TG meets the mighty Audi R18 e-tron
Up close in testing with this year’s Le Mans pretender
Posted: 11 Jun 2014
However, the yet-to-be-decided energy allotment (the final number will come out after testing) that drivers have to hit lap after lap will be below the absolute performance potential for each car. Most agree this is a fly in the ointment of ‘true’ pedal-to-the-metal, balls-to-the-wall racing. Instead of getting in a car and just driving it flat out, the modern day endurance racer will have to re-wire his brain.
How? Well, for each lap the driver has to hit their set efficiency target. If they are under the target, they’re just giving away time. It then resets for the next lap. If they go over their target, they have two laps to give the excess energy back. Fail to do that, they get penalized with a stop-go penalty. Which is potential disaster at Le Mans – the 24-hour sprint that’s now won and lost in seconds, not laps.
It all means more pressure on the drivers than ever: anyone behind the wheel is walking a fine line between efficiency and inefficiency. Something Audi’s driver, Oliver Jarvis, isn’t massively keen on.
“The honest answer is that I’m not a huge fan of the rules at the moment,” the Brit driver told us. “As a racing driver you want to be able to go flat out and the rules have changed this. You want to focus on the driving, but now you have other factors that are straining on the mind. That’s before you add traffic.”