TG meets the mighty Audi R18 e-tron
Up close in testing with this year’s Le Mans pretender
Posted: 11 Jun 2014
Still with us? How it works is that to offset less fuel and smaller fuel tanks, the capacity of a LMP1 car’s batteries or hybrid flywheel system has been massively bumped up to compensate.
In combination with their choice of petrol or diesel engine, a team has to choose a hybrid system that kicks out either two, four, six, or eight megajoules of recovered ‘free’ efficient electric power per lap.
The idea of the given energy allotment per lap (which is still unknown to the teams at this late stage) is about equalizing the hybrid power with the engine power. If you’ve got a big, heavy but powerful 8MJ hybrid, you get less fuel to play with but could be faster. If you have less hybrid oomph from a 2MJ setup, you need to run a smaller, more efficient engine that may not be as powerful and could need to re-fuel more often.
It’s now a strategy game more than ever, and the ACO hasn’t imposed these rules to slow down, decrease power or clip the aero of each car – just to balance out engine technology and hybrid technology. Something Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport, pointed out:
“In the end we’re all given the same amount of energy and the goal isn’t to make the biggest power out of it, it’s to build the fastest car,” he says.
Essentially LMP1 designers and engineers now have to build a car around a package problem. They know how much energy they can use, so have to mold the fundamental elements of a car – aero, engine, hybrid, drivability and electronic systems that combine the two – together into the fastest bundle.