Tag - Le Mans

Preview: 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans – Live Coverage & More

The grid has been set for tomorrow’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with two Audi R18 TDIs occupying the front row.  The #2 Audi R18 TDI  (Tréluyer / Lotterer / Fassler) sits on pole position with a time of 3:25.738 set by Benoit  Tréluyer in the last minutes of the final qualifying session.   Next to them in P2 is the #1 Audi R18 TDI (Bernhard / Dumas / Rockenfeller) with a time of 3:25.799.

The Peugeot Sport 908s had a strong showing as well and sit just behind the leading Audis with the #9 Team Peugeot Total 908 ( Bourdais / Pagenaud / Lamy) in P3 with a 3:26.010 and the #8 Peugeot Sport Total 908 ( Sarrazin / Montagny/ Minassian ) in P4 with a 3:26.156.  The #3 Audi R18 TDI (Kristensen / Capello / McNish) and #7 Peugeot 908 (Davidson / Gene / Wurz) round out the 3rd row.  Only a mere .534 second separate the P1 and the P6 qualifying times.

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Audi R18 TDI Bests Peugeot’s 908 at Le Mans Test Day

 Audi R18 photos courtesy Audi Sport

Though there were many stories to come out of the 2011 Le Mans testing day, all eyes were on the Audisport with their new R18 prototype and Peugeot with their new 908.  This was the first time these two Le Mans juggernauts were on track at the same time with their two new protype racers.  Audi’s R18 was consistantly faster in testing than the the new Peugeot 908 with Audi Sport North America’s Tom Kristensen setting the quickest overall lap of 3:27.687 in the #3 R18.  Stephane Sarrazin ran the best time for Peugeot with a 3:27.876.

Due to the new regulations imposed by the ACO with more focus on aerodynamics and less on power, the best laptimes were almost 9 seconds off from the 2011 pole time of 3:18.711 set by Sebastien Bourdais in the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP.

The first race pitting the Audi R18 and Peugeot 908 head-to-head happens May 7th at the 1000 Kilometres of Spa-Francorchamp, which is also the second round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.  Given that both teams were relatively close in Le Mans testing, the first race should be an exciting one.

RESULTS:
Session 1:
1: Audi R18 TDI no.1, 3’27’’900, 50 laps
2: Audi R18 TD1 no.2, 3’28’’503, 38 laps
3: Audi R18 TD1 no.3, 3’30’’382, 45 laps
4: Peugeot 908 no.8 (Sarrazin, Davidson), 3’30”516, 43 laps
5: Peugeot 908 no.7 (Minassian, Gene), 3’32”549, 59 laps
6: Peugeot 908 no.9 (Wurz, Bourdais), 3’32”578, 32 laps

Full Audi R18 Le Mans Test Day Photo Gallery After The Jump

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Audi Unveils the new R18 TDI Le Mans Prototype

After a 2010 Le Mans season that Audi Sport would rather forget, they are back for 2011 with this all-new Audi R18 TDI prototype.   Powered by a 3.7-liter V6 TDI, Audi hopes that the diesel powered R18 does a much better job fighting the Peugeots off than the R15 and R15 Plus did.  Audi says that the chassis and aerodynamics package contains the best features and know-how of the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI.  As with the Acura prototypes, Audi has fitted the R18 with identically sized front and rear wheels.  Audi says this helps maintain a more balanced weight distribution.

Audi will field three Audi R18 cars at Le Mans under Audi Sport Team Joest, as well as campaigning the R18 in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup for a total of seven endurance races in 2011.  Because the car is still very much under development, Audi will be sending two R15 TDI Plus cars to Sebring to compete in the first round of the ILMC, and plans are for the R18 to make its debut at the Spa-Francorchamps 6 hour endurance on May 8th, 2011.  The R18 TDI will make it’s only North American appearance for 2011 at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on October 1st, 2011. 

We wish the Audi Sport team all the luck and congratulate them on building this absolutely sinister looking prototype.  We can’t wait to see the R18 TDI run at Petit Le Mans next year! 

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