A couple of weeks ago Peugeot launched the successor to their 908 HDi FAP which it had been racing at Le Mans since 2007. The 2011 908 looks similar to the older car but features a V8 turbo diesel rather than the V12.
Archive for the ‘Le Mans’ Category
Tags: 24 Hours of Le Mans, Auto racing, Le Mans, Motorsports, Peugeot, Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, Sports, Turbodiesel
Tags: 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi, Audi R10 TDI, Audi R15 TDI, Audi R8 (race car), Bentley, Diesel engine, Peugeot
Before looking at the new R18 TDi here is an evolutionary look at Audi at Le Mans since 1999.
In 1999 Audi had two different approaches to the 24 hours, the R8C coupe…
and the open prototype Audi R8R…
In 2000 Audi won Le Mans with the Audi R8. Audi dominated at Le Mans with this car, winning in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005.
In 2006 Audi launched the R10 TDi, a V12 turbo diesel rather than the V8 petrol turbo that they had used in the R8 and Speed 8. It won at Le Mans in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
In 2007 Peugeot launched their 908 turbo diesel which while proving faster than the R10 TDi, was much more fragile. In 2009 Audi launched their successor to the R10 Tdi, the R15 TDi. The R15 TDi used a V10 turbo diesel engine. This car proved to be little faster than the R10 TDi and was beaten by the Peugeots in 2009, although it did win Le Mans in 2010 mainly due to the Peugeots unreliability.
In December 2010 Audi released the R18 TDi, which will use a V6 turbo diesel engine.
The Le Mans 24 Hours has again been run and again Audi has taken outright honours. Audi and their R15 TDI took the first three places while Peugeot’s four 908s all fell apart despite being quicker than the German cars. The quickest cars don’t always win at Le Mans and a car will never win if it doesn’t make it to the finish.
Unlike last year when they took victory it seems that the Peugeot drivers pushed their cars beyond their limits. I guess this is the problem when all your drivers are ex-F1 guys who are used to driving a whole race flat-out rather than pacing yourself.
Audi has continued their decade long domination of the 24 Hours. Last year was the first time since 2003 that an Audi had not taken victory at Le Mans so they acheived their revenge on Peugeot. It is also good that the R15 TDI can now join the two the R8 and R10 TDI as a winner of the 24 Hours.
Audi’s Record at Le Mans since 1999
1999 – 3rd & 4th with the Audi R8R. Neither Audi R8C (the basis for the later Bentley EXP Speed 8 ) finished.
2000 – 1st, 2nd & 3rd with the Audi R8.
2001 – 1st & 2nd with the Audi R8 (the Audi designed Bentley EXP Speed 8 finished 3rd).
2002 – 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 7th with the Audi R8 (the Audi designed Bentley EXP Speed 8 finished 4th).
2003 – 3rd & 4th with the Audi R8… but Bentley’s EXP Speed 8 that was designed by Audi, powered by Audi and run by the Joest Audi team finished 1st & 2nd.
2004 – 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 5th with the Audi R8.
2005 – 1st, 3rd & 4th with the Audi R8.
2006 – 1st & 3rd with the Audi R10.
2007 – 1st with the Audi R10.
2008 – 1st, 4th & 6th with the Audi R10 TDI.
2009 – 3rd with the Audi R15 TDI.
2010 – 1st, 2nd & 3rd with the Audi R15 TDI.
Since Audi started competing at Le Mans in 1999 they have never been off the podium which is a remarkable achievement.
This week is a big one for sport with the World Cup football (soccer) beginning. The Canadian Grand Prix is also on this weekend as is the Le Mans 24 Hours. Qualifying for the 24 Hours is underway as we speak, and it looks as though the Peugeots will have the upper hand on their arch rivals Audi. Come race day it could be different as at Le Mans it is not always the fastest car that wins, but the car that has the least problems and Audi will no doubt want revenge on their defeat last year. The Aston Martin team may have a slight chance of winning if Peugeot and Audi run into troubles.
The 2009 edition of the Le Mans 24 hours from the Circuit de la Sarthe begins in around 40 minutes time. For those Aussies who do not have One or for the times when One is covering the footy, you can check out the live streaming from Speed TV. There is also Radio Le Mans as well.
Even though the Peugeot 908s seem to be a lot faster than the Audi R15s, I still think in race trim the Audis will win by the narrowist of margins. The Gulf Aston Martin Lola is still the prettiest car to have competed at Le Mans for a long time. Perhaps the prettiest since 2002 when the factory MG Lolas were competing.
Audi have posted this High Resolution picture of the forthcoming R15 on its website. Looks very aggressive and will probably give the Peugeot’s a good run for their money. Of course we won’t know until Sebring next month.