Talk about topical. Earlier today we pondered how long it would be before Audi’s dominating diesel race cars ran off a more earth-friendly fuel. The answer is: Two weeks. That’s right, the essentially almighty 650+ hp monsters that have won the last two Le Mans races will be running on diesel partially derived from Biowaste. The R10 has been running on GTL (Gas to Liquids) fuel made from natural gas. GTL is then mixed with BTL (Biomass to Liquids) brewed from food waste not fit for consumption. Audi claims that both fuels are “practically Sulphur free and odourless [sic].” Not only do we find this very cool pretty damn green, but we’ll be live at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (June 14-15) to provide you with all sorts of Fiendish coverage. And yes, we still think the R10 is the best looking prototype race car, like, ever. Mega-long Audi press release after the jump.
Audi R10 TDI race car uses Biofuel of the next generation for the first time
Ingolstadt – World premiere in motorsport: At the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours on 14/15 June, the three Audi R10 TDI prototypes entered by Audi Sport Team Joest will race for the first time with the next generation of Biofuel manufactured from Biowaste and promising a reduction in the emission of CO2 by almost 90 per cent when compared with traditional diesel.
Audi fields the 650-hp plus R10 TDI, which has already won the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans twice, in sportscar races since 2006. Shell V-Power Diesel race fuel produced by development partner Shell has been used since the very beginning. It’s a particularly powerful and efficient synthetic fuel which is created from Natural Gas in a process called Gas To Liquids (GTL). Fuels with these components are already available at the pumps.
For the third appearance of the Audi R10 TDI at Le Mans, a small amount of Biofuel of the next generation is mixed for the first time with the previously well-proven GTL components: BTL (Biomass To Liquids), as it is officially called, is extracted from Biowaste that is unfit for use in foodstuffs, for example from waste wood. BTL promises a reduction in the amount of CO2 emission by almost 90 per cent compared to traditional diesel.
Although they are manufactured from different raw materials, the two alternative fuels BTL and GTL are practically Sulphur free and odourless. They combine quality and efficient combustion with reduced exhaust emissions.
“Audi voiced its support early for the use of next generation Biofuels at Le Mans,” explains Michael Dick, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG with responsibility for Technical Development. “It underlines our philosophy that we view Le Mans as a tough test field for new technologies which will be available at a later date in production cars for our customers. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) provides the opportunity to use alternative drive concepts and fuels, which we exploit to the full.”
The V12 TDI known for its efficiency and fitted to the Audi R10 TDI has already been tested successfully with the new fuel on the dynamometer and during tests. The first public appearance took place on Sunday, June 1 at the official test day at Le Mans. It traditionally provides teams with the only opportunity to test on the 13.629-kilometre circuit of Le Mans before the race.
To obtain images of the R10 TDI race car, please visit media.audiusa.com, click on “photos” tab, then “motorsports” on left navigation.
To obtain images of the Audi Q7, please visit media.audiusa.com, click on “photos” tab, then “current models” on left navigation.
About Audi TDI Power
Audi, the inventor of TDI, is preparing to launch a diesel offensive in the North American market. The brand with the four rings will introduce the world’s cleanest diesel to the U.S. market in early 2009, almost simultaneous with its introduction in Europe. The 3.0 TDI with its ultra low emission system, which fulfills the world’s most stringent emission standards, will first be offered in the Audi Q7.
The ultra low emission system ensures that the engine conforms with the limits included in the LEV II Bin 5 standards that apply in all 50 U.S. states. Engine features optimize the combustion process along with engine emissions, while a cleaning system reduces nitrogen oxide exhaust emissions by up to 90%.
The TDI engine features the most successful efficiency technology in the world. Audi began regular production of the engine 19 years ago and since then has continued to extend its technological advantage. Audi has now sold more than 4.5 million cars with TDI engines. The carmaker has also experienced a steady course of growth over the past several years in North America, where the company sees major market potential for its highly modern TDI engines. The low sulfur fuel that powers the engine was introduced nationwide in 2006 – opening up the opportunity for the offensive to begin.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the United States could conserve more than 500 million barrels of crude oil per year if just one third of all passenger cars and light commercial vehicles were equipped with modern diesel engines. Leading market research companies such as JD Power predict a share of the U.S. market of between 12 and 15 percent for diesel engines – a large increase when compared with the current share of sales of about 4 percent.
Audi is very well equipped to carry out its offensive. The brand with the four rings has a wide range of highly modern TDI engines at its command. They combine muscular power with astonishingly low consumption levels – easily knocking gasoline engines with comparable capacities out of the competition. TDI engines from Audi represent a modern, intelligent type of sportiness and efficiency.
3.0 TDI Summary for the United States
A vigorous powerhouse of an engine pulsates under the hood of the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI. With a displacement of three liters, the V6 generates an impressive 221 hp and a torque 406 lb/ft. This maximum level of tractive force is available at 1,750 to 2,750 rpm – providing the driver with a vigorous power surge in all ranges.
The four valve engine is extremely compact – measuring only 440 millimeters (17.3 inches) in length. The cylinder housing that features a 90 degree cylinder angle is constructed from high strength vermicular graphite cast iron, which is 15 percent lighter in weight than conventional cast iron. Despite its unsurpassed strength, the powerful TDI weighs a mere 226 kilograms (498.2 pounds). Its auxiliaries and camshafts are driven by maintenance free chains that run in a space saving position in back of the engine. Low friction roller cam followers with hydraulic valve clearance compensation work in the cylinder head. Quickstart heater plugs are adapted to extremely cold temperatures – they heat up to more than 1,800° Fahrenheit within the space of two seconds.
Common rail system for quiet running
Mixture preparation is performed by the newest generation of common rail systems. It features a high pressure pump and an injection rail for each cylinder bank. A high injection pressure of up to 2,000 bar (29,001 psi) – which equals the weight of a SUV within an area the size of a fingernail – permits an even finer atomization of the fuel, which provides better mixture preparation and more efficient combustion.
The injectors in the common rail system employ the piezo effect, in which an electric voltage is applied to a special ceramic, altering its crystal structures. This results in a certain amount of expansion, which is transferred directly to the injectors.
Multiple injection events per cycle
With piezo injectors, the number of injection processes per cycle can be varied and optimized almost at will. The Audi TDI development engineers have opted for up to five injection processes for the 3.0 V6. In the lower speed range, additional double pilot injection occurs in addition to the main injection process; in the medium range there’s single pilot injection. Simple post injection occurs up to around 2,500 rpm and under partial load. This strategy reduces emissions and ensures a smoother combustion process, which primarily benefits the engine’s acoustic behavior. The 3.0 TDI produces a quiet, cultivated and harmonious sound.
The V6 TDI features a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry on board. Its vanes are guided by an electric servo motor – this improves propulsive power at low rpms. Two large intercoolers reduce the temperature of the compressed air in order to increase the overall efficiency.
The range: over 600 miles
The Audi Q7 3.0 TDI delivers powerful driving performance: the speedometer needle takes just 8.4 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph. The V6 diesel delivers 25 miles per gallon – providing a fuel range of more than 600 miles from a full tank that holds 26 gallons of fuel.
Total convenience for Audi customers
The AdBlue container is filled via the fuel tank flap, just like the fuel tank. Its reservoir is divided into two containers – the active and the passive tank. The biodegradable AdBlue solution is refilled at the workshop at each service appointment, without requiring the customer to concern himself. Because of its low consumption, Audi ensures that the supply is sufficient to cover service intervals. The efficiency of the system is ensured throughout the lifecycle of the vehicle.
Thanks to its extremely low emissions, Audi can deploy its clean diesel direct injection system worldwide, even in the U.S. states of California, Massachusetts, Maine, New York and Vermont, which have extremely stringent emission limits. Starting in 2010, the brand with the four rings will offer the new technology in additional vehicle and performance classes.
Audi TDI – at the top for the past two decades
Audi is the pioneer in turbocharged diesel engines with direct injection – since 1989 the company has built and sold more than 4.5 million cars with TDI engines. From the very start, the initials TDI began to develop into a synonym for superior propulsive power and a maximum efficiency; the technology has advanced to become a trend setter for the entire automotive industry.
No other drive system has yet been able to beat the turbocharged diesel direct injection engine when it comes to power combined with low consumption. When driven by consumers, consumption by TDI cars is up to 35 percent lower than comparable cars equipped with the gasoline engines typical in North America.
The engine that Audi presented in late summer of 1989 at the Frankfurt motor show: The five cylinder turbodiesel, installed in the Audi 100, featured 2.5 liters of displacement for 120 hp and 195 lb/ft of torque. It was the world’s first diesel passenger car with direct injection and fully electronic engine management – the first TDI. With its brawny power, the five cylinder engine, that went into regular production in what was then the fourth generation of new Audi 100s, set a new standard in the diesel sector. Since then, Audi has extended this technological advantage with continuous, new phases of development.
The TDI – the superior principle
The TDI engines from Audi are superior engines that feature commanding performance and dynamic power. The 221 hp of the three liter TDI that powers various Audi models, for example, provides about 80 hp of output per liter of displacement – a level that just a few years ago was reserved for the sports car segment. Thanks to their extremely low consumption levels and their proliferation, especially in Europe, TDI engines have become the most successful efficiency technology in the world. When driven under realistic, mixed driving conditions, TDI cars generally also beat comparable models with hybrid drives.
TDI engines feature high propulsive power
The greatest strength of all Audi diesel engines is their tremendous torque. Their propulsive power makes these diesel engines clearly superior to any comparable gasoline engine. This mighty power is also available at extremely low revs – just a little over idle speed – as a smooth but insistently applied impulse that requires only the slightest pressure on the accelerator.
In sharp contrast to many stressed, high revving gasoline engines, the propulsive power is always available when it’s needed – and this contributes to a highly composed, relaxed style of driving. In the style of the classic American small block, the three liter V6 produces 406 lb/ft of torque at the crankshaft, which is available at just 1,750 rpm. The diesel engine produces 137 lb/ft per liter of displacement – a level that far surpasses that of the gasoline engine.
TDI engines are efficient and economical
Diesel engines make more efficient use of the energy in their fuels than do gasoline engines. This fundamental principle of physics has been refined through many solutions that Audi has played a major role in developing – including the four-valve technology that ensures optimum filling of cylinders in every situation and the principle of variable vane geometry for turbochargers.
The outstanding efficiency of Audi’s TDI engines benefits the driver of a Q7 3.0 TDI both when it comes to saving money and when it comes to covering long distances: with its 26 gallon tank, the car can cover more than 600 miles on a single fill up – saving the cost, time and annoyance of extra stops at the filling station.
TDI engines are quiet and comfortable
The modern direct injection diesel engines from Audi are hardly perceptible to the ears of their passengers – their operation is virtually indistinguishable from that of a gasoline engine. This is thanks in part to the extensive development efforts of Audi’s engineers. Selective ribbing on the engine blocks inhibits vibrations during operation; all pathways on the engine mounts and car body that could transmit vibrations to the interior have been eliminated.
The common rail technology is the source of another major advance. With it, the multiple injections per cycle capability can generally be freely selected in the control unit. The pilot injections, which are widely spaced from the main injection, provide a gradual increase in pressure that makes the combustion process smoother. The innovative piezo injectors used by Audi further reinforce this effect with their extremely fast and precise switching – with these injectors, the hard “knocking” and metallic rattling at partial load is history.
The TDI – perennial winner in motor sports
At the beginning, the drivers couldn’t believe their ears – long time professionals like Frank Biela (Germany) and Tom Kristensen (Denmark) had to completely change their driving habits. Up to then, they had acclimatized themselves to the engine noise in their open sports cars – and now, from a certain speed onward, it could no longer be heard. That’s how quietly the V12 TDI runs in the new Audi R10.
With the 12 cylinder diesel, Audi had written a completely new chapter in the history of motor sports. The 5.5 liter TDI, which was created according to the rules applied at the Le Mans 24 hour race, is a superior racing engine. Its torque – at more than 800 lb/ft. – is vastly superior to any gasoline engine. At the engine’s rated speed it puts out more than 650 hp – enough for a top speed of over 200 mph, depending on transmission.
The V12 TDI’s low fuel consumption is another strength. Compared to its predecessors – the already highly efficient R8 with gasoline direct injection, the R10 in Le Mans consumed about 10 percent less fuel, although the long, straight stretches along the Sarthe and 75 percent full load operation only partially showcased the advantages of the diesel engine.
Fewer fill ups equal victory
The long fuel range, which means fewer stops for refueling, was the key to victory at the classic 24 hour race. Biela and teammates Emanuele Pirro (Italy) and Marco Werner (Germany) only had to refuel their No. 8 car 27 times during the race. They completed 380 laps – or 2,003 miles – at an average speed of 133.9 mph.
Fresh from their victory at Le Mans, Audi then went on to the American Le Mans series and achieved something no carmaker had previously done – the R10 won all eight races it entered during the course of the season. The string of victories stretched throughout the United States. It began in March with the 12 hour race in Sebring, Florida, and ended in October in Laguna Seca, California. Allan McNish (Scotland) and Dindo Capello (Italy) were declared overall winners in the big LMP1 category long before the season ended.
The 2006 Race Engine of the Year
A jury from the British trade magazine, “Race Engine Technology,” selected the V12 TDI from the Audi R10 as the “2006 Race Engine of the Year” and the “Alternative Race Engine of the Year”. For its design engineer, Ulrich Baretzky, Audi Sport’s Head of Engine Technology, and Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport, it stands as the perfect example of close cooperation between motor sports and regular production.
“We were able to rely on the know how and the engine test rigs of our colleagues from series production development,” Ullrich said. At the same time, the exchange of information also functioned in the opposite direction. Technical highlights such as the aluminum crankcase that can cope with extremely high ignition pressures lend important new impetus to production development.
Audi had carried out comparable technology transfer processes as far back as the late 1980s. At that time the touring cars from Ingolstadt – with their gasoline turbo engines that at times reached more than 700 hp – dominated the TransAm and the IMSA races. As was true 20 years ago, today’s motor sports continue to provide crucial advances to the development of high volume production cars.
New victories in Le Mans and in the ALMS series
Biela, Pirro and Werner also managed to prevail at the 2007 Le Mans 24 hour race with the Audi R10, despite the fact that race organizers restricted the fuel tank size. Under difficult weather conditions, the trio completed the 369 laps at an average 130.0 mph. The diesel racing car with the four rings also stormed from one victory to the next in the American Le Mans series. The car secured its 20th victory in a row in the LM P1 class at the street circuit in Detroit, handing Audi its eighth straight title as a manufacturer.