New Audi R18 Le Mans racing car is looking mean!

This is the new Audi R18 Le Mans racing car which is going to compete in the 2011 Le Mans 24 hours. The R18 was unveiled at the Audi Sportpark in Ingolstadt on Friday and shall be racing as a closed coupe for the first time since 1999. For your information, Audi’s R10 TDI and R15 TDI race car are just like F1 cars where you can see the driver’s helmet exposed from the car just like this.

The reason for a closed coupe is obviously for aerodynamic purpose. “In the future, aerodynamic efficiency will be even more important at Le Mans than it was in the past,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “A closed car has clear advantages in this respect. Our computer simulations have been confirmed in the wind tunnel and during initial track tests.”

This mean looking race car will use a newly develop  six-speed transmission and will be powered by a 3.7-liter V6 TDI diesel engine. “From our point of view, the TDI continues to be the most efficient technology,” says Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Development at Audi Sport. “There are good reasons why the share of TDI units among Audi’s production models is as high as it is.”

The thing that got our attention however, are those over sized LED headlights! The R18 will be the first race car to use full LED only headlights for optimal lighting during the night. During the day however, one strip of LED lights will light up to make it look like the number ‘1’. Inspired by Audi’s historical logo.

Great looking car I must say but will it be competitive among other racers? Based on Audi’s racing history for winning the world’s most famous endurance race for a staggering nine times with the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI models, I believe it just might be a force to be reckoned with.

More photos of the new Audi R18 Le Mans racing cars and its awesome LED lights can be enjoyed right in the gallery below.