The Head of Engineering at Audi Sport about the victorious premiere of the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro at the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season opener at Silverstone.
You probably couldn’t have imagined a better start in your new role at Audi Sport …
You’re absolutely right! The start was near-perfect. Everyone can only congratulate themselves on this season opener – at Audi Sport, as well as everyone in the WEC in general. That the three manufacturers fought such a close battle with each other is simply fantastic. For us of course, it is particularly important that we found the car to work as well as it did. This, by the way, applies to the Michelin tires as well. Plus, the team and the drivers did a tremendous job in this exciting race.
Isn’t it amazing that three manufacturers continue to develop their cars, making huge strides in the process, but ultimately the lap times are so close together again?
This shows the extremely high level of the work being performed. The cars have become clearly faster compared with last year – nearly 3.5 seconds in race trim. This is phenomenal and demonstrates the development work that has been accomplished. That the three different concepts produce lap times that are within tenths of a second speaks for the regulations. For the series and the spectators, this is simply fantastic. At Silverstone, we had suspense for six hours at an extremely high level and an absolute heartbeat finale. I don’t think I was the only one who was thrilled by this …
The new Audi R18 e-tron quattro made an outstanding impression on track.
The development team of Audi Sport in Neuburg and Neckarsulm really did a tremendous job. Before Silverstone, there were still a few minor details we had to adjust but in the race the car was running superbly.
Where do you see the strengths of the new R18 compared to your competitors?
At Silverstone, it was obvious that we had an advantage in the challenging cornering sections, while the Porsche with the larger hybrid system did on the straights. These differences, however, were equalized on a whole lap and this makes the WEC so thrilling. The crucial aspect was that our drivers were able to achieve an advantage in the cornering sections that enabled them to defend their position on the following straight.
Silverstone was only the first step. Le Mans is the big aim again this year. There is probably still a lot of work to be done until then?
Yes there is. We’re moving right along. Testing the car that is conceptually modified for Le Mans is on the agenda, as well as the normal endurance tests. At Silverstone, the car was running for the six hours nearly without any problems. In addition to suspension set-ups, the systems now have to be tested for the endurance run at Le Mans.
Further information about the official fuel consumption figures and official, specific CO2 emissions of new passenger cars can be found in the “Guide to fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and electricity consumption of new cars,” which is available free of charge from all sales outlets and from DAT (Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH), Hellmuth-Hirth-Strasse 1, 73760 Ostfildern-Scharnhausen, Germany (http://www.dat.de).