Running gear

The suspension uses double wishbones at front and rear; the upper and lower front wishbones are both triangulated. At the rear, the upper wishbone is triangulated and the lower one is of a trapezoidal pattern for optimal wheel location - a geometry that has proved ideal for maximum steering precision and precisely defined self-steering effects in motor sport.

Direct-action rack and pinion steering with the degree of power assistance dependent on road speed reduces steering wheel effort while ensuring an optimal level of feedback from the road.

The spring and shock absorber settings are firm, to ensure the highest possible level of road dynamics, but the level of ride comfort that they offer is none the less most remarkable. This is because the shock absorbers feature an innovative technology known as `Audi magnetic ride'. Instead of the conventional hydraulic fluid in the shock absorber, it contains a `magneto-rheological' fluid, the viscosity of which can be varied by applying a magnetic field. The electronic control system energises an electromagnet which can be used at any time to influence the shock absorber's operating characteristic.

In this way the most suitable level of damping can be provided in every driving situation, for optimum ride quality and dynamic road behaviour. A computer uses signals from sensors to detect the actual driving situation within a few thousandths of a second. A switch is provided at the steering wheel for the driver to choose between two driving programmes, either an emphatically sporty one using the magneto-rheological shock absorber fluid at low viscosity, or the alternative setting for greater ride comfort.

The Audi Le Mans quattro has large-diameter, suitably impressive 20-inch wheels with seven double-arm styling. Front tyres of size 255/30 , with 295/30 tyres at the rear, keep this potent car anchored firmly to the road surface. These sizes also ensure that the dynamic talents of the powertrain and running gear are translated into optimal grip and the maximum possible lateral dynamic levels. And of course the design and dimensions of these wheels add even more to the characteristically sporty looks of the Audi Le Mans quattro.

The wheels are of the centre-lock type, with an absolute zero-play connection between wheel hub and stub axle to ensure accurate wheel location in all three dimensions and perfect dynamic balance. The wheel retaining nut has a built-in freewheel to prevent it from unscrewing accidentally - here too, technologies that had their origins in motor racing.

Yet another high-tech feature adopted from motor sport: the brake discs are made from a ceramic material. With diameters of 380 mm at the front and 356 mm at the rear, they slow and stop the car in a manner that matches its immense performance. Braking pressure is transmitted to these discs by eight-piston fixed calipers at the front and fist-type calipers at the rear.

The ceramic material used for the brake discs conducts heat away excellently, withstands high temperatures very well and is therefore exceptionally resistant to fading: a most desirable feature that will enable the Audi Le Mans quattro to achieve the fast lap times of which it is capable on the world's racing circuits.

Audi Le Mans quattro concept

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