Friday, March 8, 2013

Spot the difference: 2013 vs 2012 Audi R18 e-tron quattro

By Johan Laubscher

Audi Sport has released the first real-world image of the new 2013 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (pictured in the cover image), along with a variety of renders. In the last few months a number of spy photos appeared online, prompting the usual pre-season winter speculation. It appeared that the 2013 version of the latest generation Audi sportscar would remain visually similar to the 2012 variant. Based on the renders released today this seems to be the case, but there are a number of significant differences.

The collection of renders published by Audi Sport media offers a look at both Audi R18 e-tron quattro versions, which will be competing at Sebring. Car #1 will be a 2012 version whereas car #2 will be one of the newly updated 2013 cars. We will use these renders for a comparison below, highlighting some of the key visual changes. These renders are professionally done and have been very accurate in the past, thus they form a good basis for the visual comparison. It must be emphasised that the comparison done below was completely based on the renders. They may differ from the actual cars seen at Sebring. Equally the 2012 rendered car may differ from the exact specification seen during 2012, again they are the latest renders released ahead of the Sebring 12 Hours.

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Note: The cover photo (the only real-world photo of the 2013 Audi R18 e-tron quattro) shows the car fitted with the sprint bodywork front nose. The renders published by Audi Sport show the car with the Le Mans type bodywork front nose. The picture above shows the most obvious difference between the two types of front nose setups. The shape of the front fenders differs significantly, the sprint bodywork (pictured left) is completely smooth whereas the Le Mans bodywork (pictured right) has a step in its contour. This difference has been seen on all the Audi R18 versions (2011, 2012 and now 2013). The cars at Sebring will most likely being using the high downforce sprint bodywork, which would be consistent with the first real-world photo that has been released.

2013 vs 2012 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (Sebring 2013)

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Front View

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1. The first big difference is the addition of the "double rear wing", which was first pioneered on the Toyota TS030 during 2012. The double rear wing is comprised of an extension of the rear bodywork being raised alongside the rear wing, but not connected to the rear wing. It is a clever loophole within the regulations to effectually widen the rear wing, whilst the rear wing itself, remains within the maximum dimensions.

2. The rear wing itself also appears to have a larger surface area with an increased angle of attack on the 2013 car.

3. The front dive plane sections of the front nose have been split. On the 2013 car the dive plane is now split into two distinct sections, on the 2012 car it is only one smooth solid section.

4. On the 2012 car there appears to be a segregation line on the bodywork (dark line in render), which would suggest the bodywork was two separate parts. The 2013 render does not have this segregation line. (However this is said under correction)

5. The 2013 car has a set of cameras mounted on its roof, which is not present on the 2012 car. These new cameras will aid the drivers forward vision, an aspect which has been a problem in the R18 versions due to the driver's view being obstructed from certain angles inside the cockpit. 

6. The side mounted dive planes have a slightly different shape and the 2012 car configuration has the dive planes curving further round the front nose.

7. The highest point of the front nose dive plane is higher on the 2013 car than that of the 2012 car, revealing an air exit when viewed from behind. The 2012 car has a smooth surface without an air exit.

Rear View 

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8. The 2012 car has a circular exhaust whereas the 2013 car is pictured without the large circular exhaust. (This may only be the case on the render, the real configurations remains to be seen.)

9. The rear fender shape has been altered on the 2013 car. The rear section of the fender now also has a more squared corner, whereas the 2012 car has a more rounded edge.

Side View

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10. The shape of the side pod air exits have changed slightly as well as having an additional horizontal element added on the 2013 car. The horizontal element has been added between the second and third sections of the side pod and between the third section and the main body of the car.  

11. The second side pod section’s lower edge has been extended further rearwards on the 2013 car, on the 2012 car this edge was a lot shorter and ended before the third section of the side pod.

12. The first side pod section has a different shape and is angled more towards the car’s centreline on the 2013 car.

13. A rectangular part has been added alongside the side pod, directly behind the front wheel. This was not present on the 2012 car.

14. The angled first side pod section can be seen here, it is clearly angled more towards the car’s centreline on the 2013 car.

Top View

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15. On the 2013 car there is a small bulge on the rear fender, behind the rear wheels. The bulge faces inwards towards the car's centreline. This bulge was not present on the 2012 car and its function is not yet known.

16. The trailing edge of the rear bodywork has a different shape on the 2013 car as it is angled more downward than that of the 2012 car.

17. New air vents are present on the 2013 car's rear bodywork. The purpose of these vents is yet to be known, but it is speculated that they have been added to enhance the cooling and airflow.

This concludes our visual comparison of the two Audi R18 e-tron quattro versions which will be competing at Sebring. Again we emphasise that this comparison is based on the renders released by Audi Sport media. It remains to be seen how the actual cars will look at Sebring itself.

Photo credit: Audi Sport Media

Editors note: The text within this article is that of Audi Motorsport Blog (an independent blog), the text is therefore not from Audi Sport Media Info.