Audi Takes Win At Spa-Francorchamps In WEC
The second round of the 2016 WEC season was held over the weekend, playing out on the fast, twisting elevation changes of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. The 6-hour endurance race saw carnage across the field, with numerous technical problems plaguing each of the hybrid LMP1 competitors, only a third of which managed to finish. In the end, it was the No. 8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven by Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, and Oliver Jarvis that clinched the win, handing the Four Rings its 106th LMP victory since the 2000 season.
However, the road to victory wasn’t exactly smooth, as each of the top three manufacturers swapped the lead position throughout the race. First in front was Porsche, headed by the No. 1 919 Hybrid driven by defending World Champions Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, and Timo Bernhard. Unfortunately, multiple tire punctures and gearbox issues ended up sidelining the No. 1 Porsche for the majority of the race, while the No. 2 car experienced issues with its hybrid system, resulting in a loss of power.
Toyota took advantage of Porsche’s problems, with the No. 5 TS050 sliding its way to the front, holding the position for much of the race. However, engine issues eventually forced the No. 5 Toyota to run solely on electric power, while the No. 6 Toyota was forced to retire outright, also due to engine problems.
That handed Audi the lead, but the R18s had problems of their own. The No. 7 car was the hardest hit of the two, falling out of the running after damaging its underfloor on a curb, subsequently pitting for repairs that cost nearly 15 minutes. Overheating issues and a drive-through penalty later compounded the lengthy stop.
Comparatively speaking, the No. 8 car got away clean, finishing two laps ahead at the checkered despite requiring a new rear deck during the race’s singular safety car period.
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Audi Loses Silverstone Pole Position; Plans To Appeal FIA Decision
The first race of the 2016 FIA WEC season kicked off this weekend with 6 Hours of Silverstone. Two free practice sessions were held on Friday, April 15th, and qualifying took place on April 16th. At first, it looked like Audi was starting the 2016 season out very well, despite some questionable track conditions during the qualifying rounds. The No. 7 car, driven by Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer, and Benoit Treluyer, posted the fastest qualifying time with 1m 53.204s. The No. 7 car, driven by Di Grassi, Duval, and Jarvis came in at a close second, posting a time of 1m 53.308s.
After posting the best qualifying times in the pack, both Audi R18s were more than prepared for Sunday’s race. The No. 8 car, however, was only able to complete 69 laps – earning it a position at the bottom of the list. The No. 7 car came out on top, completing 194 laps in 6:01’06.963 and securing Team Joest’s first win of the season – or so everyone thought. If you look at the results of the race here, you’ll see that the No. 7 car is actually in the very bottom spot. So, what happened?
As it turns out, the results of the season opener remain provisional at this time, but for good reason. The Technical Delegate inspected the No. 7 car and found that the thickness of the front skid block doesn’t comply with current standards – according to article 3.5.6 a3 of the LMP1 Technical Regulations manual. As such, the No. 7 car, who was initially in first place, has been excluded. Team Joest has appealed the decision, so if the appeal is approved, the No. 7 car will find itself at the top again, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. If the appeal is denied, the first win of the season will go to Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Mark Lieb, who drove a Porsche 919 Hybrid and completed 194 laps in 6:01’53.028.
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2016 Audi R18
Until the 1980s, Audi wasn’t an important name in motorsport, with its most successful race cars having been built in the 1930s when the brand was part of Auto Union. Things changed dramatically when the Quattro was introduced in 1980, spawning models that went on to dominate the rally scene and the Pikes Peak hill climb. After laying low in the 1990s, Ingolstadt decided to tackle prototype racing and created a series of vehicles that went on to dominate the competition, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Its most important racer, the R18, hit the motorsport scene in 2011 and went on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times in a row before being defeated by the Porsche 919 Hybrid in 2015. For 2016, Audi has redesigned the R18 from the ground up.
Launched at the Audi Sport Finale at the Audi Training Center in Munich, the R18 is a significant departure from its predecessor. The LMP1 prototype features not only new aerodynamics, but a modified hybrid system and an optimized TDI engine as well.
“With our new Audi R18, we’re setting a clear signal: Audi continues to put the pedal to the metal in motorsport, deliberately relying on TDI – the world’s most successful automotive efficiency technology – at Le Mans,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport.
Long story short, the TDI powertrain has become more powerful while requiring less fuel. For 2016, Audi is switching to a higher hybrid energy class, so to compensate for the need to process even more energy, the hybrid system now relies on a lithium-ion accumulator as opposed to the flywheel energy storage system that was used from 2012 to 2015 and has redesigned the cars motor generator unit. So, with that said, let’s dive on in and look at what is going on with the 2016 Audi R18.
Updated 03/22/2016: Audi dropped the final specifications figures on its brand new R18 race car that will race in competitions like FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Audi R18.
Audi and LEGO Speed Champions Unveil Two LMS Racer Kits
Do you ever dream about building a world-beating race car? Do you ever fantasize about rolling hot into the pits for a splash of fuel and a driver change before the next stint? Do you wanna do all that, but your budget has a hard cap at 20 bucks? Well, don’t worry, because Lego has you covered. Say hello to the latest addition to the Speed Champions series – a pair of Audi LMS racers.
If you were unaware, the Speed Champions series is Lego’s take on some of the fastest machinery on the planet, including the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, the Ferrari LaFerrari, the McLaren Mercedes F1 car, the Ford F-150 Raptor, and the Porsche 911.
New to the grid is the Audi R8 LMS Ultra that took top honors at the Nurburgring 24 Hours race in 2014, and the Audi R18 quattro that’s battling it out in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Exclusive to the R8 kit is a winner’s podium and trophy, while the R18 gets a fuel pump.
Both are available now for $14.99 a piece.
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Having lost both the World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans race to Porsche in 2015 — the latter for the first time in six years — Audi has developed a new iteration of its successful R18 e-tron. Launched at the Audi Sport Finale at the Audi Training Center in Munich in late November, the race car has now been spotted while being tested at the Sebring Raceway in the United States.
The R18’s appearance at Sebring is a bit awkward given that the venue isn’t part of the World Endurance Championship, but Audi is probably using the track’s complex configuration to further tune the hybrid’s chassis. It’s important to note that the Germans are very familiar with the circuit, with several Audi R8-powered taking part in the 12 Hours of Sebring on a regular basis.
Testing is likely to occur until March 2016, so chances are that we will see the R18 on other race tracks in Europe and Asia as well. This year’s WEC season debuts on April 17th with the 6 Hours of Silverstone and ends on November 19th with the 6 Hours of Bahrain. This years calendar will include one new event, the 6 Hours of Mexico City, taking the total number of races to nine. The highlight of the season, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is scheduled to take place on June 18th and 19th.
Hit "play" to watch the new Audi R18, which employs a new design and uses an updated hybrid drivetrain, in action at Sebring Raceway.
After first entering the GT3 fray with the R8 LMS in 2009 and following it up with the slightly improved R8 LMS Plus a few years later, Audi is recommitting to its GT3 customer-racing program with the all-new 2016 R8 LMS. Based on the redesigned 2016 R8 road car, this thing looks positively ferocious.
Though GT3 cars are intended to be factory-supported customer race cars, and are for the most part, the class has become the stage for a global proxy battle between an unprecedented number of major manufacturers. BMW, Ferrari, Bentley, Aston Martin, Mercedes-AMG, Lexus, Porsche, Lamborghini, Nissan and McLaren are all major players, and most either recently introduced new GT3 cars or have new ones on the way.
Despite all that competition, the first-generation R8 LMS excelled in the class, collecting 26 GT3 Championship wins and 23 titles in other international classes. It won seven 24-hour races, including two wins in the torturous Nürburgring 24. With 130 cars sold to customer teams worldwide, it’s arguably the most successful and popular GT3 car in the world. So, the new one has a lot to live up to.
And we won’t have to wait long to see if it will. Entries during the 2015 season have already been confirmed for the Nürburgring 24 in May and the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in July, with more likely to come. We can also expect to see it racing on our shores, possibly in the Pirelli World Challenge series and in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship after the GTD class fully embraces the FIA’s global GT3 specifications in 2016.
Updated 09/09/2015: The new Audi R8 LMS can now be ordered by customers, and the first deliveries will be made by the end of the year. Audi’s GT3 sports car is priced at 359,000 euros (plus VAT) - $400,000 at the current exchange rates, with a starter and parts package increasing the total price up to 398,000 euros (plus VAT) - $444,000 at the current exchange rates.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Audi R8 LMS.
Audi’s latest GT3 race car might be a mere 10 weeks old, but it’s already bringing top-podium finishes. The recent 24-hour-long battle at the ‘Ring saw major German automakers like Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes vie for the checkered in a nail-biter where the lead swapped hands a total of 35 times, a new record for the 45-year-old event. But in the end, it was the #28 R8 LMS of Audi Sport Team WRT that took top honors.
Piloting the racer was Christopher Mies, Nico Muller, Edward Sandstrom, and Laurens Vanthoor. Taking second was the #25 BMW Z4 GT3, which completed the race 40 seconds behind the Audi, with the #44 Falken Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R coming in third one lap down. The pole-sitting #26 Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3 and #5 Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 rounded out the top five finishes.
“This was a weekend of thrilling racing, as well as an intense and nerve-wracking one,” said Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Sincere congratulations to our winners who never lost their cool even in the face of some minor irregularities, and held up to the pressure.”
As the race wore into its second and third hours, rain began to fall, followed by heavier showers at the five-hour mark. Over 30 cars were forced to retire, falling victim to mechanical issues, on-track collisions and adverse conditions, but the #28 R8 persevered, even overcoming a flash fire in the pits during a refuel with just four hours left on the clock.
“The whole squad of Audi Sport customer racing is happy to see the new R8 LMS instantly delivering on our promise of it being a competitive, attractive and reliable race car our customers can look forward to starting this fall,” said Liebchen.
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It’s been less than two months since the second-generation Audi R8 LMS debuted at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, and the German race car has already scored its first victory. The R8 LMS triumphed in the VLN endurance race that took place this weekend at the Nurburgring, after Christopher Mies and Nico Mulled drove the No. 10 Audi Sport Team WRT to a clear victory in the LMS’ third race. Mies and Muller were followed across the finish line by teammates Pierre Kaffer and Laurens Vanthoor, who also gave the R8 LMS’ first double this season.
Mies and Muller initially took the lead after 10 laps and battled with a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG to stay on top. The duo began to increase its lead from lap 18 onward and completed the four-hour race with a 1:27-minute advantage over the second-placed R8 LMS. It was Audi Sport Team WRT’s first victory on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife.
"The new Audi R8 LMS was easy to drive in both wet and dry conditions. We have also made progress on the suspension setup. This was the key to victory today," said Christopher Mies at the end of the race.
While Mies was "absolutely delighted" with the car, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, Romolo Liebchen, was rather cautious, stating the R8 LMS still needs honing before the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. "This was a test race. We discovered several things on which we must work to be perfectly prepared for the 24-hour race, because we can expect strong competition," he added.
Continue reading to learn more about Audi’s latest victory.
One look at this outlandish wagon is all you need to realize its owner is not normal. The exterior bristles with carbon fiber, asserting itself with jet-fighter-like aerodynamics, while the extended wheel arches hug enormous wheels over a lowered-stance that suggests a very firm suspension. Hidden by the stickered bodywork is a turbocharged powerplant pumping out close to 1,000 horsepower. But despite all these sacrifices to the deities of speed and performance, the owner claims this RS6 is a daily driver, perfect for a run to the ski slopes.
That’s because the owner is blogger, product designer, pro skier and certified car nut Jon Olsson. Olsson has done some pretty outlandish stuff when it comes to automobiles, with notable acts of insanity including the modification of a Lamborghini Gallardo LP540 for snow shuttle duty and the sliding of the Ultima GTR-based Rebellion R2K up a powder-packed mountain.
With a history like his, it should come as no surprise that Olsson is a fan of high-performance, AWD Audis. “I have always loved the crazy wide body style of the DTM cars and its been a dream to build a similar car for the road, but I also need a car that has enough space to carry all my ski gear to the slopes, so the decision was made to see what we could do with an Audi RS6,” Olsson states in his blog.
The result is a unique example of what the best tuners in the world are capable of when given permission ( and the budget) to break free from convention.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Audi RS6 DTM By Jon Olsson.
If someone asked me to name Audi’s most successful race cars 20 years ago, my answer would’ve been simple: the Auto Unions of the 1930s and the Quattro rally car. Come 2015 and things are a bit more complicated, as Audi has become a dominant force in the endurance racing scene since 1999. It all started with the R8R and the R8 LMP, before Audi switched to diesel power with the R10 TDI and the R15 TDI. In 2011, the Germans introduced the R18, also motivated by a turbodiesel engine, but this time around paired to an electric motor. The R18 alone won 15 major endurance events in 2014,including four 24 Hours of Le Mans races, taking Audi’s Le Mans tally to 13 and making it the second-most successful manufacturer after Porsche. With the 2015 World Endurance Championship right around the corner, Audi is launching a revised version of the R18 that aims to take the nameplate’s success to a new level.
As with each revision, the R18 received a reworked body with improved aerodynamics, a more powerful hybrid drivetrain, a less thirsty diesel powerplant, and new technology inside and out. The 2015 R18’s official track debut is set for April 12th at the 6 Hours of Silverstone race, but, until then, let’s have a closer look at what Audi had to share about its latest endurance track car.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro.
Usually, evolution is a gradual process, even in motorsport. Little mutations here and there, slight advantages gained from experimentation, all adding up to big differences over time.
Every so often, though, there’s that one car you can point to as a defining moment when everything changed. Sometimes, a car comes along that’s so radical, so revolutionary, that its influence reverberates well past its lifetime. The Audi Quattro is one such car.
The reason is simple, and can be summed up in a single, three-letter acronym: AWD.
Before the Quattro, rally cars used only two wheels for traction, resembling something closer to circuit racers than the all-wheel monsters we know today. The Quattro changed that. Despite misgivings about the weight and complexity of AWD systems, the Quattro almost immediately proved its worth on the international rally scene when it was first put into competition, going on to hand Audi the Manufacturer’s Championship title in 1982 and 1984, as well as winning the Driver’s Championship in 1983 and 1984. After the Quattro, rally racing veered heavily towards the implementation of AWD and never looked back.
But in addition to resounding success in motorsport, the Quattro also helped usher in the era of AWD for production passenger vehicles. With its capabilities proven on the grueling stages of the WRC, Audi’s new driveline became a prominent feature on its road cars, offering superior grip no matter the conditions.
It’s a car filled with technological breakthroughs and history. And now, one example is up for auction.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1982 Audi Quattro A1 Group B Rally Car.
The Audi R8 LMS race car has been around for six years now, dominating just about any track it set its wheels on. The German V-10 monster managed to score no less than 60 outright wins and 42 class wins in more than 400 events, making it one of the most successful race cars to wear Audi’s four-ringed badge. Ingolstadt introduced an even quicker iteration of the R8 LMS, dubbed Ultra, in 2012, adding a further 27 trophies to its showcase. The R8 LMS will continue take on tracks the world over in its current setup throughout the 2015 season, but come 2016, the Germans will launch an updated version, based on the second-gen R8.
That’s the word from the Ingolstadt-based company, which confirmed a brand-new R8 LMS is under development, with testing to commence next year. The revised race car will join several GT3 events in 2015, including the 24-hour races at the Nurburgring and Spa-Francorchamps before customer deliveries will begin at the end of the year.
Details surrounding the new-generation R8 LMS are being kept in the vault as of December 2014, but we expect the next car to boast improvements in every department. New building techniques should make it lighter than its predecessor, while aerodynamics will be pushed to the limit. It’s safe to assume the track-prepped supercar will keep its 5.2-liter, V-10 engine, but a host of upgraded internals will make it lighter, more powerful and more fuel efficient as well.
Note: Audi R8 LMS pictured here.
Click past the jump to read more about the Audi R8 LMS.