Posts Tagged ‘Audi’

Late last year Audi launched their challenger for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours. Unlike its predecessors it will be a coupe instead of an open prototype.

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 2003 Bentley won at Le Mans with their Speed 8. This car was built by Audi, had an Audi engine and run by the Audi works team.

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.


A couple of weeks ago I was told that the excellent movie about Audi’s assault on the 2008 Le Mans 24 hours, Truth In 24, had been released free as a download on iTunes. This is great news only if you live in the United States as unfortunately the American iTunes store is the only one which carries this great documentary. I tried to download the movie but unfortunately Australian residents can only download stuff from the Australian iTunes store for some (stupid) reason, and the Australian iTunes store naturally enough does not have Truth In 24 available. Why is it that those of us who live in Australia always miss out on great stuff that is released overseas? It is not just iTunes that can be blamed for this as Australian DVD manufacturers also neglect to release any really good movies or shows for us. Why should we Aussies always have to put up with second best? Unfortunately there does not seem to be an email address for me to give iTunes a piece of my mind on this issue but there is an Apple support email address which I have sent an email to and that I hope may help. The address is I will let you know how things go with this!


I am currently working on mega-post on the history of Audi’s participation in the American Le Mans Series and in the Le Mans 24 Hours. I will look at the various Audi models to have taken part in their sportscar programme since 1999, from the R8R to the current R15TDi. I will look at the brilliant results that they have achieved in the last decade that have made them the most successful racing car company of the last ten years (Yes, even more successful than Ferrari!).

57th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring sebring-2009


It’s time again for one of my favourite sportscar races. The Sebring 12 Hours is usually a good indicator of who is going to do well at Le Mans in June and as can be seen in the table below, Audi have dominated over the past decade although the Penske Porsche Spyder LMP2 (which did not compete at Le Mans in 2008) won last year. Unfortunately Porsche have pulled out of the ALMS this year, which leaves Audi with their all new R15-TDi to go up against Peugeot and their 908. Acura also have a new LMP1 car after competing for a few years with an LMP2 car. They are going to be the only manufacturer of the three contenders for outright victory, taking in the complete ALMs series, although unlike Peugeot and Audi, they won’t be at Le Mans.


From the Sebring International Raceway website.

“The stage is set for America’s premier sports car endurance race. At 10:30 am on Saturday, the 57th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida takes the green flag, kicking-off the 2009 American Le Mans Series season.

Since its founding in 1952, the Sebring endurance classic has compiled 672 hours of racing history, with nearly 2.4 million racing miles run on the famous road racing track that evolved from a World War II Army Air Force training base. On Saturday, Le Mans prototypes will reach speeds nearing 200 mph on the Ulmann Straight, the same strip of concrete the famous B-17 “Memphis Belle” landed on sixty-six years earlier.

Sebring International Raceway is America’s premier sports car racing facility. Nestled among the orange groves and cattle ranches of central Florida, it is the oldest permanent road racing track in North America, evolving from a World War II air base.

Sebring is world famous for the annual 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race, part of the prestigious American Le Mans Series. Every year on the third Saturday of March, the raceway hosts thousands of race fans from around the world to witness the historic 12 hour classic. All the legends have raced at Sebring… Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill and dozens of other international motor racing legends, driving race cars built by the world’s great manufacturers such as Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, Audi, Ford, Maserati, Aston Martin and Nissan.

Today, Sebring International Raceway is owned by the Panoz Motorsports Group, whose founder Dr. Don Panoz revived the famous Sebring circuit in 1999 by initiating a multi-million dollar enhancement program. The track is active 365 days a year with automotive testing, club events, racing schools, corporate events and other activities.

Conveniently located adjacent to the Sebring Regional Airport, it is less than 100 miles from Tampa, Orlando, West Palm Beach and Sarasota.”



·         “Sebring International Raceway is a 3.7 mile, 17-turn circuit. It is the Oldest road course in North America, portions of which were originally a WWII B-17 training base.

·         3,360 cars have started the 12 Hours of Sebring, covering over 2.3 million miles on the famous circuit.

·         102 drivers have won the 12 Hours of Sebring. Thirty-nine drivers from the USA have won, more than any other country.

·         Audi has won Sebring eight consecutive years.

·         In 2008, the 57th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring presented By Fresh From Florida received 170,800 spectators.

·         Steve McQueen, James Brolin, Gene Hackman, Craig T. Nelson, Paul Newman and Patrick Dempsey are among the many entertainers who have driven at Sebring.”


Overall Winners Since 1999







Tom Kristensen
JJ Lehto
Jörg Müller

BMW Motorsport


1863.781 km


Frank Biela
Tom Kristensen
Emanuele Pirro

Audi Sport North America

Audi R8

2143.646 km


Rinaldo Capello
Michele Alboreto
Laurent Aïello

Audi Sport North America

Audi R8

2203.192 km


Rinaldo Capello
Christian Pescatori
Johnny Herbert

Audi Sport North America

Audi R8

2060.282 km


Frank Biela
Marco Werner
Philipp Peter

Infineon Team Joest

Audi R8

2185.328 km


Allan McNish
Frank Biela
Pierre Kaffer

Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx

Audi R8

2084.101 km


JJ Lehto
Marco Werner
Tom Kristensen

ADT Champion Racing

Audi R8

2149.601 km


Tom Kristensen
Allan McNish
Rinaldo Capello

Audi Sport North America

Audi R10 TDI

2078.145 km


Frank Biela
Emanuele Pirro
Marco Werner

Audi Sport North America

Audi R10 TDI

2165.8 km


Timo Bernhard
Romain Dumas
Emmanuel Collard

Penske Racing

Porsche RS Spyder

2088.45 km


Weather experts are in agreement that the 57th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida will be run under mostly sunny skies with temperatures near 80 degrees. America’s oldest and most prestigious endurance race takes the green flag at 10:30 am on Saturday, March 21st.

Long-range forecasts show mild temperatures and a very low percentage chance of rain the entire four-day event.


Sebring International Raceway


Complete Entry List 

Sebring Hall Of Fame Inductees


A History of the Sebring 12 Hours


 My personal view is that the new Audi R15 is going to do very well. I predict that the Joest Audi of Capello, McNish and Kristensen will beat the Peugeots whilst the Acura looks so far to be a big disappointment. I expect that the R15 is much faster than the old Audi R10 which defeated the Peugeots at Le Mans in June and I expect them to be the fastest cars in the race, but as has been proven in endurance racing several times, the fastest cars do not always win. There is the possibility that the Audis are too new and may not last the distance, in which case the Peugeots should be able to pick up the crumbs. 

Audi R15

Posted: February 15, 2009 in Le Mans, Motorsport, Sport
Tags: , ,

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.

Audi R15 Tdi First Picture

Posted: February 14, 2009 in Le Mans, Motorsport, Sport
Tags: , ,

Here’s the first picture of Audi’s new Le Mans challenger, the R15 Tdi.

At first sight it looks a little like a cross between the R8 and the R10.

For pictures of Audi’s past Le Mans challengers click here.
For a picture of a concept drawing of what one of Audi’s designers guessed the car would look like according to the proposed (but now scrapped) Le Mans rules for 2009 click here.

2010_r15_tdiLast year designer  Kim Stapleton made a picture of what he believed the Audi R15 may look like, based on the proposed 2010 design rules that have now been scrapped and also on the R8 and R10.


From the Fourtitude website.

You may remember the name Kim Stapleton as the designer behind Audi F1 renderings that this website featured earlier in the year. An architect by day, the Australian also has a passion for Audis as expemplified with works like his imagined Audi F1 design and now an illustration of Ingolstadt’s potential Le Mans future according to rules being adopted by the ACO that will mandate a closed cockpit car by 2010.

After almost two months of design and construction, Stapleton is now ready to share his Audi R15 TDI Coupe Concept projected for the ALMS, Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

With the newly adopted rules change requiring a closed-top design, the current R10 design will be obsolete. The regulations also encourage a specified front-end design that features both the manufacturers’ street car brand design and badge.


For the design, Stapleton drew inspiration from many existing vehicles including the R10, along with the R8, R8C, R8 production car, Bentley Speed 8, Mercedes-Benz CLR GT and the Audi RS4. Much of the design language was pulled directly from the R10, which is evident in the side elevations and the rear spoiler details.

From there, Stapleton took the approach of merging a contemporary Audi street vehicles with this base R10 form, which in the end seems to harken back to the era of GT1 class designs in the late 90’s. He made a conscious effort to stay away from excessive aero packages (i.e. modern F1 designs) as he felt this compromised the clean lines of both the current R10 and the Audi street range.

Some of the other key features of the design include the use of Bio-Diesel, energy saving lights and the inclusion of a kinetic energy recovery system (K.E.R.S.) – a regenerating brake device that recovers and stores wasted heat energy from the brakes in a supercapacitor to be used as additional power by the drivers.


The design was box-modeled in 3ds max and rendered using Vray. The poly count is around 300,000 for those who care. Stapleton admits he had been thinking of attempting such a design for almost a year now, though only now managed to force himself to complete the project in the past few months. Even guessing the sheer number of hours spent on the project scares him a bit.

Kim's imagined Audi F1 design.

Kim's imagined Audi F1 design.

The design looks a bit liked a closed top version of the Cadillac LMP1 that was racing about 8 years ago or even a Ford C100 of the early 80s. We do know that the car will now be open. It will be interesting to see if there is any resemblance at all to Kim’s design.