The R18 TDI succeeded the R15 TDI as Audi ‘s Le Mans Prototype weapon-of-choice in 2010. It represented the first coupe design since the manufacturer’s failed experiment with the Audi R8C over a decade before, in a move prompted by new laws that slowed down pit stop times and negated the main advantage of an open cockpit.
It was also new regulations that necessitated the R18′s prominent stabilization fin and smaller engine—the 532 bhp produced by its 3.7-liter single-turbo V6 represented a 10% reduction compared to the output of its predecessor’s 5.5-liter twin-turbo V10. Other changes included an ultra-lightweight design, improved fuel-efficiency, an electronically-controlled gearbox, and its single-piece carbon monocoque that imbued the car with extra rigidity.
Allan said this about the car in conversation with John Hindhaugh, at Sebring in March.
Despite these changes—some enforced by regulation, others inspired by evolution—the one thing that remained constant was Audi’s domination of endurance racing. After a creditable third-place finish on its debut at the 2010 1000km of Spa, the R18 TDI then notched two impressive victories at the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans and at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2012.
To pilot Audi’s closed-cockpit colossus, buy the Audi R18 TDI today on Simraceway
Oh by the way we first drove this car back in October of 2011 at Petit Le Mans, McNish didn’t shake it down until early March this year!