Le Mans Series

Le Mans Series

Automakers are constantly looking for a sales edge wherever they can get one and with a big tenth victory in this month’s grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans now sitting in their fruitful laps, Audi is prepared to cash in. In celebration of their marathon win, Audi UK has prepared the R8 V8 Limited Edition with only 100 units being offered to UK customers. Each model will be priced at £93,935 - or around $150,000 at the current exchange rates - and the first deliveries will be made in October 2011.

The R8 V8 Limited may be seeing a £7,000 (about $10,000 at the current rates) increase in price, but it benefits from an array of features worthy of the hike. The sports car will have an exclusive titanium effect paint finish and R8 GT-inspired titanium-look alloy wheels with red brake calipers, as well as carbon fiber options. The interior is dressed up with Black Fine Nappa Leather-upholstered seats and headrests and highlighted by crimson red accents on just about everything. From the flat bottomed, leather-covered multi-function steering wheel to the instrument cowl, leather finish monoposto, knee pads, and passenger door handle, red streams throughout the interior like blood coursing through its veins. Other additions include stainless steel pedals and illuminated door sills with bright aluminum inserts carrying the R8 logo. Power will come from the standard 4.2 liter 424 HP V8 FSI engine and can be mated to either a manual or R-tronic transmission.

The limited edition R8 also comes with equipment that isn’t standard for the regular R8 , but gets thrown in the mix at no extra charge for the special edition. This equipment consists of the Audi magnetic ride, satellite navigation, the Audi Music Interface (AMI), interior light package, a Bang and Olufsen sound system, and Bluetooth mobile phone preparation with integrated seat-belt microphones.

Updated 01/02/2012: Its been quite a while since we last heard something about this R8 V8 Limited Edition, but now Audi has unveiled a new video that promotes this sports car. The video comes with another good news: we will see the R8 Limited Edition in USA too. Enjoy!

Of all the automakers that have participated in the legendary 24-hour race at Le Mans since 1923, German automaker Porsche holds the distinction of being the most successful marque in the history of the racing series. Truth be told, Porsche has a record 94 class wins and 16 overall victories, highlighted by a dominant stretch from 1981 to the 1987 when it scored the title for seven straight years.

Lately, Porsche has ceded control of Le Mans to the likes of Audi and Peugeot , scoring its last overall victory in 1998 with the 911 GT1-98. After years of toiling in the shadows, the German automaker is getting ready to return to Le Mans in 2014, determined to return back to the throne it previously occupied.

Preparations are in order for the first LMP1 prototype to be developed soon, and knowing Porsche’s history in Le Mans, we expect nothing less than a car that can contend for the the Le Mans title when it returns to the track.

Speaking of its history, the German automaker has prepared a number of videos detailing the company’s history in Le Mans, going all the way back from its early years to its recent dominance in the 90’s.

Check out the rest of the video series from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s after the jump.

Source: Porsche

Porsche has announced that the GT3 R Hybrid will make a return for the 2012 racing season. The vehicle made its first appearance in 2010 at the the Petit Le Mans 10-hour competition where it showed excellent performance.

The GT3 R Hybrid is known as the "rolling race laboratory," and while Porsche has not revealed any specifications on it just yet, we expect to see the same hybrid system as in the previous model: a 4.0 Liter flat six engine delivering 480 HP combined with two electric motors that each produce 100 HP. The new model will be five centimeters wider at the rear and will get almost an extra 15 centimeters on the front fenders.

"There is no way around the hybrid technology in motorsport," stressed Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development, on Saturday on the occasion of the end of year Porsche ‘Night of Champions’ celebrations. "With the 911 GT3 R Hybrid project, we have shown how you can test important future technologies on the race track and pave the way for motorsport success in the future. We will continue to determinedly blaze this trail and further develop the hybrid technology."

For 2012, the POrsche GT3 R Hybrid will race in competitions like the FIA World Endurance Championship, the American Le Mans Series, the Le Mans Series, the International GT Open, and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Porsche has officially announced details on the new GT3 RSR that will be used in the 2012 racing season. Compared to the current model, the new GT3 RSR has grown by 48 millimeters and has been built to conform to the A.C.O. "LM" GTE regulations.

The 2012 GT3 RSR is powered by a 4.0 liter six-cylinder boxer engine that delivers a total of 460 HP (up 5 HP over the 2011 model). The engine comes equipped with a mandatory air-restrictor and is mated to a six-speed gearbox. The gearbox is operated via paddle shifts on the steering wheel that send the power to the rear wheels, which have grown to 310 millimeters in width. Also compared to the previous model, the front wheels have increased by 30 mm to measure 680 millimeters.

Exterior changes are minimal, but still present. The nose and rear panels have been adapted to the flared front and rear wheel arches, while openings in the rear side sections replace the air scoop on the engine hood.

The new 911 GT3 RSR can be raced at the Le Mans 24 Hours, the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Le Mans Series, the American Le Mans Series, and the International GT Open starting in the 2012 season. Deliveries will begin in January 2012 and prices will start from 498,000 Euro (plus VAT ), or about $685,000 at the current exchange rates.

The last time Toyota competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans was back in 1999 when their racing car - the GT-One - successfully established a new race lap record, but also suffered a tire puncture in the final hour of the race. Thirteen years later, Toyota is announcing that they will be returning to the famous race in 2012, along with their new LMP1 race car. Their new racer’s chassis was designed, developed, and produced by Toyota Motorsport in Germany, and comes equipped with a hybrid petrol powertrain engineered by Toyota in Japan.

Tadashi Yamashina, Toyota Motor Corporation Senior Managing Officer and Toyota Motorsport Chairman, said: "Toyota has entered Le Mans before, but by using our hybrid technology this time will be a completely new challenge. We want to write a new chapter in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours, as in the FIA World Endurance Championship, through our use of hybrid technology."

If the design of Toyota’s new LeMans racer looks a bit familiar to you, it’s because it looks eerily similar to their all electric EV Racer that just established a new record for electric cars at Nurburgring. Electric vehicles are not a part of LeMans, but we can’t imagine that the EV Racer wasn’t a point of inspiration for the Toyota LMP1 Race Car.

The Toyota LMP1 Race Car will make its racing debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 16th and 17th, 2012.

UPDATE 01/19/12: The first photos of Toyota’s hybrid LMP1 race car has finally surfaced on the Web. It’s right in line with what the initial sketch looks like, except that it comes with all the aerodynamic bells and whistles of a true LMP1 racer.

After a horrific crash at this year’s Le Mans race, the new Audi R18 TDI managed to score the 10th Le Mans victory in 12 races.

After a perfect race, the Audi R18 TDI beat out the competition with a lead of just 13.854 seconds in front of Peugeot, making it the fourth-closest finish in the endurance racing classic’s 79-year history. Now the company has unveiled a pretty cool video in which they share the highlights from this year’s race. Every important detail of the race is presented in this impressive 13:44 minutes video, including Allan McNish’s unfortunate crash and all of the other key moments from the race.

All we can say is sit back, relax, and enjoy. This is a video that is really worth a watch because you will learn many things about the way Audi has prepared, handled, and won this tremendous race.

After what will end up being a 16 year hiatus, Porsche will be making its long overdue return to the top class of the LeMans series in 2014. Starring in the grand return will be a works-run LMP1 sports prototype for which details are still limited - almost non-existent actually.

However, regardless of whether it is a coupe or an open top model, the future LMP1 will more than likely feature new technologies from Porsche. Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport said: "We’re looking forward to the task of developing new technologies and to continue on with the success of the Porsche RS Spyder. After the conclusion of our works-supported sports prototype programme in the American Le Mans Series we have kept up with the latest technological advances. Now we will begin with detailed research in order to evaluate the various concept alternatives for our new car. These obviously depend on how the regulations for the year 2014 look in detail. In principle, these regulations are interesting for us because the integration of our hybrid technology in the vehicle concept is one possible option."

Porsche currently dominates the LeMans series with a total of 16 overall victories, including seven straight victories from 1981 to 1987. The most recent win was with the Porsche 911 Porsche 911 GT1 in 1998. In the LMP2 series, Porsche has continued its success with wins in 2006, 2008, and then again in 2010 with their RS Spyder sports prototype .

There are times in our lives when all we need is a quick timeout in order to get our stuff together and have the ability to move forward. The Dodge Viper is doing just that and when it makes its grand return, it may extend further than the general market. Chrysler is currently weighing its options to decide if the next generation Dodge Viper should return to the LeMans series.

The original Viper GTS-R was unveiled by Chrysler at the 1995 Pebble Beach Concours and managed to secure the number one position in many events, including the 1998, 1999, and 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans series, as well as many championships in the FIA GT Championship and a couple in the American LeMans series. With such a high rate of success, it seems crazy for Chrysler to not partake in these same events with its bigger and better Viper and we don’t think we’ll have to question their sanity for long. The company has already begun the process for building a race-spec version of the next generation Viper for the LeMans series. The new model will be prepared by Riley Technologies, which has produced the title-winning Grand-Am chassis for the past eight years. Once complete, the racing Viper will have to take on models like the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R , the BMW M3 GT2 , and the Ferrari 458 GTC .

Chrysler’s motorsport manager Gary Johnson said: "We are investigating some things and seeing what is out there, although no decision has been made yet. We have to be very careful about what we do."

Source: Autosport

Fresh off of what arguably was one of the most exciting Le Mans races in recent time, a new sportscar concept that has its sticker stamped for the the 2012 installment of the race is already taking shape.

This car is the DeltaWing Concept Sportscar, a creation that was born from the collective minds of DeltaWing Racing Cars DeltaWing Racing Cars LLC and back-to-back American Le Mans Series championship winning racing team, Highcroft Racing. Described as a new and experimental race car, the DeltaWing Concept Sportscar aims to introduce a new approach to competitive racing, one that strives for increased performance through increased horsepower and aerodynamic downforce. Rather than the traditional set-up of today’s racers, the DeltaWing concept concentrates on taking advantage of efficiency gains that are found outside the parameters of standard regulations to reduce fuel consumption without cutting down on performance performance.

Hit the jump for more details on the DeltaWing Concept Sportscar.

In Chevrolet ’s latest Track to Street series, Corvette Racing takes us along on a hot lap around the LeMans track. This is the very same track where driver Oliver Gavin received first place in the GTE Pro division of the 24h endurance race a little over a week ago.

In addition to the lap around the track, Chevrolet has also provided a second video featuring in depth interviews with drivers like Richard Westbrook as they describe what it’s like to be on and off the track. This video came out before the team’s win at LeMans, but after watching the Gavin make the quick lap around LeMans, it seemed necessary to go into the the team’s preparations for the 24 hour long event.

Let’s just say that we envy the thrill of being a part of such a famous event, but are in awe of the endurance these drivers have to have in order to complete the race.

One more video after the jump.

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