Car of the Week: Audi R18 [w/ mega-gallery]

In celebration of Audi’s phenomenal victory at Le Mans last Sunday, our Car of the Week is the Audi R18.

Introduced to the public on December 9th, 2010, the R18 is Audi’s first closed-cockpit Le Mans car since the rather disastrous introduction of the Audi R8C in 1999 (shown below), where neither of the two entries managed to finish the race.

On paper, the R18 is a downgrade from the outgoing open-cockpit R15 plus. While the gearbox gets an extra gear, instead of the 5.5L V10 that was on the R15, the R18 has to make due with a 3.7 liter V6. It’s a good thing that the rumours floating around of a 4-cylinder racer never came to fruition. Despite this, Audi seems to have played its cards on the aerodynamic improvements and fuel efficiency with the new closed-cockpit body style. This strategy is what has helped them with their diesel-powered racers.

There you have it, our Car of the Week. Less powerful than its predecessor and with a design even Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich, head of Audi Sport, wasn’t very pleased about. But after such an amazing performance at Le Mans, it undoubtedly deserves to be honoured. So take a moment of your time to get a closer look at the winning #2 R18 in the mega-gallery below.

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