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Audi R18 TDI - Click above for high-res image gallery

Take a look at the beast that is the new Audi R18 TDI and you'd be forgiven for assuming it has a big, rip-roarin' V10 with at least two turbochargers. Right? Wrong. Although the previous R15 TDI packed in ten oil-burning cylinders, new regulations - implemented to diminish the advantage the last generation of diesel-powered Le Mans Prototypes over their gasoline-burning competitors - forced Audi to go with a single-turbo V6 for the new R18. That didn't stop Audi from finding some unique ways to make the best of the new engine regs.

For starters, the engine block is made of aluminum - still a rarity for high-compression diesel engines, even after Mercedes-Benz introduced their design some six years ago. Audi also opened up the angle between the cylinder banks to 120 degrees, giving it a lower center of gravity approaching that of a boxer engine, and relocated the exhaust manifolds from port and starboard to a single unit nestled inside the wide V.

The result is a 3.7-liter turbo-diesel V6 that produces over 540 horsepower. The smaller form factor also allowed Audi Sport to optimize the aerodynamics, while its lower weight allowed the engineers to beef up other components. As for a regenerative braking system like its chief rival Peugeot runs (and like those employed in Formula 1), Audi says it is keeping the door open to the idea as development continues, but has yet to implement any such system. Follow the jump to read more about the engine specifically designed for Audi's latest prototype racer in the full press release.

Gallery: 2011 Audi R18 TDI (final livery)

[Source: Audi]Continue reading Audi highlights the V6 TDI in the new R18

Audi highlights the V6 TDI in the new R18 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 28 Apr 2011
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