Audi R18 TDI – Click above for high-res image gallery

Though rumors persist that one of the Volkswagen Group's brands could make the jump into Formula 1, Audi is adamant that it won't be the one to do so. According to the company's motorsport boss, F1 bears "no relevance to the road."

The German automaker most prominently races Le Mans Prototypes, like the new R18 TDI pictured above. Is that really so different from F1? Audi points out that over the course of a 24-hour race like Le Mans, just one of its cars covers more distance than an entire F1 season, its average speeds are 20 mph higher than in F1 and they use 42 percent less fuel in the process.

Audi has a strong racing pedigree that extends even beyond Le Mans, staking its name in rallying and touring cars, as well. Audi has brought many of its technologies from its motorsport program to its road cars, but according to this report, Audi sees little connection between grand prix racing and the development of its volume products. Hat tip to xcatchmyshadowx!


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 42 Comments
      Temple
      • 3 Years Ago
      Audi/VAG is unfortunetly right. F1 doesn't increase sales. Look at Renault+Alonso during 2005/2006 when they won the constructors/drivers championship. There wasn't even a blip in sales increase resulting for Renault in their native France or Spain. The fact is that nobody makes their purchasing decisions based on how well a automaker does in F1. Recently, we've seen most of the major brands leave F1. BMW, Honda, Toyota, and even Renault is mostly gone (they sold their team to the Russians, and is moving to rebrand their engines as Infiniti in the future).
        Autoblogist
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Temple
        Actually road cars can and do benefit from F1 engineering, but those cars are usually six figures and up. McClaren and Ferrari are prime examples. A F1 tech in a Renault would make no sense, since just the costs alone would be prohibitive. Lamborghini is the one VAG company I can see benefiting from a close relationship with F1. But, that too would kinda be a slap in the face to the founder who saw no importance in racing.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Temple
        [blocked]
      Soichiro
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love F1, but they are right - in terms of transferable technology sports car and endurance racing is miles ahead. With that said I still believe there is a place for both, although I'm not thrilled with the direction F1 is taking (I would like to see some sort of financial restrictions instead of the intense technical and testing regulations we see now). I would also love to see other manufacturers compete in endurance racing, proving their own specific flare as VW (Audi) does with its TDI products.
      bouljf
      • 3 Years Ago
      They are not entirely wrong, hopefully this will change with the adoption of the new engine formula. Giving KERS an increased role will most likely push the technology forward and we will eventually reap the benefits of this on the road.
      wereling3
      • 3 Years Ago
      There is also that Le Mans racing generally has a less rigid series of regulations surrounding car construction. In LMS/ALMS Audi can have a completely different engine formula than Peugeot (a single turbo instead of twin turbos), and use a different fuel than Aston Martin (diesel instead of gasoline). F1 has a MUCH more restrictive set of engine regulations. F1 has been so focused on lowering the barrier to entry they they have made illegal many of the technologies that originated in their sport. Many of these technologies (like traction control and dynamic aero) eventually found their way into road cars. Some of this might have been best for competition, but it has also made them less and less relevant to the manufacturers who want to use the sport as a testing ground.
      Mayoman
      • 3 Years Ago
      I watch and enjoy both series, for difference reasons. No reasons to choose only one.
      Richard
      • 3 Years Ago
      20mph average speed is faster due to the track, not the cars. The lemans track is painfully simple compared to modern F1 tracks. Audi doesn't want to enter into F1 because they would lose and they are comfortable winning a series that no one else cares about with virutally all teams being private entries against their works team they certainly are big man on campus.
        Narom
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Richard
        Know idea why you've be down ranked, but you're right. Le Mans is a series of helluva lot of straights.
        mitytitywhitey
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Richard
        A Le Mans track can be the same length and number of corners as an F1 track. Next.
          Kiiks
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mitytitywhitey
          I think he was referring to Circuit la Sarthe, specifically.
      xcatchmyshadowx
      • 3 Years Ago
      Audi is doing the rite thing here. They offered the sportquattro after the success of their 5 Cylinder Group B monster, the S1. And the legendary 5-cylinder theme lives on in the new TT-RS and RS3 and with the upcoming revival of the new sportquattro. So, i hope to see new models getting this new R18 V6 Diesel engine. For us customers it´s like being part of racing history. a WIN-WIN situation!
      Ducman69
      • 3 Years Ago
      F1 is completely irrelevant to technology developed for road going cars. And no one really cares which spaceship one the F1 race when it comes to purchasing a car, as they don't even have passing similarity in shape or design. Take the C6R though and compare it to the Corvette ZR1, and they are remarkably similar cars. C6Rs wiping the floor with lambos, porsches, ferraris, etc DOES translate into showroom floor sales and DOES provide technology advancements that trickle down more directly to their street cars.
        M#
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        and the much cheaper M3 is destroying the corvette in the ALMS what's ur point?
          Kiiks
          • 3 Years Ago
          @M#
          The C6.R (ZR1) was developed to meet LMGT regulations on the dot. The M3GT carries lots of waivers, for ex: double control arm front suspension vs the strut type on the road car, modified seating position, restrictor breaks, to name just a few. The BMW is less relevant to it's road version than any of it's primary competitors. The C6 road car was developed with lots of input from Corvette Racing. It's a prime example of motorsport relevance, and is part of the reason Bowling Green's little plastic coupe is one of the most respected sports cars in the world.
        Go5go
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        C6R and the C6 are very similar.... Because the C6 was developed with some of the ALMS rules and C5 experience in mind: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/03/05/how-a-corvette-c6-r-comes-to-life-autoblog-tours-pratt-and-miller/
      Go5go
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lots of excuses for the real reason: NO QUATTRO in F1! So they wouldn't be able to do well without their main advantage!
        pawel38
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Go5go
        dude. not 1 of the cars audi races has quattro. none. for a long time. get a grip.
      vtecgreen
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hard to argue with them. Other than something like KERS, F1 is not offering much in the way of technology that directly translates into road cars due to the heavy regulations to slow them down.... LeMans cars, and something like diesel proficiency and making cars that can run under tough conditions for 24 hours seem to have more of an immediate impact for cars nowadays. Now, once the 4 cylinder engines come to formula 1, we'll see if some technology from those engines eventually trickle down....
      Stix
      • 3 Years Ago
      Audi does have a point. Even with the F1 technology that trickles down into production cars available for the general public, the cars that get them aren't exactly known for being affordable to the masses. Besides, there are no similarities to F1 cars and regular road-going cars. Whatever gets trickled down will end up getting toned down for cost and user-friendliness reasons. And how much money did BMW, Toyota, and Honda lose when they were participating in F1? The cost of fuel and its massive regulations aren't doing much to help the sport, either.
      Javanese
      • 3 Years Ago
      For once I agree with audi.
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