The Audi R18 e-tron Quattro is a magnificent piece of automotive machinery. With a near limitless budget the German automaker has created perhaps the most advanced racecar to ever grace a track. It features a diesel powerplant that sends power to the rear wheels, and an electric hybrid system that send power to the front wheels, effectively making it an all-wheel drive racecar. But why are the advancements derived from this vehicle so important? This German Audi ad highlights why in abstract fashion.
The 45-second TV spot depicts the R18 being used for rather mundane tasks like picking the kids up from school and other errands. Check it out below:
The symbolism is quite obvious- Audi wishes to make the connection between its racing program and its road cars. It has been said that “racing improves the breed,” and an endurance Le Mans racer like the R18 puts an emphasis on two things (almost over speed): reliability and efficiency. Winning a race that lasts 24 hours requires cars to not break down, while being driven to their limit- and it also requires minimizing fueling stops. Diesel engines use less fuel than their gasoline counterparts, and when combined with Audi’s innovative flywheel hybrid system, is quite efficient.
This system is quite complicated, with a great deal of more moving parts than a conventional powertrain. As Audi’s road cars start to embrace alternative fuels, it is important that these systems maintain the reliability enjoyed by more conventional systems. The place you test that is on the racetrack.
While racing series like NASCAR evolve at a much slower rate (only receiving fuel injection in Sprint Cup THIS year), the advancements in Le Mans racing is constant, and pushes the envelope for what we can imagine under the hood of a car in the future. Le Mans racing prides itself on the connection between its cars and developments in road cars. When it comes to those developments, Audi and others are at the forefront, and understanding that connection reveals the importance of a car like the R18.