After a dramatic race, Audi celebrated its twelfth overall victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The number two Audi R18 e-tron quattro was the first car to cross the finish line following a turbulent course of the race with constantly changing weather conditions. Tom Kristensen had the honor of driving the final stint. The Dane, who even before was the record winner at Le Mans, celebrated his ninth success at the epic French endurance race. For Allan McNish, this marked the third and for the Frenchman Loïc Duval, who had driven the car onto the pole position, the first triumph. Third place was clinched by Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gené and Oliver Jarvis in the #3 Audi e-tron quattro. Last year’s winners Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer finished the 81st running of the endurance race in fifth place.
|24h Le Mans
|Lap record (race)||Loïc Duval, Peugeot (2010, 3m 19,074s, 246,463 km/h)|
|Pole position 2013||Loïc Duval, Audi (3m 22,349s)|
|Fastest lap 2013||André Lotterer, Audi (3m 22,746s, 242,0 km/h)|
|Winners 2013||Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (Audi)|
During a turbulent night with numerous incidents, safety car periods and rain the Audi team had to suffer set-backs as well. After six race laps all three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars had still been leading the field. At 21:43, car #1 headed for the pits due to a defective generator. The necessary exchange of the unit cost last year’s winners eleven laps. In 24th place, the race was resumed and the team started a remarkable recovery during the course of which André Lotterer set the so far fastest race lap of 3m 22.746s.
The team in the #3 Audi suffered misfortune as well. After a collision with an LMP2 car in which he was not at fault, Oliver Jarvis spun in front of the Dunlop corner. In the incident, his Audi also suffered a puncture. Jarvis took the car back to the pits where Marc Gené took over driving duties. A little later, the Spaniard used another safety car period to pit for having body damage repaired which had resulted from the puncture on the #3 Audi. The #2 Audi on the other hand made it through the night with no problems and raced into the new day as the overall leader.
At the start of the race, André Lotterer in the #1 Audi took the lead from grid position two and did not relinquish it in the early phase. After only three laps, the safety car was deployed for the first time because a GT car had had an accident. During the repair of the guard rail the 81st running of the 24-hour race was neutralized for nearly one hour. After the re-start, the three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars set the pace at the front of the field.
A few minutes ago, the legendary 24-hour race at Le Mans was started. Its 90-year history, the high-speed character of the race track and the fact that large parts of the circuit are normal country roads outside of the race weekend, make up the special fascination of this tradition-steeped race. Like no other brand, Audi, since its debut in 1999, has been shaping the race with its victories and numerous technological innovations. This year, the brand with the four rings is aiming to clinch an amazing twelfth victory at what is arguably the toughest circuit race worldwide. Audi is fielding three Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid race cars that are starting the race from the first three positions on the grid.
Audi sets yet another milestone in the 24-hour race at Le Mans. The three Audi R18 e-tron quattro prototypes occupy the first three grid positions after the three qualifying sessions for the legendary endurance classic. As result, two racecars with hybrid drive fill the first two places on the grid for the first time in the race’s 90-year history. The Audi with start number two starts the race from pole position. The time of 3m 22.349s, which the Frenchman Loïc Duval had already set in first qualifying, remained unbeaten. André Lotterer clinched second place on the grid for the team in Audi #1. The Spaniard Marc Gené recorded the third fastest time in Audi #3.
Only a few days to go before Audi battles for its twelfth victory at Le Mans. Maximum attack around the clock for the 15th time. The greatest challenger is Toyota. Audi faces its rival with optimized aerodynamics on the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. With this and further improvements made to the three diesel hybrid sports cars, the endurance World Champions Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer target their third successive Le Mans victory. Fans can follow the race live here online, including onboard footage and much more.
For the first time Audi Sport Team Joest entered the especially developed longtail version of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro at the French track. During the test the team concentrated on testing various aerodynamic set-up versions. Because of the changing conditions the drivers only could use slick tyres in the final part of the eight hour session. With them Loïc Duval set the quickest time of the day. In positions two and three two further Audi followed. With the fourth Audi R18 e-tron quattro Marco Bonanomi tested the new for 2014 narrower LMP1 Michelin tyres.
This record is genuinely impressive: Audi joined the grid at the 24-hour race in Le Mans for the first time in 1999. Since then, the Audi Sport team from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm has won the endurance classic in France ten times in 14 starts. With the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, the brand with the four rings scored the first victory for a hybrid racecar in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Furthermore, Audi won the new FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and is thus the first World Champion in history with a hybrid sports car. No other manufacturer can boast such a resounding record of victories in such a short space of time in the race held since 1923.
In the process, Audi also repeatedly sets technological milestones. The victorious Audi R8 in 2001 was equipped for the first time with a TFSI engine with gasoline direct injection. In 2006, a diesel powered car in the form of the Audi R10 TDI took victory at the Sarthe for the first time. Audi triumphed in 2011 with the innovative R18 TDI thanks, in part, to ultra lightweight design and construction and the extremely compact and efficient V6 TDI engine.
Audi starts the WEC as defending champion in 2013. Audi Sport Team Joest competes with a brace of further developed Audi R18 e-tron quattro prototypes. For the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the WEC race at Spa, which once again acts as a "dress rehearsal” for Le Mans, an additional R18 e-tron quattro joins the grid.
Quite probably the world’s most famous endurance race was first held for the first time in May 1923. Today part of the circuit still includes normal roads along which regular traffic runs apart from during race weekends. On the Hunaudières, the longest straight to be found on any race circuit in the world, the sport prototypes reach speeds well over 300 km/h. However, during the course of its 13 kilometers the circuit also has challenging corners like, for example, the Porsche combination.