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Audi is ready for the Le Mans 24 Hours
|Date: 13 Jun 2012
||Author Type: Press Release
- Audi brings first diesel hybrid sports car to Le Mans
- Aim is to clinch brand’s eleventh victory on race’s 80th anniversary
- ultra lightweight technology as base for e-tron quattro
The Le Mans 24 Hours, the world’s most important endurance race, will be held for the 80th time on June 16 and 17. Just in time for the anniversary event, Audi uses the French classic to yet again field forward thinking technologies that are important for product development of the brand.
After ten victories, the time has come for a new challenge. For Audi, Le Mans is not only about achieving the next success. The company’s aim is to be the front runner with new technologies – as it has often been in its over 30 years of motorsport history and particularly at Le Mans.
In 2001, Audi managed to claim the first victory with the combination of turbocharging and direct injection (TFSI), which is standard in production vehicles today. The first Le Mans success of a diesel-powered race car in 2006 made worldwide headlines. In 2010, a vehicle with variable turbine geometry (VTG) triumphed for the first time. Now it is the Audi R18 e-tron quattro – the first race car with diesel hybrid drive at Le Mans that concurrently marks the return of quattro drive.
In diesel hybrid marked number “1” last year’s winners Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer will be starting from the grid. Their team-mates Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish will drive the diesel hybrid marked as number “2.” Simultaneously, Audi is bringing a “twin” of the R18 e-tron quattro to Le Mans, the Audi R18 ultra, the lightest Le Mans prototype ever built by Audi. In the cockpit of the number “3” R18 ultra, Romain Dumas/Loïc Duval/Marc Gené will be taking turns at the wheel. Number “4” will be driven by Marco Bonanomi/Oliver Jarvis/Mike Rockenfeller. The twelve Audi racers combined have achieved 19 Le Mans victories.
Except for the hybrid system and different graphics, the R18 e-tron quattro and the R18 ultra are technically identical in every respect. Both embody ultra-lightweight technology, which is one of the company’s core competencies. The new CFRP transmission housing – the first of its kind in an LMP sports car – is just one example of this ultra-lightweight expertise.
In addition, both vehicle concepts are packed with numerous other innovations – from the highly efficient charging concept of the 3.7-litre V6 TDI engine with its mono VTG charger through to the digital rear-view mirror with an active matrix OLED display. It clearly improves active safety, has high relevance for road traffic and is a perfect example of the close association between AUDI AG’s Technical Development and Audi Sport.
The film “Truth in 24 II” will be boardcast on various Supersport channels from the 12th June during the build-up to the La Mans race on the weekend, it documents the tenth and arguably most emotional triumph of the Audi brand at this sports car classic. After two Audi R18 TDI cars have retired following spectacular accidents, the remaining Audi fights a dramatic battle for overall victory with the three Peugeot 908 cars – which the Audi trio ultimately decides in its favour with a narrow margin of 13 seconds. The film captures the entire drama of the fourth-narrowest running of the Le Mans 24 Hours – with intimate insights into the team of Audi Sport and breath-taking pictures.