The Le Mans series is one of the best efforts in motorsport any automotive company can undertake.
Because of the endurance situations engineering is stressed to the maximum but because of the racing environment performance is equally as important.
With this in mind it’s almost impossible not to get excited when you hear a rumor of such importance as this is. Basically, what we’ve heard is that Audi could be retiring their very successful R15 prototype and switching over to an R18 model.
What’s particularly interesting about the rumored Audi R18 is the fact that it will be a closed cockpit model, something the Ingolstadt racers haven’t been using before.
There are some advantages to a closed cockpit model and just one disadvantage. First of all, you get better aerodynamics which in an endurance race that has a focus on efficiency makes a very big difference.
Secondly, you will get improved safety as the driver is far less exposed to potential hazards that may be hurled at him during a race.
Thirdly, driver fatigue is greatly reduced because a closed cockpit protects him from the elements so he doesn’t have to cope with weather conditions and so on, he can just carry on with the racing.
The only disadvantage would be a bump in weight but my guess is that Audi will more than make up for it with other performance aspects of the car.
The best bit of news regarding this rumor is the fact that we’re told the Audi R18 could be ready to be unveiled as soon as December 10. That’s right, we could hear confirmation of this as soon as tomorrow.