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Audi Laser-Light Technology Going from Concept to Track

Latest Lighting Breakthrough Will Debut at Le Mans

Charles Krome
by Charles Krome
January 30, 2014

Remember when Audi introduced its "Sport quattro laserlight" concept at this year's CES event in early January? Well, the eponymous feature of that car already is on its way into real-world use, starting with the Audi R-18 e-quattro endurance racer. As recently announced by the four-rings brand, the e-18 will premiere a laser-lighting system when it hits the track for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, currently scheduled for June 14-15, 2014.

The setup isn't any kind of marketing fluff, either. The technology relies on actual laser diodes that can light up the road for some 1,640 feet while also providing about triple the luminosity of LED highbeams. Audi already has begun testing the new laser technology in the latest iteration of the R-18, and the results certainly have been enlightening for Marcel Fässler, the two-time Le Mans winner helping evaluate the system.

“I’ve never had such good light on a race car as on the new R18,” reported Fässler, who also has a past World Endurance Championship to his credit. “It’s clearly even better than last year. I wouldn’t call this just one step forward, but three. The laser light is brighter, more concentrated and more precise. For example, you can see the apex of a corner much better with it. At night, this could be a crucial advantage for us.”

Of course, it's not just the Audi racing team that will benefit, according to Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the Board of Management for Technical Development of AUDI AG. He noted of the laser-lighting system that: "We’re equipping the new Le Mans race car with it and will be the first automobile manufacturer to introduce laser light in production cars.”


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