Headlamps have come a long way in the hundred-and-something years since the dawn of motoring.
The earliest examples that Goodwood’s encyclopaedic Competitions Manager Will Kinsmann can recollect appearing at the Festival of Speed are appended to the front of an 1894 Peugeot Type 5. They were possibly useful for warning oncoming stage-coaches of the Peugeot’s approach, but we’re guessing moonlight would have been more useful to a Type 5 driver attempting nocturnal navigation ‘in period’.
Lasers are the new big thing in lighting, which means you’ll probably soon be able to see headlamps from outer-space. Not that you’ll have to venture quite so far afield, as Audi is planning to reveal its R8 LMX to British fans at FoS this year – it’s not only the most powerful R8 to date, but Audi says it’s the world’s first production model to feature ‘laser-guidance’ as standard. (BMW’s i8 only offers Laser headlamps as an option, in case you were wondering…)
The R8 LMX is a V10 version uprated to 562bhp, which delivers a 0-62mph sprint of just 3.4secs and a top speed of 198mph.
Only 99 examples are to be sold world-wide, and you can spot the LMX by its fixed rear wing, carbon trim elements around the exterior, blue accents in the interior and carbon sill plates with each car’s limited edition series number displayed. It’s all yours for £160,025.
But what of those laser headlamps? Here’s an excerpt from Audi’s own press release:
“With the new laser high beams, one laser module per headlight generates a cone of light with twice the range of the all-LED headlight. Each module comprises four high-power laser diodes. With a diameter of just 300 micrometers, these generate a blue laser beam with a wavelength of 450 nanometers. A phosphor converter transforms this into roadworthy white light with a colour temperature of 5500 Kelvin – ideal conditions for the human eye that enable the driver to recognise contrast more easily and help prevent fatigue. The laser spot, which is active at speeds of 37mph and above, supplements the LED high beam in the R8 LMX and greatly enhances visibility and safety. An intelligent camera-based sensor system detects other road users and actively adjusts the light pattern to avoid dazzle.”
We couldn’t have put it better. (But ‘we’ did get a D in physics…)
Tickets for all the Goodwood events are available here.