AUDI R15 TDI BRITISH RACE DEBUT
Latest Audi sports prototype makes its UK race debut in Autosport 1000km at Silverstone next month
Annual Silverstone race is Le Mans Series finale and also opening race in Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, which in its first year also takes in the 1,000-mile ‘Petit Le Mans’ race at Road Atlanta, USA and the six-hour race in Zhuhai, China
The Le Mans-conquering Audi R15 TDI sports prototype is bound for Silverstone, where on Sunday September 12th it will again be caught up in yet more enthralling skirmishes in the battle for the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.
The ultimate Audi race car, known internally as the R15 TDI ‘plus’, is based on the original 2009 R15 TDI, but features extensive modifications to aerodynamics and to the potent V10 diesel engine made last winter to comply with new regulations. The pedigree of these thoroughbreds includes the celebrated R8, described by Autosport magazine recently as ‘the best ever sports prototype’, and the V12 TDI-powered Audi R10 TDI that made history in 2006 by becoming the first sportscar to win the Le Mans 24-hour marathon under diesel power.
In its revised form, enhanced by newly developed turbo chargers with variable turbine geometry (VTG), the latest 5.5-litre, ten cylinder diesel unit powered the Audi R15 TDI into the top-three places in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, the brand’s ninth victory in arguably the world’s toughest motor race.
In the process, the winning R15 TDI racked up a total of 397 laps, or 3,361 miles, at an average speed of 139.95mph, setting new race distance and race average speed records in the process. Over the 24-hour period it was at idle in the pits for just 20 minutes, bearing testament to the impressive reliability and fuel efficiency that characterises all competition and road-going Audi TDI models, the latter accounting for 71% of the 91,172 UK Audi sales posted in 2009.
On the second Sunday in September the mettle of the R15 TDI will again be tested to extremes at Silverstone when two examples entered by Audi Sport Team Joest face formidable challenges from Peugeot and Aston Martin. At the wheel of the two Audi entries will be the familiar faces of Timo Bernhard, Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Scotland’s Allan McNish.
The Silverstone race is not only the fifth and final round of the Le Mans Series but also the opening race for the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup which moves on to North America for the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta, and then to Zhuhai in China for another six-hour marathon. From 2011, the ILMC series will become even more intense with a planned roster of seven endurance races in America, Asia and Europe.
The Silverstone action gets under way with qualifying at 1.40pm on Saturday September 11th, with the 170-lap race, staged on the new Grand Prix circuit, scheduled to start at 11.55am on Sunday the 12th.