It used to a major event in a teenager’s life when they earned their right to drive an automobile on public roads. Though the far-reaching capacity of mobile computer technology for items such as smartphones and tablets have contributed to the open road being less sought-after of today’s youth, it appears soon the an Audi vehicle will decide it can drive itself taking you along as a passenger.
In a recent announcement delivered as part of a presentation at the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, a unique Audi configured with sensors and with the capacity to compute decisions previously left to a motorist has graduated to a pivotal step in advancing driverless cars. The specially equipped Audi TTS becomes the second autonomously piloted vehicle to be rewarded with a “driver’s license” for the state of Nevada. Though technology company Google awarded the first such license to a driverless vehicle, Audi celebrates their vehicle‘s operating permit as being the first acquired by a venture involving direct involvement from an original equipment manufacturer in the automotive sector.
In partnership with Stanford University, Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab have jointly outfitted an Audi TTS sports car with self-driving technology initially for a specialized challenge. Taking the vehicle to Pikes Peak Colorado in 2010, the driverless Audi TTS would negotiate the historic and tricky hill climb course. Consisting of 156 turns over a 12.42-mile stretch, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb course has been recorded as a test of drivers and machines since 1916. The pilot-less Audi TTS sports car’s was successful in completing the course in just 27 minutes. Equating to an average pace of 27.6-mile per hour, the Audi TTS mark comes nowhere close to effectively challenging the human-navigated winners for the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb of this past August. However, this should not take away from the fact the autonomous Audi TTS was nonetheless successful in its 12.42-mile journey.
Through their presentation at the 2013 CES, Audi’s plans for self-piloting driving and parking have become apparent. As the Audi TTS is awarded its license to operate on Nevada public roads, real-world evaluations of the self-driving electronics should produce some of the most desirable data on when some, if not all, elements of this experimental vehicle test bed will influence the next Audi products.
Information, photo and video source: Audi AG, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Purchasing the latest 2013 model vehicles, it seems that any car buyer should brace themselves to take a loss with every passing mile. However, as much as some of us attempt to believe that automobile ownership is not emotional, it definitely is emotional. Particularly a case with some Audi owners who have fallen in love with their German engineered machine, we’ll enjoy our quattro all-wheel drive or TDI engines as long as possible. However, the truth is that your beloved is susceptible to devaluing of the used car market. For Audi vehicle leasers want to purchase their car or crossover, you must contemplate the potential of spending more overall than an automobile is worth. Thankfully for an Audi owner, car lease deals are aided by the fact some vehicle models of the four-ring badge hold their value better than competitors.
In a 14th annual forecast published by the ALG (Automotive Lease Guide) shaped as the Residual Value Awards, one 2013 Audi product is expected to hold its resale market value better than every competing vehicle in its luxury car class. Recognized with an annual award for holding the highest rated in the Premium Midsized Utility Vehicle category, the Audi Q7 is predicted to retain an impressive residual value after a three-year ownership period. The ALG Residual Value Awards is assessed through a widespread forecast examining many elements that would contribute to the retention of higher resale value including previous vehicle history and the popularly of a vehicle in the current automotive sales industry to help compute possible product prices in the future.
While the Audi Q7 managed to grab a standalone category ALG Residual Value Award for the 2013 model year, the recent results also paints a positive picture for the Germany luxury car division as a whole. Audi is rated third among premium automobile brands after a two-year gap of residual value. Behind ALG’s top rated premium brand Acura and second-place Infiniti, Audi was able to beat last year’s category winner Lexus in the ranking.
The 14th running of the ALG Residual Value Award continues to show the Audi brand’s capability in the premium car category. Last year, Audi had received three awards for their 2012 model vehicles. The Audi Q7 was joined by the S5 coupe and A6 sedan on the previous Residual Value Awards listing.
Promising information to know for someone looking into buying an Audi product or considering buying out lease cars, the residual value study shows that desirability will give justification to your quattro love.
Information source: ALG
Photo source: Audi AG
Heading into the final run for the year that was 2012, the future regarding sports car competitions measured in hours has been a focus of announcements by Audi. Activities surrounding the Audi R18 e-tron quattro prototype race car set again to be the premium car brand’s focus in 2013. A three-car effort at the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans will be part of another endeavour into the full FIA WEC (World Endurance Championship) schedule.
For United States Audi customers and fans, loyalists will be awarded with another season of competition on the horizon in coming months.
Audi R18 e-tron quattro Doubles Up on US Appearances in 2013
The United States stint of the 2012 season was highlighted with the Audi R18 TDI cruising to victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The triumph by driving team of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello was the 10th time since 2000 that Audi claimed top honours at the Sebring International Raceway. In the case of 2012, the Sebring 12-hour win supplied momentum that allowed Audi Sport Team Joest to not only take the 24 Hours of Le Mans but the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship’s LM class title.
The past few years, the technological prototype effort from Audi Sport Team Joest was sparsely featured on North American soil. Showing up for only the 2012 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring as part of the FIA WEC, the Audi R18 LMP1 category machines will return to Sebring with an updated version of the e-tron quattro diesel-electric hybrid on somewhat a bittersweet note for March 16th of 2013.
Indications the 2013 Sebring race could be last for the Audi prototype effort as the Grand-Am Series and American Le Mans Series will form a new sports car championship in 2014. Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich suggested, “We’d really like to use this chance and say goodbye to the fans with a nice showing after our fantastic success story in recent years.”. Bringing some much-needed relief to a rather somber declaration regarding competition at Sebring, a 2013 WEC date added to the Austin, Texas Circuit of the Americas on September 22nd. The goodbye could also be premature depending on the structure of the 2014 North American Sports Car Championship. It is possible the class rules could extend an olive branch to the high-tech prototype racers.
Audi R8 Grand-Am Car Reloaded for 2013 Campaign
In Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, 2012 marked the debut of a customer team driven effort in the tour’s GT category with the Audi R8 Grand Am racer. Converting the Audi R8 LMS competition car to conform to the Grand-Am class vehicle regulations, a rather toilsome debut at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona did provide valuable notes used to improve the R8 Grand Am sports car’s effort continuing through the 2012 season. At the season finale race at Lime Rock Park, the #51 APR Motorsport fielded Audi R8 Grand-Am finished a close second-place in the GT class.
Progress from 2012 is giving optimism that the 2013 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series could result in the Audi R8 being a more consistent force for the GT category. As of late December, the entry list for the 2013 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona have to Audi customer effort consisting of four cars. APR Motorsport has a two-car team while there will also be single Audi R8 entrants from Rum Bum Racing and Alex Job Racing will compete in the daylong race in late January.
The growing sales of Audi road cars in North America compels the German auto brand to make a memorable impact on the upcoming United States races in 2013. When the auto racing season commences, it will be up to the drivers and crews behind the Audi R18 e-tron quattro as well as the Audi R8 Grand-Am car to make the hours of 2013 count.
Information source: Audi AG, FIA, Grand-Am
Photo source: Audi AG, Grand-Am
Other than “quattro“, an eye-catching badge many Audi buyers relish is “TDI“. A trademark shared across the Volkswagen and Audi cars, the turbocharged diesel engine become a fixture of the German luxury car brand in 1989. Finding the most effective market penetration in European where the high cost of gasoline has led to diesels selling as superiors on sale charts, dedicated Audi buyers in North America have given the TDI engined products a courteous welcome for over 20 years.
Thanks to Volkswagen Group’s immediate push with clean diesel technology that was introduced to production Audis in 2009, the TDI badge has retained a respected presence on the luxury car line (even in the United States). While many of the German luxury car brand’s 2013 model year products have lost their TDI versions, take solace in the knowledge that the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show presentation for Audi has clean diesel technology preparing to flourish.
Just in time for the 2013 calendar year as well as a future where governments are expecting improved fleet-wide fuel economy and better emissions, Audi has a drastically revised their 3.0 TDI powerplant. A clean diesel powerplant with electronic controls that can make 2,000 decisions per second, the newly developed 3.0 TDI V6 has many notes of optimism for Audi diesel fans. Debuting on the 2013 model year Audi Q7 crossover vehicle that has been for sale since September, the new 3.0 TDI six-cylinder engine boasts a well-rounded improvement on the previous diesel powerplant. Weighing 55 pounds less than its predecessor (also a 3-liter six-cylinder powerplant), Audi’s 3.0 TDI is more bountiful on the power department. Finding an additional 15 horsepower, the 2013 Audi Q7 TDI is on even footing in that department with the Mercedes-Benz ML 350 BlueTEC diesel.
Coaxing added efficiency from their TDI engine design, the additional horsepower of the 3.0 liter turbocharged diesel powerplant is also married with crucial advancements in fuel economy and emissions. Audi’s new generation 3.0 TDI V6 is measured to provide fuel efficiency of 18 miles per gallon city and 28 miles per gallon highway. In combined city/highway driving, an additional three miles per gallon is possible with the 2013 Audi Q7 over the previous year’s model (Recorded by Audi as a 12 percent improvement). Complying with stricter diesel emissions criteria, Audi’s new 3.0 TDI is also slated to emit 30 percent less carbon dioxide than a near equal gasoline engine.
Premiering on the Q7, Audi’s appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show will unveil A6, A7, A8 and Q5 variants powered by the 3.0 TDI V6 engine for the 2014-model year. The Audi A8 TDI will be the next model due to hit showrooms in spring of 2013. The remaining A6, A7 and Q5 will be added to the North American line-up in the fall of next year. Since the Audi Q7 is Audi’s heaviest production vehicle, better fuel economy will be possible from the assortment of 2014 model year vehicles. For the 2014 Audi A8 sedan, the new 3.0 TDI engine will provide average combined fuel consumption at 25 miles per gallon.
The TDI engine in North American Audi products appears alive and well into the future. Defeating diesel engine stigma in extreme ways with the Audi SQ5 (not currently available in North America), the four-ring emblem is intent to constantly reaffirm their TDI as a piece of machinery that can deliver premium quality performance with remarkable fuel efficiency.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Reigning as perhaps the true kick-off to the international indoor auto show blitz for major automakers, the Paris Motor Show in 2012 allowed several premium car manufacturer to show off their latest technology to the world. Audi’s 2012 Paris Motor Show presentation is anchored by a concept to what the brand says will be the shape of upcoming production crossover vehicles. Revealing the versatility of a crossover with the refinement of a sports car, the Audi Crosslane Coupé is an invoking shape of the past and future.
A two-door, two-seat concept crossover creation, the Audi Crosslane Coupé casts a sporty appearance that could be squarely aimed at the Range Rover Evoque. Wearing a front end design mirroring that introduced to Audi’s car fleet which includes the A4 and A6, the Crosslane Coupé is radically defined by long, deep hood openings The rear roof pillar of the Audi Crosslane Coupé invokes the 1980s-1990s Audi Ur-Quattro as well as the concept tribute concept car Audi built several years back. Unique to the Crosslane Coupe is the targa top-like roof panel.
The Audi Crosslane Coupé concept vehicle provocative exterior design is made possible by the combination of aluminum, carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) and fiberglass. Applied to a degree rarely seen in production crossover vehicles, CFRP is prominently featured in the front and rear structure of the Audi Crosslane Coupé as well as in the floor components. Fiberglass is also put to use on the surface of Audi concept vehicle. Impressively for a crossover vehicle, overall weight of the Audi Crosslane Coupé is only 3,064 pounds through the application of careful engineering.
As well as showcasing the future direction of Audi crossover vehicle styling, the Crosslane Coupé concept also provides a forward look to drivetrain technology. Featuring a small 1.5 liter version of their TFSI gasoline engine formula, the Audi Crosslane Coupé internal combustion power is aligned with two electric motors. Coupled to the TFSI engine, the electric motor 1 (EM 1) is designed to function as both an alternator, starter and has the capacity of providing a 68 horsepower kick to the Audi Crosslane Coupé when needed. A more powerful 116-horsepower electric motor (EM 2) is meant to operate the crossover vehicle in full electric mode. Supplied by a large lithium-ion battery, the Crosslane Coupé can roll with full electric power for over 34 miles at speeds up to 80.78 miles per hour. A specialized transmission insures a smooth transition among the dual-mode hybrid powertrain that Audi boasts could deliver almost 214 miles per gallon fuel consumption. The Crosslane Coupé is yet another example of Audi’s great vision for electrified vehicles in their concept fleet. However, despite the popularity of e-Tron exhibition vehicles, the Audi production fare remains (for the moment) isolated to less ambitious electric-assist hybrid cars. We are still awaiting a production creation from one of Audi’s many appearances at auto shows of advanced electrified vehicles.
Driver programmable “cruise” and “race” settings cater the Audi Crosslane Coupé feel to a particular driving mood. Electrified driving is empathized in cruise mode while the race mode heightens the performance characteristics of the Audi crossover vehicle.
Lavish use of CFRP along with aluminum pieces is used for the Audi Crosslane Coupé’s interior design. Presenting an atmosphere similar to a sophisticated sports car, the two-zone colouring coupled with the extensive metallic-like surfacing is quite a lively spectacle. Leather seats are placed within range of various controls and displays to provide comfort settings as well as an in-depth perspective of the Audi Crosslane Coupé’s operation. Audi connect internet connectivity is also available in the concept crossover’s interior. A Unique feature called “Escape Manager” allows the passenger of the Audi Crosslane Coupé to comment on road routes referencing the conditions to friends and family.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
The 2012 DTM season has not be the runaway year Audi Motorsports may have wanted with the debut of the A5 body in competition.
Racing against ongoing foe Mercedes-Benz and aggressive resurgence of BMW, Audi’s 2012 campaign has not netted the yield of victories the Four Rings are used to in the popular German-based series. With Audi drivers in 2011 scoring victories all but two of the DTM series rounds en route to a 2011 constructor championship as well as driver championship honours with Martin Tomczyk, the teams under the automaker’s banner have only two wins in 2012. While the Audi teams competing the A5 DTM car were outwit by the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and the BMW M3 on the race weekend’s overall honours, a secret battle has been fought with the latest Valencia round proving pivotal to their season-long plan.
On the just over 4-kilometer long course in Valencia, Spain, the penultimate round of the 2012 DTM series involved a wacky string of events that greatly aided Audi’s chance at claiming the constructor championship. Though the 46-lap event ended up being won by series rookie Augusto Farfus driving a BMW M3 and BMW Team RBM, a squad of Audi A5s collected some important results that came with championship points. Adrien Tambay for Audi Sport Team Abt and Mattias Ekstrom driving the Red Bull-sponsored A5 for Abt Sportsline were on the podium at Valencia. The second place for Frenchman Tambay is personal-best in his initial season driving the DTM cars. Ekstrom’s third place run is his eighth top-10 in nine races on the 2012 calendar (Only Jamie Green for Mercedes AMG have scored points in every round this season).
Cementing two of three podium finishes, the Audi A5 DTM machines took five of the top ten spots at Valencia. Piloting a car for Team Rosberg, Filipe Albuquerque finished fourth ahead of the Team Phoenix Audi A5 of Mike Rockenfeller. Coming across the line in 7th place, Swiss driver Rahel Frey netted her first DTM series points after two seasons on the tour driving the Audi Sport Team Abt A5 car. In total, Audi teams captured 61 points.
With the Valencia points haul, Audi has been elevated 31 points ahead of Mercedes-Benz heading into the 10th and final round on the 2012 DTM schedule. The Valencia race proved particularly costly when Mercedes-Benz’s only point-scoring entrant Jamie Green left with a single point. On October 21st, the Audi teams will mount their last stand of the 2012 DTM with the series finale at the Hockenheimring. While the constructor points standings leave all three car make in a position to snatch the manufacturer honours, Audi is anxious to repeat.
Information source: Audi AG, DTM
Photo source: Audi AG
Propelling the Audi division to new heights of recognition in the luxury car class, the road-going version R8 supercar was just the ingredient needed for the German brand’s ultimate thrust into becoming a global player. After more than a decade where fans of the four-ring badge were begging to see quattro drive and Audi’s technologically driven engineering, the R8 Coupe’s introduction in 2007 was an instant hit. The rollout of the Audi R8 Spyder for 2010 as a 2011 model year only sweetened the decedent taste of the supercar. In truth sharing many components with the Italian-badged Lamborghini Gallardo, the Audi R8’s ability to create a distinct personality for itself has given it a fierce roar in the face of fellow home country rivals Porsche 911 and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Tweaking their halo car for 2013, the Audi R8 package receives a gentle retuning.
Is it a reinvention of the Audi R8 supercar? No. In fact, the changes to the exterior are largely negligible to the 2012 model. A mild retouch to the front grille offers additional detail to the R8’s air intakes. The one major expression of advancement in 2013 is the range-wide implementation of the all-LED headlamps. The highly responsive lighting is also found towards the rear of the 2013 Audi R8 vehicles. A factory-installed carbon fiber front splitter is optional on the standard 2013 Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder models.
According to Audi announcement for their 2013 models of the R8 V8 versions, the standard wheels will be downgraded to 18-inches from 19 inches equipped on the 2012 car. The 19-inch wheels will be included on the V10 variants of the Audi R8 for 2013. The braking system on the vehicle has been reworked to reduce almost 4.5 pounds without sacrificing stopping performance.
For the performance of movement, the 430-horsepower 4.2 FSI V-8 and the 525-horsepower 5.2 liter V-10 powerplants return to availability in both the Coupe as well as the Spyder models of the Audi R8 for 2013. Trusted in transferring the 430-horsepower through the Audi R8 V8’s quattro all-wheel drive system will be a standard 6-speed manual gearbox. For 2013, a new 7-speed S tronic transmission has been added as optional on the V8 and standard on the V10 models of the Audi R8. Providing an additional gear over the previous S tronic gearbox found in the R8 supercar, the 7-speed allows darts from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds with the V10 Coupe.
The biggest addition in 2013 comes as a ‘plus’ to Audi R8 buyers. A 550-horsepower propelled top model, the new Audi R8 V10 plus model is almost the equal of the current R8 GT. In acceleration from 0 to 62 miles per hour, the Audi V10 plus model storms in 3.5 seconds with the 7-speed S tronic transmission. A 6-speed manual is also available with the V10 plus model sacrificing acceleration for a higher top speed of 198 miles per hour. The performance-loaded, 550-horsepower supercar package also includes carbon fiber front splitter, mirrors and for the engine compartment area. A specially tuned suspension system designed to help drivers master the Audi R8 plus while the occupants ride in sport bucket seats. The 2013 Audi R8 plus will only is available as a coupe. Inside, a Carbon Sigma inlays is standard on the Audi R8 plus with personalization options also in reach for owners allowing their supercar to specifically speak to individual tastes.
United States pricing for the 2013 Audi R8 line is yet to be announced.
Information, video and photo source: Audi AG
While Volkswagen Group vehicles can be appreciated for their ergonomics and technology, the latest production products under the German company are not held in high regard for quality. Volkswagen and their premium sister brand Audi routinely rated below the average on the JD Power & Associates Initial Quality Study. However, for Volkswagen and Audi owners, this reality is one challenged aggressively by loyal motorists who are simply accepting their enchanted infatuation with a vehicle.
Affecting 13,172 vehicles built by the German auto company built from June 21st 2011 to December 9th 2011, the concern over the glass sunroof equipped on certain Audi Q5 crossovers. Through temperature changes, it was determined that the front glass roof panel could be prone to unexpected breakage. Caused through extreme variations in hot and cold temperatures, the glass can crack or even break. Resulting in a shattered glass sunroof, the falling pieces can potentially cut an occupant inside the Q5 crossover. If the sunroof breaks while the vehicle is in motion, chards of glass could distract the driver and cause a serious accident.
Volkswagen will contact owners of affected 2012 Audi Q5 vehicles and provide a free replacement glass sunroof panel. The service of this recall will take place in a little more than a month’s time on or about August 7th of this year.
The Audi Q5 recall is the fourth time the Volkswagen Group brand needed to correct an issue on a 2012 model year vehicle. A fuel issue on the TDI-powered A3, a potential head curtain airbag defect on the A6, and a possibility of a fuel leak on R8 Spyders brought Audi products back to dealerships for otherwise unscheduled service. In the case of the Audi A3 Clean Diesel TDI, the recall came after 2010 to 2012 model year vehicles and similar Volkswagen Golf models were investigated by the NHTSA for a leak.
The issue of recalls are usually thought to surround heavily mass-produced common automobiles or heavily high-tech cars. The Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt and the Fisker Karma are a few vehicles found on recall list at one time in 2012. However, Porsche’s new, highly-developed 911 sports car was one exotic car that demonstrated the complex construction of a vehicle is a product that requires special dedication to achieve greatness. Even with the Audi Q5 crossover recall, a frank, meaningful response demonstrates the first step to achieving quality.
Information source: NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Photo source: Audi AG
The ever-expanding range of performance edition Audi models is becoming a tantalizing treat to the European car lovers all over the world. Making use of the ‘S’ and ‘RS’ branding at a heightened frequency to corner the growing high performance models from Mercedes-Benz AMG division as well as BMW’s M line, Audi has been showing exceptional ambition in flourishing the go-fast attitude vehicles wearing the four-ring emblem. Creating coupes, convertibles, sedans and Avant wagons to match performance-seeking tastes, Audi’s latest venture with the S model badge is a departure from the current menu of vehicles.
Popularizing diesel as a performance engine ever since their R10 prototype sports car won the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi has been tempted to for a while to bring the technology to the street. Several years ago, much speculation surrounded a TDI version of the Audi R8 supercar but it never materialized. The first S model vehicle to feature one of Audi’s crossover vehicles has the basis for performance enhancements, the SQ5 will be most noteworthy as the premiere of TDI engine technology for this sport application. The Audi SQ5 will be powered by what will be the highest output TDI powerplant to be featured in the car brand‘s street-legal vehicle collection. Generating a forceful 313 horsepower, the Audi SQ5’s six-cylinder 3.0 TDI engine incorporates many touches for optimized diesel performance such as twin turbochargers. Compared to the Porsche Cayenne Diesel built by Audi’s VW Group sister brand, the SQ5 is 63 horsepower more powerful also pushed by 73 additional feet-pounds of torque.
The Audi SQ5’s hood, the 3.0 TDI performance diesel is joined to an 8-speed tiptronic gearbox. Channelled through Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive technology, the SQ5’s true nature comes with impressive acceleration. Launching from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 5.1 seconds, the diesel-powered Audi SQ5 is a formidable performer against even some performance V-8 crossover vehicles. A top speed of 155 miles per hour is obtainable with the Audi SQ5 crossover. Spinning 245/45 tires, 20-inch and optional 21-inch wheels circulate tied to a sport-tuned suspension system. With the Audi SQ5 quattro providing torque vectoring, the crossover vehicle is additionally controlled through an extra cost Audi select drive system that offers dynamic steering.
With the 313-horsepower 3.0 TDI powerplant mated to quattro drive provides the necessary physical prowess of an Audi S model vehicle, the next area of improvement to the Q5 is making the crossover look aggressive enough to earn a sport moniker. The trademark front Audi grille on the SQ5 is treated with a platinum gray to create the appearance of aluminum. The side mirror covered with aluminum-like detail complements a high gloss package around the windows on the Audi SQ5 crossover giving the vehicle a unique glimmer. Modified bumper covers and a rear spoiler completes the accentuation of the Audi SQ5 to its friskier character.
Playing along the similar styling theme of the exterior, the Audi SQ5 cabin receives attention. Interior paneling of the Audi SQ5 provides the owner with a choice of Carbon Atlas, Piano finish and the new Aluminum/Beaufort wood black trim pieces. Brushed aluminum inlays and the S badge advertising completes an ultra-modern interior appearance. Power adjustable sport seats within a two-tone, leather-upholstered cabin insures comfort for the Audi SQ5’s passenger behind the high-performance diesel engine.
The Audi SQ5 TDI crossover vehicle will be made available in European dealerships by early 2013. There has not been an announcement if the sale of the Audi SQ5 will extend into North America.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Audi engineering has a history of bringing revolutionary pieces of technology to Le Mans victory lane. Late version of the Audi R8 prototype was the first race car to run gasoline direct injection and the R10 was the first diesel powered entry of the 24-hour race to claim a win at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Creating their first diesel/electric hybrid prototype race car, Audi entered the 2012 event eager to make the R18 e-tron quattro the vessel to make their latest conquest of Le Mans. After a full day of continuous racing in France, Audi has now become the first auto manufacturer to win with a hybrid race machine. Combining the TDI engine with an electric powertrain, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro launched to the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans pole with such a long distance needed to be traveled to achieve greatness.
Winning the LMP1 category as well as the overall 24 Hours of Le Mans, the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro completed 378 or 3,201.3 miles from Saturday to Sunday for the 11th win for Audi. Piloted by the 2011 race’s winning driver combination of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoit Tréluyer, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro prototype led an effort where the Audi Sport Team Joest took the top three positions.
The race for the Audi Sport Team Joest squad was not without challenges. In the first hour of the 24-hour race, a tire puncture brought the #3 Audi R18 Ultra to pit stop for an unscheduled service while the #4 car was brought in with concern for the rear suspension system. On hour three, the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro lost a lap to the leading #1 car when a large collection of tire rubber and debris needed to be extracted from the underneath portions of the prototype sports car.
Hour 5, the Audi mechanics were sent into battle to repair the #3 R18 Ultra car after driver Romain Dumas skidded off track. Running third at that point in the event, Dumas managed to drive his severely damaged Audi prototype race car back to the garage area. After roughly 35 minutes of repairs, the #3 Audi R18 Ultra was returned to the Circuit de la Sarthe racetrack in the hands of driver Marc Gene.
The #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro prototype race car effort in attempting to claim the 2012 Le Mans 24-hour race went south with less than 3 hours remaining in the event. After a race-long battle as the #2 car driven by the collective talents of Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish fought with the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro teammate, a collision with the retaining barrier. While the #2 race car required substantial repairs, the Audi Sport Team Joest mechanics returned the R18 e-tron quattro to competition for a 2nd place finish.
The non-hybrid Audi R18 Ultra race car #4 vehicle finished 3 laps behind the winning R18 e-tron quattro. Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis and Mike Rockenfeller drove the #4 machine that allowed the Audi Sport Team Joest squad the ability to own the LMP1 podium. The fourth and final Audi R18 prototype vehicle completing the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans finished 5th overall. The #3 Audi R18 Ultra shared by Romain Dumas, Loic Duval and Marc Gené finished their eventful 24-hour effort with a Lola-Toyota fielded by Rebellion Racing preventing a top-four sweep of the overall results at Le Mans
Relishing the German automakers latest success at Le Mans, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich said, “It’s a great result that Audi is now the first brand to have achieved victory with a hybrid vehicle – and right on the first run, as before with the two other technologies, and – what’s more – with both R18 e-tron quattro cars on the two top spots.” Competing in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, the Audi Sport Team Joest squad will have a full two months to savour the Le Mans win until the 6 Hours of Silverstone.
Information and photo source: Audi AG