Audi has revealed its latest sports car, the R18, which Allan McNish hopes to score his third and the German manufacturer's 10th Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race next June.
The R18 is fitted with a brand new, smaller 3.7-litre TDI turbocharged diesel engine and six-speed transmission. The new car also features a 'closed' cockpit design, for the first time since the 1999 R8C coupe.
According to Audi, the reason for the 'closed' design is that aerodynamics will be more significant at Le Mans than it was in the past. As such, a fixed roof is much sleeker.
Dumfries-born McNish said of the new R18, "The car ran very well without any technical problems. We encountered wet and dry running enabling us to collect a lot of information in all types of track conditions."
"After racing an 'open' Audi sportscar since 2000, it was a renewed experience for me to again drive a sports car with a roof. Audi has done a great job with the design – the front certainly looks very aggressive – I'm sure we have a contender for race honours."
Audi first took part in Le Mans back in 1999. Since then it has raked up nine overall victories (2000-2, 2004-8, 2010) from 12 attempts, which is an impressive record, while Audi drivers have stepped onto the winners' rostrum on every occasion. This year, Audi completed its third 1-2-3 finish in the world's toughest twice-around-the-clock motor race.