If you follow racing much, then you know that sometimes the testing the day or two after the race is sometimes more interesting than the race itself. The track is usually in fantastic shape, the team and divers are in a good rhythm for working all weekend, and if they have had a particularly good weekend they carry that momentum forward, and if they’ve have a very bad weekend, they are looking to erase all of that with a solid test.
Audi had an excellent weekend at Sebring, taking the victory in the 60th running of the 12 Hour race, and as they have done in the past, used the Monday after the race to test machinery that they intend to race later in the year at Spa and LeMans. For the test Audi not only continued to work on developing the R18 Ultra, but also the new R18 e-tron quattro.
The R18 e-tron quattro takes the Turbo Diesel V6 from the R18 Ultra and pairs with it a flywheel hybrid system that sister company Porsche have been developing for two years now in the GT3 R Hybrid race car, and that technology has come from the Williams F1 team from the first time KERS was tried in the sport. In it’s first iteration in the Porsche the unit weighed 103 pounds, and by the end of last year it was down below 70, now with Audi also helping in developing the technology, they have cut that weight by another 20 pounds! It’s development like this why you often hear the phrase, “racing improves the breed”.
The flywheel hybrid system works by taking the braking energy, and rather than store it in a battery, or series of batteries, stores it in a flywheel that spins, in this case at over 40,000 RPMS. Then when called upon the energy stored in the flywheel is dumped back into an electric motor which powers, in the case of the R18 e-tron quattro, the front wheels with an additional 110 horsepower.
There is a “network” on YouTube called Drive, it features a series of shows throughout the week which covers cars and motorsport, it’s has some money behind it and so the production is quite good. If you are a car enthusiast, you will know many of the people who host the different show. In this case Leo Parente takes his show “Shakedown” to Sebring and talks with the people running the race program, along with the drivers. It’s a very good 15 minute video, and we encourage you to watch all the way to the end to hear what Ulrich Baretsky (Head of Engine Development) has to say about what they have learned in racing diesels and what that could mean to the future development of gasoline engines.