The successor of the successful Audi R18, which for a long time was a reference in the World Endurance, is taking shape. The thing is Audi will return at 24 Hours of Le Mans already racing prototypes with a electrified vehicle in 2023.
"The new LMDh category fits perfectly with the renewed structure of our competition department", he claimed Julius SeebachDirector of Audi Sport. “These regulations will allow us to participate in the most prestigious races in the world with fascinating vehicles. In addition, we will use the synergies within the Volkswagen Group ”, He added.
The successor to the Audi R18 is being built in cooperation with Porsche. "One of the great strengths of the Volkswagen Group is the collaboration between brands in the development of street cars"explains Seebach. “Now we are transferring this successful strategy to competition. However, the new prototype will be an Audi as authentic as the recently introduced RS e-tron GT, which has used a shared platform with Porsche. "
The prototype for the new category LMDh is currently being developed at Audi Sport, in parallel with the innovative SUV designed to compete in the Dakar rally. “Of course, the raid team is under greater pressure, as there are less than eight months left until our first participation in the Dakar Rally in 2022”, assured Andreas Ross, responsible for all official racing programs at Audi Sport. “But we also want to be perfectly prepared for our return to Le Mans. That is why we work in parallel on both projects with the highest priority ”.
The regulations, which have been created to achieve maximum cost efficiency, also allow the new Audi racing concept to be of interest to customer teams. "With the LMDh project, we continue with the philosophy of our first years competing with prototypes"Andreas Ross notes.
“The Audi R8 was not only the most successful racing car of its time, between 2000 and 2006, with 63 victories in 80 tests; It also achieved numerous successes in the hands of our clients, being very easy for them to manage. This is also the premise with the electrification of the new prototype. Our goal is to put it in the hands of professional client teams from the start, who will compete on the track alongside our factory cars. We are evaluating internally how we will do it ”.
In the meantime, all decisions regarding the concept of the new prototype have been made. "We have a partner for the chassis and we have decided on the powertrain. Together with our colleagues from Audi Design, we are defining a design that will thrill our fans ”, adds Roos. "Our goal is for the first prototype to be built by the beginning of next year, and to complete its first laps in the first quarter."
Subsequently, you will face a intense testing program throughout 2022. While the first race you will participate in will be the 24 Hours of Daytona of 2023.