Find of the Day: 2011 Audi R18 TDI ultra

words: Bill, photos: Art & Revs

The legendary Audi R18…it raced and dominated for six seasons but the version immortalized on film is the 2011 Audi R18 TDI ultra. Truth in 24 II told the story of the R18 TDI ultra and its dramatic win at Le Mans. You remember that one: three R18 TDI ultras started the race but only one finished and it finished as the winner with Marcel Fässler, André Lottery and Benoît Tréluyer on top of the podium. The other two? Allan McNish had a huge crash during the daylight and Mike Rockenfeller had a huge crash during the night destroying both cars.

This one is chassis #100 and was used for testing and as a reserves chassis for several races. It is one of the six still in existence, one of eight built (remember that 2 were destroyed), but the only one in private ownership. Here’s the ad:

Art & Revs presents the only fully functioning R18 TDI Ultra in private hands – the 2011 non-hybrid version – ready to take back to the track
The R18 was unveiled at Audi Sportpark in Ingolstadt on 10 December 2010 and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans the following summer with Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer at the helm. The #2 Audi Sport Team Joest machine beat Peugeot’s 908 by under 14 seconds. The other two R18s were destroyed in spectacular accidents, with Allan McNish and Mike Rockenfeller fortunate to walk away unscathed. The one remaining R18 managed to fend off the four Peugeots to claim Audi’s 10th Le Mans victory in 12 years, and the team finished second in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup championship that season.
Like its predecessor, the R18 uses a turbocharged diesel engine, but with a reduced capacity of 3.7 litres in a V6 configuration, which produces 532bhp. While that’s less than the V10-powered R15, fuel economy is superior and it’s 25kg lighter. In contrast to previous Audi LMP engines, the V6 has a single Garrett TR30R turbocharger with variable turbine geometry, and the engine exhausts inwards between the cylinder banks, where the turbo is placed, creating a ‘hot vee’. 
The R18 TDI is equipped with many innovative solutions,” said Dr Ulrich, proudly. “It was built for regulations specifically targeting future technologies – and with the background enabling these technologies to be introduced into road-going cars in the future. This is what makes sport prototypes so interesting for Audi.”
The R18 offered for sale by Art & Revs is chassis no.100, from its debut campaign. This car was used for testing and FIA homologation, and then became a reserve chassis at several ILMC races. It’s one of only eight cars built and six still in existence.
Chassis 100 was later adapted to look like a 2013 hybrid car for media purposes. It was then completely rebuilt, restored to 2011 spec and overhauled at Audi Sport in 2018. It was fitted with mostly NOS (new old stock) parts, and has driven zero kilometres since then. The engine life is expected to be approximately 10,000 kilometres and the gearbox 7,000 kilometres. 
Built to the highest level of quality ever seen on a prototype, this is the only R18 that has been restored and which is fully functional with its ECU in place. All other R18s were sold non-functional. Thanks to not having the later hybrid power unit, this car is much easier to use and maintain than its cousins. The car is ready to race and an ex-Audi Sport engineer will be pleased to accompany the car and support its new owner in racing it.
Audi has won Le Mans 13 times and is returning in 2023 in the new LMDh category. The legend of the four rings is set to continue, but with this car, a lucky new owner will be able to relieve the glory days of the decade past – a golden era of Le Mans Prototypes.

This is the 2nd LMP1 we’ve featured: the other one was Audi R8 LMP900 chassis #405. Both of them are runners and this R18 is fully restored. Can you imagine showing up tp your next HPDE or Cars & Coffee in this? You can find this Audi R18 TDI ultra HERE.