Audi premiered its new R18 racer at the Audi Sport Finale at the Audi Training Center Munich on Saturday, November 28, saying the 2016 season R18 has been fundamentally redesigned to improve aerodynamics, its hybrid drivetrain, and lightweight build.
Audi says its diesel-electric race car represents the next stage in lightweight, hybrid systems design, with the automaker optimizing the 4.0-liter TDI engine for efficiency. The 2016 R18 will race in the 6MJ class, up from the 4MJ class it raced within in 2015 and the 2MJ it was in during the 2014 season.
Audi has promised further technical details on the car and its changes as the race season nears. Meanwhile, it gave assurances that the race team will remain intact and that it and Porsche will combine efforts for the Le Mans 24 Hours, fielding two race cars rather than three. This cost-efficiency measure will likely herald a few Volkswagen Group race changes throughout the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season in 2016.
All eight drivers that were in the field during 2015 will remain in 2016, despite the vehicle changes. Audi says that the only change planned is to swap Adrien Tambay and Nico Muller in order to give the two newest and youngest drivers on the team added experience. Audi Sport Team Joest will field two R18 cars for the start of the season at Silversone and Audi Sport Teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg will field eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars.
Audi also announced that development of the new Audi R8 LMS has been completed and deliveries to race customers have begun with production of 45 cars being planned. The possibility of more is being explored.