Four Audi R18 will line up this June for the 80th 24 Hours of Le Mans with the two lead cars equipped with hybrid technology for the first time.
In the official entry lists for both the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship and the French endurance race the hybrid machines, numbered no.1 and no.2 were listed with lead drivers Andre Lotterer and Allan McNish respectively. Only the lead driver needs to be nominated at this stage, with the remainder of the driver line-up unconfirmed.
“To develop the hybrid technology for Le Mans is at least as ambitious and challenging as our diesel project was in its early stages,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “The first test results are very encouraging and we are intrigued to see just how this technology performs in combination with our ultra lightweight technology on the race track at Le Mans. As before, we still, however, see potential with the conventional drive – just as our colleagues do in production development.”
The two hybrid hours, will be joined by two works-backed Toyota hybrid entries in the LMP1 class.
Furthermore both hybrid R18 are entered to contest the full World Endurance Championship season, beginning with 12 Hours of Sebring in March. The Audi entry will grow to three for selected WEC events with a ‘conventional’ R18 TDi with lead driver Timo Bernhard. Audi Motorsport have names Sebring and the 6 hour race at Spa-Francorchamps in May, which will again serve as the dress-rehearsal for Le Mans a month later, as outings for the third car.
A fourth 'conventional' Audi will make a one-off appearance for Le Mans with Briton Oliver Jarvis nominated as lead driver. Jarvis has driven for Audi for the past four seasons in the DTM championship and will be making his second 24 Hours of Le Mans start after driving an Audi R10 TDi for Colin Kolles' team in 2010 alongside Christijan Albers and the late Christian Bakkerud.