• Dec 8, 2010
2010 Audi R15 Plus – Click above for high-res image gallery

The funny thing about a race series like Le Mans is that as spectators, we only see a small fraction of the action when we watch events like Petit Le Mans or the 24 Hours of Le Mans. While the fender-to-fender fracas is plenty exciting, it takes an army of engineers frantically innovating and working to beat deadlines to carry the checkered flag each season. And that's exactly why we're so excited about this juicy little bit of rumor from Fortitude. From what we understand, Audi may be looking to retire its R15 Plus in favor of a new closed-cockpit R18.

According to Fortitude, the information comes courtesy of Le Mans Live Blog, which is operated by the fine people at Michelin. Since the tire maker is a partner in Audi motorsport, there's a good chance that this rumor is more than wild speculation. If Le Mans Live Blog is to be believed, the new machine will get an official unveil on December 10, though there are few details beyond that.

Audi has notoriously rejected the notion of a closed-cockpit Le Mans racer for years, even as the competition adopted the design to reduce driver fatigue and aerodynamic drag. But after Peugeot managed to knock Audi off of its Le Mans throne in 2009 with its closed-cockpit 908 HDi FAP, the German racing team's tune changed in a hurry.

Regardless of what the R18 looks like when it debuts, we'll be interested to see what Audi brings to the table for next year's race. With Peugeot once again looking for blood, it's bound to be a good one.

[Sources: Le Mans Live via Fortitude]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Woot!! Yea! My life is lookin' up, my favorite racing team unveils their new car on my birthday!! XD
      • 4 Years Ago
      adults only
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very excited to hear this and can't wait to see it!
      • 4 Years Ago
      How many times can you misspell poor Fourtitude's name in one place? Great that you give credit to them (they're awesome) - but ouch.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm just hoping the R18 will be as fast as it will undoubtedly look. Also curious as to what Peugeot will unveil when the time comes for a 908 replacement... whatever happens it will guarantee some great racing for us fans!

      I wish more teams participated in the LMP1 class. Has anyone heard anything about other major manufacturers looking to compete in this class?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well Toyota, for one will supply engines for Rebellion Racing's Lola Coupes for the 2011 24h, maybe ILMC rounds also.

        Aston Martin talking with ORECA for their new LMP1 chassis.

        I doubt Porsche will do it as long as Audi stays, Mazda's support gets weaker every year and Honda doesn't seem to notice even though their engines are still winning championships and enduros across the world in P2.
      • 4 Years Ago
      audi's are awesome m really looking forward for this r18
      • 4 Years Ago
      Unless I dreamed up grade school, but how did we go from R15 to R18. What happened to 16 and 17?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @DaveEllis: Thanks for the summary :) but you missed the one that started it all, the R8.
        Curiously I don't think there ever was an R9, but the production car that ended up being the current R8 was called the R9 during concept stage I believe.
        • 4 Years Ago
        16 and 17 are DTM cars
        • 4 Years Ago
        The R numbered Audis are simply Racing Audis, and this includes the DTM entries.

        R10 - Le Mans (2005)
        R11 - DTM (2004)
        R12 - DTM (2005)
        R12+ - DTM (2006)
        R13 - DTM (2007)
        R14 - DTM (2008)
        R14+ - DTM (2009)
        R15 - Le Mans (2009)
        R15+ - Le Mans (2010)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now if only the Audi's would return to the ALMS series for the whole season...