Audi driver Daniel Abt also scores points in China

In conditions of high temperatures and extreme humidity, the final stage of the first E-Prix, held in the tourist resort on the Southern Chinese Hainan Island, was particularly action-packed. From fourth on the grid, Daniel Abt was in contention for a podium finish in the group of front runners before the safety car was deployed and the race was red-flagged. “This destroyed the advantage we had achieved at the beginning of the race,” said Abt. “We had good energy management and were in a strong position before the crazy things happened on the track. That’s why I’m not one hundred percent happy. But in Formula E, it’s crucial to score points regularly. I’ve managed that so far in all six races.”

His teammate, Lucas di Grassi, fought back from sixth on the grid in his Audi e-tron FE05 and was directly behind Abt when he was taken out of the race by a collision caused by Sébastien Buemi on the penultimate lap. “That was extremely frustrating, because today we could have taken the championship lead,” said the Brazilian. “Up until that point, it was a great race.”

Formula E: latest news and miscellaneous info from Sanya

In spite of the sun in Sanya having disappeared behind thick clouds from time to time since Friday, temperatures have remained high at around 28 degrees centigrade in the shade with relative humidity of more than 90 percent,whichcaused all of the drivers and team members to work up quite a sweat even during the track walk.

The two Audi drivers, Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi, are expecting another spectacular Formula E race. “The track is exactly my style,” says Abt. “Above all, unlike at the last race in Hong Kong, you can overtake really well here.” His teammate di Grassi agrees: “The circuit with its long straights makes for thrilling racing and the quality of the track surface is very good.”

The circuit is located on Hainan Island directly along the beach of Sanya next to a holiday park. A special feature: the race starts on a bridge. Attack mode can be expected to have a greater effect than in the previous races. “The corner for activating it is nearly rectangular and very slow,” says Lucas di Grassi.

On Thursday, Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi, in their own words, enjoyed “one of the best PR days” in their Formula E careers. Di Grassi went on an excursion to the rain forest of Yalong Bay with the TV channel CNN. Afterwards, the two Audi drivers had a great time riding flyboards on the South China Sea during a film shoot.

China is the biggest global market for the automotive industry and interest in Formula E is huge there: some 400 guests of Audi China are going to watch the race in Sanya from the grandstands on Saturday. For Audi’s guests, the Formula E weekend began with an evening event at the Grand Hyatt in Sanya that was also attended by Daniel Abt, Lucas di Grassi, Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass and Team Principal Allan McNish.

Audi Sport shoots for hat-trick in California

Audi has special memories of the upcoming California 8 Hours on the race track at Laguna Seca. The roller coaster circuit some 200 kilometers south of San Francisco combines diverse cornering radii on a length of only 3.6 kilometers and significant elevation changes. The Corkscrew corner with its heavily dropping left-right section is unique in the world and popular with all race drivers. 

On this race track, the Audi R8 and Audi R10 TDI Le Mans prototypes scored a total of eight victories in the former American Le Mans Series for sports cars in North America between 2000 and 2008. Pierre Kaffer/Kelvin van der Linde/Markus Winkelhock decided the inaugural race of the California 8 Hours in 2017 in their favor with Audi. Winkelhock won the drivers’ classification of this series as well, and Audi the manufacturers’ classification. A year later, the Audi R8 LMS was again unbeatable: Kelvin van der Linde together with Christopher Haase and Christopher Mies after eight thrilling hours of racing celebrated victory ahead of Robin Frijns/Dries Vanthoor/Markus Winkelhock in another Audi R8 LMS last October.

This year, six Audi Sport drivers will be on the grid. Christopher Haase will be racing with Dries Vanthoor and Frédéric Vervisch for Audi Sport Team WRT. Audi Sport Team Land that was victorious last year will again have Kelvin van der Linde and Christopher Mies on board. Markus Winkelhock completes this driver lineup. 

Three sessions and a pole shootout qualifying for the top 15 grid positions on Friday, March 29, will be followed by the race on Saturday. The race is scheduled to start at 8.30 AM local time (CET – 8 hours). 

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Innovative water treatment at Audi saves up to 500,000 cubic meters of fresh water a year

Water is necessary in the entire manufacturing process of an automobile, for example in the paint shop. With the new service-water supply center, Audi is going new ways at the Ingolstadt site and making even more efficient use of water as a resource. “Thanks to this innovative wastewater treatment system, we are reducing the fresh-water requirements of production at the Ingolstadt plant by a third,” says Rüdiger Recknagel, Head of Environmental Protection at AUDI AG. “At the same time, we are avoiding approximately 40 percent of wastewater.” This underscores the premium manufacturer’s commitment to the sustainable use of water: At its Mexican plant in San José Chiapa, Audi has been producing cars without wastewater since 2018, as certified by independent experts. With the new supply center, the plant in Ingolstadt has also reached a milestone along the way to zero liquid discharge (ZLD).

Before the company returns the wastewater as fresh service water to the production processes at the Ingolstadt plant, it is treated in up to three stages. It first passes through a chemical-physical process. This neutralizes alkaline and acidic components and removes heavy metals, for example from the paint shop. The membrane bioreactor is then used. It is the core element of water treatment. Here the production water is mixed with sanitary wastewater and freed from organic components. The MBR then removes bacteria and viruses from the wastewater using pore-fine membranes. Audi is thus taking water treatment one step further than conventional sewage treatment plants that do not use this process. Finally, reverse osmosis removes residual salts. The treated wastewater is then returned to the production process as service water.

With the new service water supply center, Audi will save up to 500,000 cubic meters of fresh water each year. In conjunction with the existing treatment plant, the premium manufacturer will in the future recycle about half of the wastewater produced at the Ingolstadt site.

In order to save groundwater, Audi is also increasingly using rainwater for service water purposes at its Ingolstadt plant. Rainwater from over 450,000 square meters of roof and parking space is collected in underground cisterns. Depending on weather conditions, up to 260,000 cubic meters of rainwater can be used annually.

Audi has set itself the target of reducing the environmental factors of energy, CO2 emissions, fresh water, waste and volatile organic compounds by 35 percent per car produced by 2025 compared with reference year 2010. The company’s long-term goal is to produce automobiles that are CO2 neutral and wastewater free.

Lightweight, efficient, powerful: the new Audi turbo engine for the DTM

Following about two and a half years of development and some 1,000 hours of dynamometer testing, the new Audi race engine is ready for its first racing deployment on May 4 at the Hockenheimring. “Our drivers were totally thrilled right in the first test,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “However, the move from the naturally aspirated V8 to the turbo engine is not only important due to the additional output of some 100 horsepower. In the DTM, we’re now driving with a high-efficiency engine of the type we’re also using in many production vehicles of the Group.”

The new Class 1 Regulations of the DTM are geared to utmost efficiency. Just like in production, the challenge is to extract the maximum from the available fuel through high compression and very good efficiency. In the DTM, the amount of fuel is limited to 95 kilograms per hour. “That may sound like a lot but, in view of more than 610 horsepower, it really isn’t,” says Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Development at Audi Motorsport. “The specific consumption of the DTM engine is extremely low and now within ranges that used to be typical for diesel engines. In terms of weight and lightweight design – especially in the context of avoiding CO2 emissions – we’re pointing out a few approaches that will hopefully find their way into future road-going vehicles – like in the case of the first TFSI for Le Mans and the TDI.”

The compact four-cylinder turbo engine with gasoline direct injection (TFSI) only weighs 85 kilograms and thus only half as much as the naturally aspirated V8 engine that was previously used in the DTM. As a result, the dry weight of the Audi RS 5 DTM has dropped to less than 1,000 kilograms. The power-to-weight ratio is now about 1.6 kilograms per horsepower.

Like in the past, a DTM engine has to last for a full season, so it is designed to run for some 6,000 kilometers. “The format of the DTM is a great challenge,” says Stefan Dreyer, Head of Powertrain Development at Audi Motorsport. “The long mileage, distributed to many events with short runs, is really tough. Plus, the four-cylinder engine’s vibration behavior totally differs from that of the V8. That posed a huge challenge during the development of the engine and also to our dynamometers.” Additional output of more than 100 horsepower, as well as higher torque, put a greater load on the entire powertrain.

Due to a so-called “push-to-pass” system, the driver can use a short-term engine power boost by pushing a button, for instance in an overtaking maneuver. Via a bypass of the fuel flow restrictor (FFR), an additional 5 kg of fuel per hour is provided, which results in a boost of about 30 horsepower.