Audi Motorsport, in an interview with CAR, say that Formula 1 is not where they need to be in order to make their road cars better, it’s the Le Mans racing series.
Volkswagen Group have talked about potentially putting one of their top car makers into the sport of F1, whether it be VW, Audi, Porsche or Lamborghini. But Audi says they’re not leaving Le Mans, and they aren’t going into F1.
In a quote taken from CAR, Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Motorsport for Audi, said:
“There’s a very good reason why we are not in F1, There’s no relevance to the road. Audi has always been engaged in motorsport that’s relevant to our customers such as rallying and touring cars, which brought quattro, FSI and TFSI to our road cars.”
I find it very interesting that Formula 1 tech doesn’t correlate to the road, according to Audi… Due to Formula 1, as well as other types of racing, lightweight technology has become far more prevalent in sports cars. KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) works in F1 cars to help regenerate braking power into horsepower. BMW will be introducing this technology on their latest M5, the F10 chassis code. BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, McLaren, and the like, have long used Formula 1 to help make their engines better.
For instance, the 5.0-liter V10 in the 2006-2010 E60 M5 and E63/64 M6 BMWs was derived directly from their V10 F1 engine used in the Williams-BMW car of that time -some say it was the most powerful and fastest engine of that period. Ferrari and BMW have both adopted sequential gearboxes nearly identical to the ones they’ve used in their Formula One cars. Mercedes-Benz, McLaren and Ferrari have used the carbon ceramic brakes from their F1 programs to better the stopping power of their exceptional sports cars. The Porsche Carrera GT used a special V10 motor that was supposed to go into an F1 Porsche, but the company opted out of participating in Formula One to focus more energy on Le Mans series racing. But they still offered the V10 in a road car to give us all an amazing love for what they could, and should, have done.
To keep it going, the traction control systems from BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Honda, etc. have all been studied and updated a lot via F1 traction technology.
Now I don’t want to sit here and bash Audi, but it’s a little annoying to hear them say that about F1. While Le Mans has been, without a doubt, the best bet for them, especially since they’ve taken home 9 of the last 11 winning trophies for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, There’s no doubt they could learn a lot from F1. The current Formula 1 cars use V8 powerplants, and Audi could greatly benefit from this for their S5, RS5, R8, and potential return of the RS4. Their 4.2-liter V8 is fantastic, but I’m sure could be better in some ways. But it comes down to, is it really worth it for them? No, not really. If they were building high-end sports/super cars, then yes. Ferrari needs Formula One. The same with McLaren. The only thing that Audi would benefit from it, like I said, would be the engines.
Another quote from Dr. Ullrich:
“Let me show you how – at Le Mans, one of our cars will cover 325 miles more than an F1 car will cover in an entire season, our average speed including pits stops will be 20mph higher than an F1 car and we will use 42% less fuel. You cannot argue with those figures.”
That’s all true, especially with Audi and their TDI racers. And a 24 hour race is an amazing feat and accomplishment (again, especially for Audi, who just keep winning), but Formula One is more technical in some ways while Le Mans is more technical in others.
So while Audi is right in some ways, he’s wrong in others. You can’t compare the two together as they’re very different. Both are still awesome to watch, however.
Audi also made a very cool video to showcase their love for Le Mans series racing, entitled “A Day in the Life of an Audi Driver” with Allan McNish, two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner.
[Source: CAR via Autoblog]