 14.

Press Release

Audi R15 TDI: first

AUDI AG is the world's first automobile manufacturer to develop a "second" generation diesel racing sports car. Audi aims to underline its supremacy and consolidate its expertise in car technology once more at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans with the all-new Audi R15 TDI.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is particularly suited for this: Efficient and economical cars are especially required for the French endurance classic. Lightweight construction, environmentally friendly drive concepts and well-thought out aerodynamics are the focus of attention at Le Mans just as they are during the development of production cars. For this purpose the regulations intentionally give the engineers plenty of freedom.

Audi Sport fully exploited this creative freedom and put a new LMP1 race car on the track that differs significantly from all previous Le Mans sports cars. "The R15 TDI has many detailed technical solutions never seen before on a sports prototype," explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "To a certain extent we followed entirely new routes."

Highly efficient TDI engine

The heart of the R15 TDI is a newly developed V10 TDI engine producing more than 600 hp, with a maximum torque output in excess of 1,050 Newton meters and which reflects the latest version of the TDI Technology invented by Audi. The power unit is more compact and lighter than the twelve-cylinder engine used in the preceding R10 TDI model. The specific fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions could also be reduced. Innovations in the turbo-charging and fuel injection areas simultaneously ensure improved engine response. The R15 TDI is also equipped with a new generation of even lighter diesel particle filters.

The new sports car's aerodynamics, which play a particularly important role at Le Mans, are extremely refined. Like the DTM 2008 championship winning Audi A4, the airflow around and through the car was optimized with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics). Included among the many innovative detail solutions which can be spotted at first glance are a rear wing suspended from the top and a high nose.

Innovative vehicle electrical system concept

The vehicle electrical system in the Le Mans sports car is entirely new: A lithium-ion battery, as found in some hybrid vehicles, is used for the first time. It is lighter than the conventional battery and supplies a higher voltage.

The headlights fitted to the R15 TDI also benefit from the higher power. At Le Mans, Audi competes for the first time with a low beam unit comprised entirely of light emitting diodes, which represents the next generation of Audi LED technology for road cars.

Innovative approaches

Numerous innovative approaches are also hidden in the chassis and suspension of the diesel sports car. Due to the aerodynamic concept the front and rear suspension have been raised. Thanks to a longer wheelbase and the optimized vehicle weight the R15 TDI is significantly more agile than its predecessor.

Audi is the only automobile manufacturer to have won the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans with a diesel car. "With the R15 TDI we have created the base to be in a position to win also in 2009," says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.

The Audi R15 TDI celebrates its race debut in the 12-hour race in Sebring, Florida in the USA on March 21. Audi Sport Team Joest plans to field three cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 13/14.

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