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Audi is finally making a road-going Le Mans prototype

Audi is finally making a road-going Le Mans prototype

Dejan Jovanovic 8 months ago

On the back of 13 Le Mans victories, Audi has put its electrified racing experience into a road-going zero-emissions hypercar – the only catch is, Audi says the PB18 e-tron is only a “design study”…

You’d think that after dominating the 24 Hours of Le Mans with 13 outright wins between 1999 and 2014, Audi would milk the victories with transfer of racing technology to the road, and also, would it be that much to ask for a production hypercar or two?

Now that Audi is out of Le Mans, bored with racing against itself, they’ve come around to their senses and put all that spare time into a road car. And if it isn’t straight up technology transfer, then at least it’s marketing transfer because Audi is taking the Le Mans-winning R18 e-tron as influence for the new road car’s name.

audi r18 e-tron pb18

The only time we got Audi’s Le Mans racing technology on the public road is during publicity stunts…

So you’ll see the PB18 e-tron making its official world premiere at, as the name suggests, Pebble Beach, which is hosting the annual Car Week and concours in late August.  

Sadly this is the point at which Audi kills the buzz somewhat, because the PB18 e-tron is merely a concept car meant as an ultimate “What if?” tease.

Styled in California, this Audi supercar is just a design study, but with zero-emissions all-electric propulsion it should fit in neatly with Audi’s future plans which include a host of EVs. By 2022 Audi aims to sell three EVs with the first SUV model already available to order from this September.

audi pb18 e-tron 1

So far before its official debut at Pebble Beach, Audi’s only giving away this teaser image

Should the PB18 e-tron somehow make it to production, it would certainly give other Volkswagen Group brands like Lamborghini and Bugatti some competition.   

Now that Audi is done with Le Mans to pay more attention to racing categories such as Formula E, it would make sense for the Ingolstadt manufacturer to milk the involvement as much as possible. In other words, we would really like to see the PB18 e-tron on the road, even if it might merely hint at the styling direction of the next third-generation R8.


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