Audi Tech Wins @ Le Mans

Audi—again—won the 24-hour race at Le Mans yesterday.

Audi—again—won the 24-hour race at Le Mans yesterday. Marcel Fässler (Switzerland), André Lotterer (Germany) and Benoît Tréluyer (France) piloted an Audi R18 TDI, number 2, to victory; it is the 10th victory in 13 years.

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"It was a fantastic triumph of Audi ultra-lightweight technology in extreme conditions,” commented Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Management Board of AUDI AG.

So how light? The car is 4,650-mm long, 2,000-mm wide, 1,030-mm wide, and weighs a mere 950 kg.

The chassis is constructed with a combination of carbon-fiber and aluminum honeycomb materials.

The car is diesel-powered. Audi was the first company to win the race with a diesel; it occurred in 2006. The engine is a 120° V6 with four valves per cylinder double-overhead cam; it is turbocharged with Garrett technology.

While the car started on the pole, the two other Audi R18 TDIs were knocked out of the race within the first third of the race due to accidents. The first accident was experienced by Allan McNish who had his left rear wheel hit by a GT car; his car, in the LaChappelle section of the track, spun off the track, hit the track barrier and filled. McNish was able to climb out of the wreck.

Driver Mike Rockenfeller also had the left rear wheel of his car hit while he was running at 300 km/h. The car turned left and hit the guard rails at 270 km/h at the entrance to the Indianapolis turn. He, too, was able to climb out.

Audi Motorsports have concluded that the carbon fiber monocoque they developed for the R18 TDI was responsible for the ability for both drivers to sustain no injuries as a result of their accidents.

"Audi ultra technology has passed an extreme acid test this weekend,” said head of Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich after car #2 crossed the finish line.