Audi R18 e-tron quattro with complex electronic architecture

Every Monday until the Le Mans race on June 14/15, Audi will be providing new background information on the R18 project and Audi’s commitment in the world’s most famous endurance race.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro with complex electronic architecture

Ingolstadt - The Audi R18 e-tron quattro is the most complex race car created in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm to date. This not only applies to the mechanics. The electronics of the most recent LMP1 race car with the four rings is more sophisticated than ever before.

The age of electronic data transmission from the race car on track began for Audi in 1989. At that time, an Audi 90 quattro in the IMSA GTO series radioed eight parameters to the garage where engine speeds and a few pressures and temperatures were plotted on printouts – a tiny step from today’s perspective, but one that provided important insights at the time.

Today, an Audi R18 e-tron quattro on more than a thousand channels, in cycles that in some cases only amount to milliseconds, generates data of crucial importance to a staff of engineers at Audi Sport. At Le Mans, the engineers constantly monitor their race cars for 24 hours. Whether it concerns the functionality of the systems, compliance with the regulations or information that is important for strategic reasons, the race car – similar to a medical EKG system – continually diagnoses its condition and reports it to the team garage.

#2 Audi Sport Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Marcel Fässler, Benoit Tréluyer, Andre Lotterer
#2 Audi Sport Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Marcel Fässler, Benoit Tréluyer, Andre Lotterer

Photo by: XPB Images

For this purpose, the LMP1 sports car is equipped with an array of CAN Bus systems which interlink a wide range of electronic control units (ECUs). Sophisticated sensors measure various parameters, such as suspension and acceleration data, temperatures and pressures, or information in the area of energy management, to generate a database for the ECUs. The R18 e-tron quattro has a master system control unit that is primarily responsible for engine and hybrid control and additionally communicates with the other control units in the race car – such as the ECUs for the transmission, clutch actuators, windshield wipers and the laser beam headlights.

The race car has a direct online connection to the computers in the team garage. It is used for high-speed data transmission in real time for operating conditions, such as temperatures, that do not require a high transfer rate. This makes it possible to effectively transfer limited data volumes for a general assessment of the car’s condition. In contrast, the sports car gathers detailed data on each race lap and transmits it via a burst signal when the car drives past the pit lane. Data volumes of more than 20 megabytes are generated per lap, depending on the measurement configuration – equating to more than 10,000 A4 size pages.

Bi-directional data transmission is prohibited. Data may be transmitted from the car to the pits, but not vice versa. Radio communications with the race driver in the car are the only possibility which the team has to influence the car. If there is a need for action based on the engineers’ data analysis this information – such as brake balance, engine control or hybrid system settings – is communicated to the driver by radio. If necessary, alternative program versions stored in the car may be used.

In addition, there is a telemetry system for the officials of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), which together with the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) monitors compliance with the regulations: Is the hybrid system within the prescribed amounts of energy? Is the energy consumption of the race car within the prescribed range? Are the boost pressure parameters correct? Does the cockpit temperature remain within the permissible limits?

In addition, the FIA uses a GPS system. This year, the FIA has begun to use this system for measuring whether or not a race driver complies with the speed limit in critical situations, such as caution periods at the scene of an accident. Activities of the marshals (in marshaling areas to secure accident scenes, for example) are also displayed in the cockpit. This provides the driver with assistance that enhances the safety of all the participants. Furthermore, the position of the race car can be tracked on a map of the circuit in real time. Consequently, a modern LMP1 race car is constantly and comprehensively connected with the team and with race control.

Audi

shares
comments
WeatherTech, Prospeed making plans for Le Mans
Previous article

WeatherTech, Prospeed making plans for Le Mans

Next article

JMW Motorsport announces Le Mans driver lineup

JMW Motorsport announces Le Mans driver lineup
Load comments
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans Prime

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Prime

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021