Audi has unveiled the revised R15 TDi that it hopes will regain the Le Mans 24 Hours crown from Peugeot this year.
The German manufacturer was forced to remodel the car's front aerodynamics following a protest from Peugeot and a change of regulations for 2010 by Le Mans' organizer, the ACO. The split-nosed "R15 plus," as Audi is calling it, has also undergone modifications to the cooling system and fuel tank, while the engine has had to be tweaked to conform with the reduced air restrictor and supercharger pressure in the new rules.
"As a result of the regulations we have tried to make the car's aerodynamics even more efficient than before," said Audi Sport head of technology Martin Muhlmeier. "After Le Mans 2009, our specifications for the R15 plus listed about 20 key items. Efficiency and reliability were at the top of the list, but we also looked at details like improved night time lighting of the track. We were able to meet this wish of the drivers with a new headlight concept."
The new R15 was shaken down for the first time at the Neustadt test track in Germany on March 3 and has since been flown to the USA for two weeks of testing, beginning at Sebring. Audi plans to conduct further testing of the car in Europe and will also enter the Le Mans Series rounds at Paul Ricard and Spa, ahead of the 24 Hours in June.