IF AGGRESSIVE LOOKS indicate impressive speed, then that’s Le Mans 2011 sewn up — Audi’s all-new R18 Le Mans car will dominate the top step of the podium for yet another year simply by scaring off the other entrants. A record 1Oth time in 12 attempts.

At the moment, the only confirmed driver is Allan McNish, but expect Le Mans maestro Tom Kristensen to be there, alongside veteran Rinaldo Capello.

Audi Motorsport has been working on the R18 since mid -2009. lt has gone for a closed cockpit design to reduce drag and maintain top speed in the lace of new-fangled regulations limiting engine size, and therefore bhp. The R18 has a 3.7-litre Vb TDI, which, incidentally, has been running on the dyno since last summer, indicating a pricey development programme.

The new engine required an all-new six-speed transmission to be developed as well. And Audi hasn’t scrimped on the costs elsewhere, either. The R18 has a lull carbon-Fibre monocoque, which is massively stiff and also incredibly light Choice. One last fact for you, the headlights are now LED, both efficient and reliable. But it also means the designers could have a bit off fun – look at the number ‘one’ highlighted in the headlights. We’d like to suggest something more appropriate, like ‘outta my way’. But that wouldn’t fit in the lens.

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