Audi Face “Difficult Task” With New R18 at Le Mans


The was a single bump during Audi's time in scrutineering (Credit: Audi Motorsport)

Audi completed their pre-24 Hours of Le Mans preparations with a largely trouble-free traverse through scrutineering at at Place de la Republique in the city.

“It was a great start to this year’s Le Mans week,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audi Motorsport. “You can simply feel the enthusiasm of the people for this special race.” 

Audi have three all-new R18 e-tron Quattro ready to take on this weekend’s race and their rivals from Toyota and new LMP1 arrival Porsche.

“More and more manufacturers are involved with sports car commitments. These are great days for endurance racing,” said nine time Le Mans Tom Kristensen. “Even after so many victories we greatly respect this race – but there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m driving for the world’s best team.”

Kristensen will share the #1 car with Loic Duval and Brazilian Lucas di Grassi. The trio of Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer remain together in driving the #2 car while Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis and Le Mans debutant Filipe Albuquerque staffing the #3.

Albuquerque experienced the sole issue of Audi’s passage through scrutineering when a camera fell onto his head from a photographers’ gantry. Fortunately the Portuguese returned to the track with only a bump on his head. No update was given by Audi about the state of the camera involved.

The trio of R18 boast the most fuel efficient drive train of the three manufacturers who will compete for overall victory. The team put the exact number of litres of fuel saved as 6.16 per 100km, raising the possibility that the Audis will each consume nearly 320 litres less than their rivals should the race match its 2012 distance of 378 laps.

However, with officials balancing energy allocation and fuel flow rates of the different competing cars and technologies Audi numerical advantage is reduced on the race track.

“Audi has arguably never before faced such a difficult task at Le Mans as this year,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of Audi for Technical Development. “The current rating means that the efficiency advantages based on the principle of the TDI engine no longer suffice to also achieve an advantage across the racing distance. Still, we’re taking on this challenge in order to demonstrate our technological expertise. More than ever before, the perfect showing by a cohesive team will be crucial at Le Mans.”

Track activity for the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans begins on Wednesday June 11 with free practice and the first of three qualifying sessions.

www.theCheckeredFlag.co.uk will have full coverage of the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, featuring hour-by-hour reports throughout the race itself.