Audi, leading the way
Audi R8 in the pit stop
The last start of the Audi R8 in the Le Mans 24 Hour race could hardly have been more impressive: Tom Kristensen (Denmark), JJ Lehto (Finland) and Marco Werner (Germany) clinched the fifth victory of the Audi R8 in the French endurance classic in what will be remembered as one of the most fiercely contested races in the history of the event.
A record crowd of 230,000 spectators saw a stunning demonstration of Audi’s corporate slogan "Vorsprung durch Technik". Whilst ambient temperatures of 35 degrees caused a high attrition rate amongst the 49 cars entered, the three Audi R8 sportscars of Audi’s importer teams from the USA and France ran immaculately throughout the 24 hours. Thus, the Audi drivers were able to overcome the handicap imposed by the regulations. Although the three Audi R8 cars were not the fastest contenders in the field, they clinched first, third and fourth position thanks to their reliability and their constant run to the finish.
Tom Kristensen, JJ Lehto and Marco Werner didn’t put a foot wrong, too, during the 24 hour race, thus helping Team ADT Champion Racing to celebrate its first victory at Le Mans – and the first one for an American team since 1967. In addition, Audi works driver Tom Kristensen opened a new chapter in Le Mans history: the Danish driver won arguably the toughest race in the world for a record seventh time thus surpassing previous record holder Jacky Ickx. JJ Lehto won the Le Mans 24 Hour race for the second time after his inaugural win in 1995. For Marco Werner, a dream came true when he scored his first Le Mans victory in only his fourth attempt.
AUDI AG is one step ahead of the opposition yet again: The inventor of TDI will fight, as the world’s first automobile manufacturer, for overall victory with a diesel engine at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new Audi R10 is powered by a completely new 5.5-litre, twelve-cylinder bi-turbo TDI engine which is extremely economical and quiet.
The Le Mans Prototype, with over 650 hp and more than 1100 Newton metres of torque, significantly exceeds the power produced by the majority of previous Audi racing cars – including that of its victorious R8 predecessor.
Audi ventures into previously unexplored diesel-engine terrain with the V12 power plant manufactured completely from aluminium. The enormous torque of over 1100 Newton metres not only makes extreme demands of the R10 transmission system – as even the Formula 1 specification engine dynamometers at Audi Sport had to be reequipped with special gearboxes capable of withstanding the unusual forces.
The heart of the Audi R10 is a completely new V12 TDI engine with a cubic capacity of 5.5 litres – the maximum permitted at Le Mans. Audi ventures into previously unexplored diesel-engine terrain with power exceeding 650 hp and torque of more than 1100 Newton metres from the V12 power plant.
“This engine is the specifically most powerful diesel there is in the world and, up until now, the biggest challenge that Audi Sport has ever faced in its long history," explains Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Technology at Audi Sport. “There has never been anything remotely comparable. We started development with a clean sheet of paper."
The V12 TDI used in the R10 is the first Audi diesel engine with an aluminium crank case. The cylinder-bank angle is 90 degrees. The V12 TDI has, like Audi production car engines, four valves