Archive for category Audi Speed
– Latest electrified generation of the successful all-wheel drive
– Audi sets benchmarks in terms of assembly space, weight and performance
– Four more weeks to go before the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours
In a month from now a prestigious success will be at stake for Audi. On June 16/17, a hybrid vehicle could be winning the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time.
Electrified drive and quattro all-wheel drive – what looks like two different worlds at first glance has been merged into a technological synthesis by Audi. “Soon after the TDI phase had begun we started to think about the hybridization of a Le Mans sports prototype, when it was foreseeable that the regulations would open up this option,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “After exploring the concepts we quickly saw the opportunity of bringing a new technological specification of all-wheel drive back into motorsport. Unfortunately, it had been banned from circuit racing since 1998.”
From 1981 to 1997, Audi won four titles in the World Rally Championship, clinched three victories at Pikes Peak, a championship win in the TRANS-AM, two DTM titles and eleven national Super Touring Car Championships plus a Touring Car World Cup with quattro models. For the first time since the 1998 ban an all-wheel drive model is now allowed to compete in the FIA’s circuit racing program.
Yet what sounds like a simply return has been one of the biggest tasks ever tackled by Audi Sport to date. Packaging an additional front-wheel drive and a hybrid system into a sports car is particularly difficult due to the space conditions. With a width of two meters and a length of 4.65 meters the car has large outer dimensions. But underneath the outer shell there is a monocoque construction which in motorsport has been quite classically optimized for totally different aspects than the integration of a drive axle and incorporation of a hybrid system.
Consequently, the achievements of the engineering team that has made the hybrid front-wheel drive reality are particularly impressive: for example, because the entire drive unit is installed inside the carbon fiber structure for optimal protection. Or because the monocoque has been stretched in forward length compared with the predecessor model. This shortens the crash structure in front of it which still has to successfully pass all crash tests, though. Or because of the extreme proximity to the driver, which requires special protection measures. Or because of the weight, as every gram counts in motorsports. Or because of the performance capabilities. Never before has such a small and light-weight system recovered so much energy.
With support from system partners, Audi has achieved a particularly compact MGU (motor generator unit) on the front axle. During energy recuperation, which is fully electronically controlled, drive shafts transmit the power to the inside of the MGU where the kinetic energy is converted into electric power during braking periods. The principle is similar to that of the commonly known dyno – albeit with extremely high energy flows. Converters integrated into the housing transform this energy from alternating into direct current which in turn drives a rotating mass storage device located alongside the driver. The energy is stored by the current accelerating this carbon fiber flywheel which runs in a high-vacuum to as much as 45,000 revolutions per minute. After cornering, this energy is available again to power the electric motors of the MGU unit which in turn drive the front wheels. Up to 150 kW of short-term power (204 HP) can be supplied to the front axle.
“The fact that in Audi’s Technical Development division ideas of driving the internal combustion engine and an axle via the electric motor have been in existence gave us strong motivation to steer the concept for the R18 e-tron quattro in this direction,” says Dr. Ullrich. “We’re convinced that by splitting the electric drive and the combustion drive between two axles we’re achieving a positive weight distribution in the vehicle while making use of at least some of the advantages of a quattro drive system. After presenting our concept to the ACO and the FIA for the first time we received a relatively quick response. They saw that in the case of our hybrid solution in combination with all-wheel drive the quattro factor certainly carries some weight. The FIA wanted to keep this within the limits of a reduced scope because its chief aim is hybridization, not the return of all-wheel drive. Therefore, a clause in the regulations was agreed that limits the advantage of a standard quattro drive when accelerating out of tight corners. The electrified axle may only be additionally used for acceleration above a speed of 120 km/h”
At the same time, the number of braking zones is specified by the FIA for each track. The prescribed 58-liter fuel tank capacity of the hybrid vehicle is two liters less than that of the conventional car. Last but not least, the amount of energy that may be recuperated between two braking zones is limited to 500 kJ. “The FIA defines these intervention options for itself in order to create a balance between the hybrid vehicles and the conventional models. The effects vary from track to track and are difficult for us to judge at this point in time,” says Dr. Ullrich.
Dr. Ullrich’s conviction that this has been the right step outweighs these imponderables, though. There is even a bit of nostalgia involved. “I’m really happy that we managed to bring quattro back into motorsport. It was the system I started my first hours in the Super Touring Car project at Audi Sport with,” explains the head of motorsport. “Audi proved back then that all-wheel drive offers an advantage on any track in any weather even with low engine output, just like our customers can experience it on the road every day as well. It’s nice that we’re bringing a form of quattro back into motorsport even though, to put it in jest, we’re only allowed to compete with ‘part-time’ quattro at the moment.”
- With a podium finish Martin Tomczyk celebrates his first DTM title
- Mattias Ekström remains undefeated at Valencia
- Filipe Albuquerque with first podium result
Triumph at Valencia: With a 1-2-3-4-5-6 result and an early title win Audi managed to crown its 2011 DTM season. Mattias Ekström celebrated his third victory of the season, Filipe Albuquerque, as the runner-up, his first podium finish and Martin Tomczyk in third place is the new DTM Champion.
Third place was sufficient for Martin Tomczyk to be determined as the early title winner. With a 13-point advantage over his title rival, Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz), the Bavarian managed a special feat: For the first time he won the coveted DTM trophy, for the first time Audi Sport Team Phoenix achieved this with a year-old car, and it has been seven years that an Audi driver was determined as the champion even before the finale. In 2004, Mattias Ekström, who now celebrated overall victory at Valencia, had last secured an early title win. Tomczyk had managed a perfect recovery after having started from position ten on the grid. As early as on lap one he was on position six, and in third place after his second stop.
“I extend warm congratulations to Martin Tomczyk, his team and the entire Audi squad on this outstanding achievement. The fans experience captivating duels at the highest sporting level and in Martin an absolutely deserving champion of the 2011 season,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “After the triumph at the Le Mans 24 Hours and numerous other victories this title is already crowning a successful Audi motorsport year now.” His fellow board member Michael Dick, who is responsible for Technical Development, also congratulated the new champion: “’Well done’ to Martin Tomczyk, who has driven an outstanding season and always proved to be a fair and tremendous sportsman both on and off the track. At the same time, the fifth DTM title of the Audi A4 DTM since its debut in the 2004 season is a fantastic farewell gift. The development of our new Audi A5 DTM for the next season is concurrently in full swing. At Audi, we’re working on this car to follow in the successful footsteps of its predecessor with all our passion.”
The driver who definitely dominated the racing action in Spain was Mattias Ekström. The two-time champion led the field on 38 of the 45 laps. After the successes at the Nürburgring and Oschersleben the Swede from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline celebrated his third race victory within four races. Behind him, Filipe Albuquerque complemented what was a perfect weekend for him. The DTM rookie from Portugal had started from position two, defended his place up to seeing the checkered flag, and thus gave himself and Audi Sport Team Rosberg the best result of the season. He finished 15.847 seconds ahead of Martin Tomczyk.
Subject to an appeal which two Mercedes-Benz teams have filed against the disqualification of their drivers, three other Audi racers finished in the subsequent places at Valencia. Timo Scheider, who managed setting the fastest lap, achieved fourth place in front of his Abt team-mates Miguel Molina and Oliver Jarvis. Mike Rockenfeller took ninth place, Rahel Frey 14th. Edoardo Mortara retired in the pits three laps before the end of the race due to a handling problem.
“This has been a fantastic day for Audi,” said a pleased Dr. Martin Mühlmeier, the Technical Director of Audi Sport. “Six Audi A4 DTM cars on the top six positions, Mattias Ekström has shown another top-class performance, Martin Tomczyk has clinched the title with a tremendous recovery on his own power, and Filipe Albuquerque has achieved his first podium result. We’re overjoyed.”
From the United States Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, who was on location at the ILMC race at Road Atlanta, sent his congratulations as well: “Absolutely well done, I’m tremendously happy for Martin. He has been a member of our Audi family in the DTM for eleven years and has experienced many ups and – no doubt – downs. But he has never lost his spirit and has emerged as a leader, particularly in this season. Now he has rewarded himself and his team for the hard work and the fighting spirit with the title. We’ve always known that Martin is a strong racer and a great guy – now he’s also a true champion.”
The Audi R8 Spyder won the MotorWeek 2011 Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Dream Machine. In its 30th year, the annual MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards look at vehicles from a buyer’s point of view to judge the best new cars and trucks of the year.
As a winner of a 2011 MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Award, the Audi R8 Spyder will be featured in an upcoming episode of MotorWeek, currently scheduled to air on Feb. 12 (check local listings) on PBS and on Discovery’s HD Theater, Feb. 22.
The MotorWeek award adds to a long list of international consumer and media honors bestowed on the high-performance Audi R8 lineup. The R8 5.2 FSI quattro is the reigning World Performance Car of the Year, for just one example.
The same designers who created the Le Mans-winning prototypes also designed the R8 Spyder. From its wide stance, to its powerful wheels to the artful integration of exclusive materials like carbon fiber, the R8 Spyder is as unmistakable parked as it is in motion.
At the heart of the R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro is the soul stirring 525 hp 5.2 FSI V10 engine. Displayed under a transparent panel and nestled within a Carbon Fiber Sigma engine bay, the V10 screams to an astronomical 8700 rpm and propels the R8 Spyder 5.2 to 60 mph in only 3.7 seconds on the way up to a top track speed of 196.4 mph. As part of a race-bred mid-engine design that contributes to superb handling dynamics, the 5.2 V10 produces 101hp/liter and features race winning technology such as FSI direct injection and a dry sump lubrication system that assures engine lubrication under the most demanding driving situations. It is no wonder then, that this same engine is used in the R8 LMS GT3 race car
Although the R8 Spyder 5.2 is a convertible, it’s still very much designed for speed. In fact, the specially designed Acoustic top incorporates three-layers of insulation comparable to a traditional hard top. This means the R8 Spyder 5.2 is capable of reaching the 195 MPH top speed without hesitation. In addition, the top is capable of retracting in 19 seconds at speeds up to 31 MPH. To learn more, please visit http://models.audiusa.com/r8-spyder.
Audi of America, Inc. and its 276 U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. During 2009 Audi outsold all other luxury brands in Europe, while in the U.S. market Audi posted the largest market share gain of any luxury automotive brand. Over the next few years, AUDI AG expects to spend nearly $2 billion annually on new products and technology. Visit http://www.audiusa.com or http://www.audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.