WILLIAMS' HYBRID FLYWHEEL TECHNOLOGY PROVES IT’S ROBUSTNESS BY HELPING TO POWER AUDI TO A SECOND STRAIGHT LE MANS TRIUMPH
24th June 2013. Grove, UK. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro, supported by Williams' flywheel energy storage technology, has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second consecutive year.
Taking place annually since 1923 on France’s Circuit de la Sarthe, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest and most gruelling endurance race and the ultimate test of a hybrid systems reliability and fuel saving potential. Victory was achieved by the number '2' Audi R18 e-tron quattro that had started the race on pole position, with Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish behind the wheel. The hybrid R18 e-tron quattro ran for 24 hours without any technical problems in difficult wet conditions, demonstrating the robustness of its innovative hybrid system. This victory compliments the one-two victory at last year’s race, where the R18 e-tron quattro became the first ever hybrid vehicle to finish on the podium.
Williams' flywheel energy storage technology was first developed for the Williams F1 Team’s 2009 Formula One car but has since been adapted by the Hybrid Power Division of Williams Advanced Engineering for a range of motorsport and non-motorsport applications. Williams designed an entirely new, ultra-lightweight electric flywheel and associated power electronics for the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, working closely with Audi engineers to fully integrate the system into the car. The key features and benefits of the system are highly suited to endurance racing and this made the Williams flywheel the prime candidate for Audi’s project when compared to other technologies such as batteries, ultra-capacitors or mechanical flywheels.
Ian Foley, Managing Director of Williams Hybrid Power, commented, "I would like to congratulate Audi on securing their second straight win with the hybrid e-tron at arguably the toughest race in world motorsport. Williams Hybrid Power have worked closely alongside Audi for two years now to develop a hybrid system that could endure the strains of Le Mans and this success is further validation of our flywheel technology.
"Our flywheel energy storage systems are now being directly transferred into other applications outside of motorsport, with a particular focus on public transport such as buses and trams. Motorsport projects have accelerated the development of Williams' hybrid technologies at a rapid pace and will continue to be an important testing ground as we introduce our products into a greater number of everyday applications."