The new R18 e-tron quattro had to shed even more weight than the already light R18 ultra due to the addition of the hybrid drive system. To do so, the design of the Motor Generator Unit (MGU) integrates two electric motors, two planetary transmissions and two converters--essentially the meat of the hybrid drive system--into a single compact package.
Perhaps even more impressive, however, is the carbon fiber transmission housing, a first in a Le Mans Prototype. The system is seen in formula cars, but in the R18 Le Mans prototype, the load borne by the structural transmission is much higher--about 1,880 pounds--and has to last through 24-hour races that cover thousands of miles. Even the torque generated by the R18 e-tron quattro exceeds the torque of an F1 engine, putting that much more stress on the lightweight design.
Alan McNish crashes his Audi R18 at Le MansEnlarge Photo
Check out the photos, and visit our writeup on the R18 e-tron quattro for more details on the race car. And if you can, be sure to catch the car's racing debut this weekend at the WEC 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps.