2014 Audi R18

You can't debate Audi's record in endurance racing. With 12 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it comes second only to Porsche in the history books of the famous endurance race – only in Audi's case, all of those victories have come in the last 14 years, losing only twice: once to its partner team Bentley in 2003 and once to rival Peugeot in 2009. It's won the FIA World Endurance Championship in both of the seasons it's run so far, and has won championships in the European and American Le Mans Series, too.

That's quite a record to defend, and defend it Audi will with an evolved LMP1 racer next year. Only a week after tying up its second consecutive world championship, the German outfit is already back at Sebring this weekend testing the successor to the all-conquering R18 e-tron Quattro. Unfortunately as the new United SportsCar Championship doesn't include LMP1s, the only chance we may have to see it competing here in the United States will be at the 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas in September.

Audi is keeping mum on the details for the time being, releasing only this one photo and promising to reveal further details before the end of the month, but we can already discern a more streamlined shape, revised aero and reprofiled headlamps among the changes from the outgoing R18. One way or another, with Toyota upping its game and Porsche returning to top-level competition next season, Audi may be in for its toughest challenge yet – but you can bet it won't take it lying down. Scope out the press release below and watch this space for more.
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Ingolstadt/Sebring, 2013-12-08
U.S. test for new Audi R18 e-tron quattro

- Audi's new LMP1 sports car is being tested
- Further details to be published before the end of December
- Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Ullrich: "Crucial stage has been reached"


Only a week after the World Championship winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car's last run in a race, its successor is ready to hit the track. Tests of the new LMP1 sports car, which has been kept under wraps up to now, commence today on the U.S. race track at Sebring (Florida).

Audi Sport in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm has developed a fundamentally new Le Mans prototype that corresponds to the Technical Regulations for 2014 and is designed for maximum efficiency. The development started in 2012. The roll-out took place in the early fall of 2013. Starting today, the next-generation Audi R18 e-tron quattro is being tested on the race track where all new Le Mans prototypes of the Audi brand have had to prove their worth: at Sebring.

"We've reached a crucial stage in this project," explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "After building the first prototype, testing on various race tracks is now taking center-stage. The tests are mainly focused on achieving high mileage, coordinating the highly complex hybrid drive systems and working out an efficiency-optimized total package that has never before been as complex as this one."

Audi has won the manufacturers' and drivers' classifications in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) for the second time in succession and the Le Mans 24 Hours for the twelfth time this year. Before the end of December, Audi will present the next generation of its hybrid sports car and announce further details.