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 |  Dec 13 2010, 7:12 AM

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After Peugeot’s Le Mans victory, many speculated that Audi would be working on a new Le Mans Prototype to regain their dominance in the race series. And here we have it, Audi’s new R18 Le Mans Prototype and gone is their traditional open-top design. Not since 1999 has Audi brought a closed coupe to Le Mans.

The race car itself is constructed of a single-piece carbon fiber monocoque but is truly highlighted by Audi’s all-LED headlights, a first in Le Mans. Audis have really made a name for themselves with the integration of their LEDs in their standard vehicles, and now we must say we’re in love with the R18′s headlights.

Powering the R18 will be a 3.7L TDI V6 powerplant that will be mated to an all new six-speed transmission.

The R18 was first tested at the end of November with Allan McNish behind the wheel. Audi plans on debuting the R18 at the Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours in Belgium during May of next year. The prototype will also be tested on April 24th at Le Mans official test day. Audi plans on fielding three R18s at Le Mans in 2011.

GALLERY: Audi R18 LMP1

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Official press release available after the break.

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