In the week following the 12 Hours of Sebring,and stuck around the Florida race track to work on preparing their mounts for 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
While Highcroft will only be running theDeltaWing in France, Audi will be running the full World Endurance Championship schedule with both the R18 TDI Ultra (turbodiesel) and the hybrid R18 e-tron Quattro.
The e-tron uses an electro-mechanical flywheel system to recapture energy under braking and then feed it back to the front wheels through electric motors while accelerating. The flywheel system has been in development for several years now and was originally created by the Williams F1 team.
licensed it from Williams in 2010 and continued development in the 911 GT3R hybrid in 2010-11. When Porsche first installed the 40,000 rpm system in the 911 in 2010, it added about 100 pounds to the car. The revised version used in 2011 cut that mass to about 70 pounds and the unit in the R18 is now down to about 50 pounds.
When I first talked to Porsche engineers about the flywheel system (http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/alternative-fuel/hybrids/porsche-911-gt3r-hybrid-flywheel) they indicated that it probably wouldn't show up in a production 911 anytime soon but they said they were making the flywheel unit smaller and lighter. The original version sat where the passenger seat normally goes in a 911. Porsche hinted at the possibility of a future version of the 911 Cup cars with smaller unit mounted behind the seats where the vestigial back seat normally goes. It sounds like they have achieved their goal of shrinking the flywheel and I wouldn't be surprised to see a hybrid Porsche Cup car in 2013.
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