TG meets the mighty Audi R18 e-tron
Up close in testing with this year’s Le Mans pretender
Posted: 11 Jun 2014
When Le Mans’ legislators – Automobile Club de l'Ouest – planned this year’s rules, there was one over-riding quest: efficiency.
This, you may think, would mean the first thing to go is the wasteful engines. Cut down the cylinders, choke them to death with air-restrictors and make them run on recycled apple juice – that kind of thing.
But the new rules actually allow engines to run freer than ever: there are no limitations of cylinders, air restrictors have been removed and turbo pressures can now be sky high.
“Awesome! Quad-turbo W16 engines for everyone!” you’d think. You’d be wrong.
Cars now have to drink 30 per cent less fuel than last year. But this isn’t like the fuel restrictions once imposed at Le Mans during the Group C era; a simple case of giving teams a set amount of go-juice and told to run until the tank went dry. Oh no. This is a lot more complicated.
To keep cars efficient, each major team will now be allocated a certain amount of energy per lap based on the size of its mandatory hybrid set-up. This stipulated energy that’s shared by the combustion engine and hybrid system is replenished after each lap, but must not be exceeded. If it is, there are punishments.