Audi is celebrating a hat-trick of wins in 24-hour races in one year, for the second time.
Having scored a 13th Le Mans 24 Hour race victory with the hybrid diesel Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Audi has gone on to win the Nürburgring and Spa 24 Hour races with the Audi R8 LMS ultra GT3 this summer.
Audi R18 e-tron quattro
At Le Mans in June, Audi’s victorious hybrid sportscar used 22% less fuel per 100 kilometres than the winning 2013 R18 e-tron quattro. Since the TDI era began in racing in 2006 – when Audi became the first manufacturer to win at Le Mans with a diesel-engined sportscar – there has been a 38% reduction in fuel consumption.
In 2014, Audi also celebrates 25 years of TDI technology in its road cars. At the 1989 Frankfurt motor show, Audi presented its ground-breaking 100 TDI, the first ever direct injection turbo diesel with fully electronic management. The latest ‘ultra’ models champion efficiency in the A4, A5, A6 and newly-revised A7 Sportback model ranges with engines that all comply with EU6 emissions standards.
Up to 67.3mpg is achievable on a combined cycle in A4 and A5 TDI ultra versions, corresponding to CO2 output as low as 109g/km. Despite impressive thrift, performance is very much business as usual – 0-62mph is accounted for in 8.3 seconds in the 163PS A4 Saloon and A5 Coupe on the way to a 140mph top speed.
In the executive class, A6 Saloon and Avant models featuring the particularly frugal 64.2mpg 190PS TDI ultra unit can be ordered in any specification without restriction, from SE up to the extensively equipped Black Edition.
After LED headlights with matrix beam technology had made their way from the Audi R18 e-tron quattro into production cars a year ago, the new Audi laser light was the most recent innovation to be tested at Le Mans and is now initially available to customers as standard in a limited edition model – the new Audi R8 LMX. Notable as the fastest ever road-going R8, the 570PS V10 super sports car blasts past 62mph in just 3.4 seconds and on to a 198mph top speed.
With 13 victories in 16 events, Audi has increased its Le Mans success rate to 81 per cent. No other car manufacturer in the history of the race that has been held since 1923 has clinched such a large number of winners’ trophies in such a short time. With also a second place at Le Mans, Audi has now achieved 31 top-three finishes in the twice-around-the-clock French race since the Company’s 1999 debut.
Just a week after Le Mans, an R8 LMS ultra set a new distance record in the Nürburgring 24 Hours around the infamous 15.16-mile Nordschleife, otherwise known as the “Green Hell”. For the first time ever, the winning car covered more than 2,500-miles – the victorious Audi completing 2,507.3 miles in the German race. A further two of the V10 mid-engined GT3 class sportscars were placed in the top-10.
More recently, the German manufacturer repeated its 2012 domination of winning the three main 24 hour motor races in Europe when an Audi won the Spa 24 hours in Belgium. In a battle involving 11 marques and 60 participants, the R8 LMS ultra prevailed for the third time in four years in the classic race in the Ardennes that celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. A further two Audi sportscars finished inside the top-four.
Audi R8 LMS
The Audi R8 LMS race car’s current sporting record includes 23 international championship titles worldwide after only five years of competition. An impressive tally of seven overall wins in 24hr races (2 at the Nürburgring, 3 at Spa, 2 at Zolder), three overall wins in 12 hour races (2 at Bathurst, 1 in Hungary) and three Macau GT Cup wins have been achieved.
The next WEC race is at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas next month (20 September).