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The publication Race Engine Technology has given Audi Motorsport the “Race Engine of the Year” award for their 3.7L V6 TDI powerplant. The engine, which was vital to Audi capturing its 10th title at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year, produces more than 540-hp through the use of a single turbocharger.
Compared to its V10 TDI predecessor, the 120-degree, extremely compact V6 TDI is 25-percent lighter and uses a single turbo rather than the twin-turbo the V10 TDI used. The single turbocharger sits above the engine and draws its air directly through the roof-mounted air scoop. The setup was the result of a collaboration with Garrett, one of the leading manufacturers of turbochargers.
“Audi invented the TDI engine and is convinced that this technology remains one of the most efficient and modern forms to power a car – especially at Le Mans where engines with high specific power, low fuel consumption and low emissions are a necessity,” explained Audi Motorsport’s Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
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
Official press release available after the break.