Audi hybrid clinches Le Mans win

Audi has made history at Le Mans 2012 – a grueling 24-hour race – claiming a win in the LMP1 sports car class.

The auto manufacturer fielded four different R18 cars, and the win marks its 11th victory in total. Audi says that its four R18 cars proved to be the quickest and most reliable and finished in positions one, two, three, and five.

“By achieving this further success at the world’s most important endurance race our engineers demonstrated their high technological expertise in a particularly impressive way,” commented Audi exec Rupert Stadle.

“With the e-tron quattro in combination with ultra lightweight design, we put a completely new technology on the grid and immediately won with it – this cannot be taken for granted by any means, particularly here at Le Mans. This weekend again showed the type of things that can happen in this race and how important perfect preparation is.”

The R18 e-tron quattro isn’t a traditional hybrid vehicle as you would see on the streets. Rather, the car boasts a design that meets specifications for racing with an independent hybrid system which powers the front wheels of the car on an “as needed” basis. The hybrid system uses a flywheel accumulator and accumulates energy during braking. The accumulated energy captured by the flywheel is released to the front wheels at speeds above 120 km/h after being captured in specified braking zones.