Audi unveils 2011 Audi R18 LMP1 car

© Audi Motorsport

Audi has shown its new Le Mans racecar at a press conference in Ingolstadt tonight. The new Audi R18, a closed coupe that has been specifically developed for the Le Mans 24 Hours, will be Audi’s answer to the Peugeot 90X that was unveiled in October.

© Audi Motorsport

© Audi Motorsport

© Audi Motorsport

© Audi Motorsport

© Audi Motorsport

© Audi Motorsport

© Audi Motorsport

© Audi Motorsport

25 Comments on Audi unveils 2011 Audi R18 LMP1 car

  1. wow what a beauty! a le mans racer is so much better with a lid. although the shark fin looks a bit odd side on, we’ll soon get used to them if all the prototypes are sporting them. what a pity aston have decided to go topless next year.

  2. Wow! While the Peugeot 908 (and the 90X I suppose) has the elegant look, the Audi R18 is mean and ferocious! It’s like this is what the Daytona Prototypes should look like!

    Too bad it won’t be at Sebring, but it should be a wonder to see later in 2011.

  3. Observations/speculation:
    – The front fenders/pontoons are HUGE. Clearly they went with massive tyres up front. Perhaps Audi is also leaving room for KERS generators, motors, etc. to be mounted on the forward axle as well?
    – No diveplanes. Remember the ARX-02a needed seriously aggressive front areo to make the big tyres work. Any sort of diveplanes are absent on the R18 in its current state. Perhaps Michelin has developed purpose-built oversized front tyres for Audi, instead of using rear tyres (like Acura). Maybe Audi has positioned the tightly-packaged V6 far forward in the chassis in order to get the car blanced and front tyres to work? All speculation on my part…
    – And finally, I think we know why Peugeot went so conservative with the 90X: They can comfortably rest on their winning design and then file protests against Audi for being truly innovative! :)

  4. OMG! That is BEAUTIFUL! You sure this isn’t a Pug in disguise LOL?! Ok, that’s sorted my decision – i’m off to La Sarthe for sure!

  5. If those front fenders are as tall as they appear, they had better not be hiring short guys like McNish. Scott Sharpe showed at Petite a couple of years ago what a hazard those big fronts can be. Maybe they could build a clear bubble on the roof and jack up the seat a half foot or two.


  6. Dave that is off target, you look further up the road for your turn-in, geez.

    Who said it won’t be at Sebring? Aren’t Audi running the ILMC? Don’t Audi usually go to Sebring to break-in newly designed cars?

    What is going on with this comments?

  7. Wow! Is it a huge evo of R15? There is a remnant of R15 on front center and side pontoon.
    As some media expected the LMP1 goes to large front tyre concept as answer to lighter powertrain.
    R18 may keeps same drag level thanks to coupe and lower rear body even though it has huge front fender.
    As harry says the shark fin looks a bit odd. Too much big shark fin killed LM Prototype’s beautiful wave shape . ACO should allow much smaller.
    The car express Audi’s design freely than production car. This is always a fascination of prototype racer… BTW, How may LEDs R18 has in light cluster??

  8. It wasn’t the turn-in, it was the presence of another car coming out of the pits. Scott Sharpe never saw the car he hit because of the large fenders the ARX-02a needed to cover the large rear tires mounted on the front.

    Audi wasn’t at Sebring this past year, well, they WERE at Sebring, but they didn’t run. I see less and less American involvement out of Audi. Without the ILMC, we might not see them at all here in the States.

    And remember, the ARX-02a took several more laps to get up to full race pace because the huge fronts were difficult to heat up. Watch the first lap at the 2009 Sebring and watch the Acura get swallowed up due to a combination of a relatively small engine(start/finsh straight) and the cold front tires, where the Acura should have been able to counter attack the diesels in the infield, they couldn’t til the Pugs/Audis were long gone.

  9. Just had another thought, RAther than that UGLY vertical fin, why not some smaller angled X wing style fins.

  10. Oh and somebody e-mail a pic of this to Grand-Am and show them what a closed cockpit race car should look like. :)

  11. !!! I think butt ugly is the word for this concoction…

    It may look mean and agressive, but beautifull it aint, in my honest oppinion ofcourse. Look at them LED headlights. Looks more like Shelob from the Lord of the ring movie then something pretty like last years Aston LMP’s.

  12. Great. Looks like a prototype has to be. Hope the Audi and Peugeot efforts will attract more companies to start or enlarge a prototype engagement (e.g. I hope that Rebellion is just an entry for a bigger Toyota engagement and that Aston Martin will put more effort into prototype racing), then we will see great races.
    @JamesK: The Audi front is different from a usual prototype front (for example compared to ARX), as the concept is not to use much fins and spoilers in the front but to bring much “unspoilt” air UNDER the car which is more efficient for the ground-effect. Audi has practised this successfully in DTM already.

  13. Wow! I can wait to see this car beat the Pugs into submission at Le Mans, Silverstone and in the ILMC generally. I hope it’s as quick as it’s mean looks suggest.
    As for some other Closed tops really look the part, but its easier to see whose driving an open car!

  14. They seem to have incorporated the fin quite well into the overall look of the car, something that Peugeot had not very well with the 90X. It almost doesn’t look out of place, and with a bit of work, all the 2011 protos will look good with the shark fin.

  15. I don’t think it’s as pretty as some of you think. The 908 was infinitely more of a beauty than this. Even the Lola Aston and the regular Lola coupe are better looking.

    But with anything that wins, it will have a way of making us think it’s good to look at when it wins some races.

    Grand Am cars are purposely designed to limit the cars’ top speed. Air actually pushes down on the cars to slow it down.

  16. Actually Audi WILL be at Sebring but with two R15 Plus re-engined instead of this beauty.

    Anyway, I predict Peugeot is going to blast them both during the course of the season…their HDI 3.7 litre engine would experience an 50 bhp advantage over the TDI straight out of the box.

  17. Actually, JamesK, if you look closely at some of the pictures you can see what appear to be mounts for diveplanes on the outside of the front wheel “pontoons.”
    See the two sets of two light colored dots around a hole in the carbon…

    I was surprised Audi released that many pictures of this thing so long before it races, I bet it’ll look fairly different in May!

  18. Also, why the switch for both Peugeot and Audi to central engine air intakes? Is that in the regulations? Since they’re both still twin-turbo and the turbos are ostensibly down beside the engine, that’s a long way for the air to go.

  19. At last Audi is making a coupe!
    LeMans Proto’s should be (remotely) related to the things you and i drive on weekdays at hunaudieres on our way to the office.
    Dr. Ulrich is complaining about beeing forced to by the regs and prefered a spyder. But my opinion: If Ulrich wants to race an open top car, he should have a chat with Jean Todt and Berni Ecclestone…
    (Glad he has’nt done so…)

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