Despite the various high-speed crashes which took place at the recent 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi managed to come out on top for the 11th time in 13 years. With both Toyota LMP1 cars crashing out in the early stages of the race, one could argue that Audi was destined all along to take victory.
However, one could never have imagined that Audi managed to wrap up all three podium places with its incredible R18 race cars, two of which are e-tron Quattro-diesel-hybrids while the other two who finished in 3rd and 5th were the more conventional R18 Ultra diesel-powered racers.
Driving the victorious Audi R18 e-tron was Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, and Benoît Tréluyer. This victory marks a historic day in Le Mans history as the victorious car is the first diesel-hybrid to ever sit upon the top step of the podium and could help pave the way for more fuel-efficient LMP1 racers.
Audi board member Rupert Stadler stated, "By achieving this further success at the world’s most important endurance race our engineers demonstrated their high technological expertise in a particularly impressive way. With the e-tron Quattro in combination with ultra-lightweight design, we put a completely new technology on the grid and immediately won with it – this cannot be taken for granted by any means, particularly here at Le Mans."
It’s inevitable that Audi has already turned its attention to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, where we expect to see even more hybrid-diesels contesting.