Williams Hybrid Power – The System Behind The Le Mans Hybrid Victory

by Vince Pettit

As Audi took dominating victory at Le Mans last weekend in the 2012 running of the 24 hour race history was made as the first hybrid car to take the top positions at Circuit de la Sarthe.

The hybrid technology behind the win was produced by Williams Hybrid Power –  a company set up by the Williams F1 team to develop the technology behind their first KERS system.

Ian Foley, Managing Director of Williams Hybrid Power commented, “Our flywheel technology started its life as a motorsport application and whilst it's since been adapted for a variety of other purposes, motorsport will always be close to our heart and is the ultimate proving ground for our technology.”

WHP designed and developed a brand new ultra-lightweight electric flywheel for the slick looking Audi R18 e-tron Quattro with key features and benefits styled to suit endurance racing.

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport talked of how important the latest developments are in the endurance racing scene, “This is no doubt a historic victory for Audi. We were the first to win Le Mans with a direct-injection turbo gasoline engine and the first to be successful with a diesel engine.

“It's a great result that Audi is now the first brand to have achieved victory with a hybrid vehicle – and right on the first run, as before with the two other technologies, and – what's more – with both R18 e-tron quattro cars on the two top spots.”

Foley added “Because of Audi's pedigree at Le Mans there was pressure to get this project right, and to see our technology play a role in this historic triumph is immensely satisfying.

“Hopefully we have shown that innovative hybrid systems not only help the environment, but give a race car a fundamental performance boost in terms of power injection and fuel saving.”

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