• Mar 9th 2009 at 6:01PM
  • 14
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Audi R15 TDI

Following its annual meeting in Germany, Audi released photos and more details of its all-new R15 TDI race car. After some spy shots and one official pic of the R15 being tested in unpainted carbon fiber, we can now see the new LMP1 car in its standard Audi livery of silver and red. Audi is billing the R15 as the first second-generation diesel racing sports car and the company has focused on creating a vehicle that can consistently beat its French challenger, the Peugeot 908 HDi.

When the R10 debuted it was the first diesel-powered Le Mans Prototype and reliability was put ahead of outright speed. This time around, Audi has optimized the aerodynamics, reduced the weight and built an all-new smaller, more efficient powertrain. The 5.5-liter V12 has been supplanted by a new V10. and although Audi hasn't disclosed its displacement, the automaker admits it's more compact, has a lower mass and features new smaller and lighter particulate filters.

While the car doesn't use a hybrid KERS system, it does have a lithium ion battery for its electrical system. The advanced battery provides higher voltage with lower weight -- always a boon in a race car. The R15 will make its racing debut March 21 at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

[Source: Audi]

Audi R15 TDI: first "second" generation diesel racing sports car

# Audi launches new LMP1 racing sports car
# New TDI engine and many innovative approaches
# Race debut on March 21 at Sebring (USA)

Ingolstadt – 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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's a pretty weak blur job on the wheels guys...
      • 6 Years Ago
      That car looks hungry...it's so ready to snack on the competition.

      (ah nom nom nom nom...*belch*)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've waited for these pics for so long...
      • 6 Years Ago
      im looking forward to see how audi will do against peugeot this year, seeing as they were slower last year and only won due to strategy and reliability. can't wait to see this thing race on the speed network, since i won't be able to see it live as it won't be comming to mosport...
        • 6 Years Ago
        "im looking forward to see how audi will do against peugeot this year, seeing as they were slower last year and only won due to strategy and reliability"

        And that's a major part of Le Mans racing. If you have a faster car, but can't perform faster driver changes, etc., you lose. Watch Truth In 24 on ESPN the night before the season opener at Sebring. You'll learn a lot about Audi's commitment to winning at Le Mans.

        On another note, pic #36 accompanying the post is fantastic. The R15, the R8 GT-3, and the A4 DTM race cars are all bad ass looking and with the distinctive LED running lights, other racers will have no doubts about who is coming up to pass them!.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I know strategy has a lot to do with le mans racing, after all it is endurance racing, you have to win the war and not necessarily every battle, but all i'm saying is that the car could be faster. They were the first to bring diesel to le mans, peugeot followed and were able to make a faster car. We all know audi has the strategy down quite good, now it will be interesting to see if they can get the car to be faster.

        On another note, i also noticed that pic of the three cars and had it as my wallpaper as of last night. Those LEDs combined with the exposed carbon fiber makes the cars look so good.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, I've got my new wallpaper and screen saver pictures. Eleven days until Sebring.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looking forward to seeing this car run.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, I've got my new wallpaper and screen saver pictures. Eleven days until Sebring.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I still don't like the splitter. Good to see the real headlights though.

      I'm shocked it took this long for someone to go for a LIon battery. They're so much lighter and less susceptible to vibration problems.

      It'll be great to get more details on the engine. The last one was frankly a disaster. It required a ton of size to get enough power and the weight was a killer on any track that isn't wide open. It wasn't even as fast as the gas competition at Miller Motorsports Park, with its 2/3rds mile straightaway.

      Come on Audi, you can make a car that isn't a one-trick pony. You did it before with the R8, do it again.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ALMS went out of its way to give P2s extra performance.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The ACO went out of its way to give Diesel P1s extra performance. The R10 gets to run twice the boost, an almost 50% larger motor and over 50% more air through its restrictor. The Diesels also originally got over 25% more energy in their gas tank (not only more gallons, but more energy per gallon of course) than any gas car. IMSA (ALMS) only narrowed the huge advantage given to the Diesels.

        The ACO raised the minimum weight in P1 because the R10 couldn't make the minimum weight.

        The R10 is a joke. It's very powerful, but it's also far too heavy to do well on most tracks. You see it hit bumps on tracks and it shoots all over the place because the high mass overwhelms the suspension.

        The R8 was more than a match for other cars. Even as the ACO took away engine power, it still won due to reliability and handling. The R10 doesn't measure up at all. It is just an enormous motor with fat tires. Audi can do better. Perhaps the R15 is just the vehicle to show this.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The R10 raced @ 900 kilograms in Europe last year, in ALMS it was forced to run @ 925. On the other hand ALMS P2s were 25 kilograms lighter than the rules specified last year. Basically the R10 competed with a 50 kilogram handicap in the ALMS last year.

        Le Mans is not about outright speed, Audi has won two Le Mans with a significantly slower race cars than its closest competition (R8 in its last year and R10 last year) Last year Peugeot's speed came as they sacrificed setup (Audi was quicker in the rain) and had slow driver changes (closed top)

        And as you should know by now, ACO rules allow different types of engines to compete because they don't all have the same boost/restrictor size. This allows Corvette to run a 7 liter engine with the same restrictor size as 6 liter Aston Martin.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow thats a crazy scoop hanging out there between the wheels.
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