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.
The rest of the R15's body has also been modified to smooth airflow, while the cooling and fuel tank systems were also revised to operate more efficiently. The 5.5-liter TDI engine retains much power because it has been optimized for the new smaller restrictors.
Audi learned its lesson from the loss of the 2009 R15 at Le Mans to rival diesel-entry Peugeot. After Le Mans 2009, the R15 listed about 20 key items. Aside from efficiency and reliability, Audi also considered details like improved night time lighting of the track.
With this in mind, Audi created a new headlight concept. Muhlmeier revealed that the 2010 R15 has recently completed testing in Germany. Currently, tests are being conducted in the US before it enters the 8 Hours of Le Castellet in April and the 1000 Kilometers of Spa-Francorchamps in May. Both races are considered to serve as advanced testing before the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.