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Audi Shows Off R18 e-tron quattro’s Ultra-Lightweight Tech

Lightweight cars aren’t just good for better gas mileage: they’re also faster. Audi’s race technology has been well-known to flow toward its production cars, but the level of devotion to lightweight construction shown with the latest R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans racer isn’t likely to make the crossover any time soon.

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.

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Audi Shows Off R18 e-tron quattro’s Ultra-Lightweight Tech
Lightweight cars aren’t just good for better gas mileage: they’re also faster. Audi’s race technology has been well-known to flow toward its production cars, but the level of devotion to lightweight c…