2012 Audi R18 e-Tron quattro #1 Pilots: B. Treluyer, A. Lotterer, M. Fässler Team: Audi Sport / Joest Racing Race: 1st overall (LMP1 class) at Le Mans in 2012 Ixo - LM 2012 (diecast)
Audi introduced the R18 in 2011. The evolution of the winning R15 TDI+, like its predecessor, the R18 was a success. In fact, at Le Mans in 2011, R18 TDI #2 came in first. Since 2006, Audi was in a winning streak with their turbo-diesel engines. Therefore, rules would change (just ACO being ACO). For this reason, for the 2012 Le Mans race there would be an increase to the air intake restrictor size. And in addition to that, fuel tank capacity would now be only 60 liters. That translated to less power and more fuel stops. Conversely, the new rules also stimulated the use of hybrid power systems. And that’s the route Audi took. But, to increase their chances, they developed simultaneously two cars. The diesel R18 ultra and the hybrid R18 e-Tron quattro. The e-Tron quattro was the first hybrid car introduced to FIA’s World Endurance Championship.
The 2012 R18 had the same diesel engine as its 2011 predecessor. So it sported the same TDI V6 with 3700 cm³ of displacement, DOHC and 24 valves. But the big news was the added electric motors. It had two small electric motors that on demand delivered about 100 hp to the front wheels. With that, the R18 e-Tron quattro became an all-wheel drive car for a few moments. The power for these motors came from an electric flywheel, charged when the car braked. So with all that extra equipment, the new car had to be lighter. And Audi achieved that with a new chassis, a carbon fiber composite and aluminum honeycomb monocoque. In spite of the extra motors, the e-Tron quattro was less powerful than the 2011 R18. With the bigger air restrictors, overall power was down from 540 to 510 hp.
Though a big step from the diesel car, the new hybrid delivered accordingly. At the 2012 Le Mans race car #1 came in first place overall. That was Audi’s 11th win at La Sarthe. An impressive feat, since the manufacturer won all races since 2000 with the exception of 2003 and 2009. And just like the real deal, in scale the model is a winner. I was curious to see how an Ixo would compare to a Spark, and it’s a fair fight. Ixo does a very nice job, and being honest, it’s “good enough” for me. I’m always moaning about the boring Audi/Porsche/Toyota LMP1 liveries, and here’s another example. Being blunt, I really can’t see why to pay Spark-money for this car. The Spark version is just as boring, and Ixo makes a FINE model. So honestly? Save the big bucks for a more unique model.