Prototype racers are on another level. The technology and engineering that goes into these machines is simply baffling, making them not only unbelievably fast, but incredibly reliable as well. These aren’t some point-and-squirt drag racers that need a complete engine overhaul every 1,320 feet. Don’t get me wrong – I have massive respect for Top Fuel cars, but compared to an endurance prototype, you could call them a little… delicate. After all, competitors in the top class of the World Endurance Championship are expected to run at 200 mph for hours on end, all while dodging traffic through variable track conditions. Audi knows all about that kind of action, as evidenced by its dominating performance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in which the Four Rings has collected a record-setting 13 wins in the past 17 years. But now, Audi has decided to exit the WEC to instead focus on Formula E, leaving us with this – the R18 LMP1. Drivetribe recently had a go behind the wheel, and documented the experience with this 8-minute, 11-second video.
After a little history and background, Drivetribe’s Jethro Bovingdon gives us a break down of the specs, from the diesel hybrid powerplant and AWD system, to the materials and suspension under the skin. Bovingdon then straps into the fighter jet-like cockpit, fires it up, and puts it around Audi’s test track in Neuburg, Germany.
Understandably, Bovingdon doesn’t go 10/10’s, but getting an insider’s perspective and hearing about the experience is a treat nonetheless. “Even on a freezing day on treaded tires, it beats a GT3 car on slicks for braking and cornering, and accelerates in the lower gears like a P1 GTR running nitrous,” Bovingdon explains enthusiastically. “It’s simply the purest, most exciting driving experience I’ve ever had.”