audi r15

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Audi revises its R15 TDI diesel race sports car for Le Mans

Because of regulation changes that push for smaller air restrictors for diesel-powered Le Mans LMP1 race cars, Audi has decided to revise its R15 entry for the 2010 race. Audi is doing this with the hopes that the raised efficiency will prevail over a power loss from the new series rules.

Martin Muhlmeier, head of technology at Audi Sport, said that this year, the Le Mans regulations call for air restrictors with a smaller diameter as well as reduced supercharging pressure for the diesel-powered vehicles. Muhlmeier added that because of the reduction of engine power that came as a result of the regulations, the company has sought to the car's aerodynamics more efficient.

Audi also aimed to improve the Cd value and downforce parameters. The feature that stands out in the new R15 when compared to the aerodynamic revisions is a new 'split nose' front fascia.

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Audi reveals R15 Plus Le Mans race sports car

Audi will try to take home the bacon from the Le Mans 24 Hours by fielding its revised R15 TDI diesel race sports car on the track on June 12 and 13. In fact, Audi has also commenced an extensive testing program for the revised LMP1 vehicle in the United States.

According to Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport, the carmaker considers the LMP1 as a better alternative to Formula 1 since this category features technologies and developments that are usually relevant to production vehicles.

He noted that since efficiency is very important at Le Mans, Audi is infusing such attribute to its production vehicles. This is the main reason why Audi has made efficiency as a focal point in the R15 TDI evolution project, especially in terms of aerodynamics.

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2010 Audi R15 Plus: full details and specs

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.

Read the entire article 2010 Audi R15 Plus: full details and specs