Audi has offered a glimpse into how its 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship contender could have appeared had the marque stayed in LMP1.
On Friday, images emerged on social media of a scale model representing how the still-born 2017 R18 had been destined to look before Audi's fateful decision to end its 18-year stint in endurance racing.
At the time the Ingolstadt marque announced its withdrawal, the 2017 car - an evolution of the radical 2016 machine that won at Spa and Bahrain this year - is thought to have been more or less completed.
Using the scale model, we can get an idea of the main external changes that had been made for the 2017 Audi before the project was cancelled (see numbers in picture above).
Bear in mind that WEC rules allow for the use of multiple aerokits, and that the model shown therefore does not represent how the car would have looked for the whole season.
1. The wings around the nose have disappeared.
2. The ventilation grill at the front of the nose has disappeared.
3. The splitter has a flatter profile, less curved than the 2016 model.
4. The double deflectors that guide airflow around the sidepod are absent.
5. The bodywork around the rear wheelarch is more compact, presumably to make driver changes easier.
6. The rear wing endplate is more inclined towards the front, and seems to be a more integral part of the bodywork.
7. The front lights have changed shape.
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While Audi has indicated the 2017 R18 could be made available for privateers to race, it's understood that an operational budget of some 45m euros would need to be raised in order for the cars to compete.
Co-author: Basile Davoine