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Peugeot's return to top-level endurance racing should honor its illustrious past

Peugeot’s return to top-level endurance racing should honor its illustrious past

Peugeot won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times between 1992 and 2009, so it must deliver upon its return in 2023

Peugeot, the proud manufacturer that stopped at nothing to win the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans in the early ’90s and again in the late ’00s and early ’10s, will be back at Le Mans in the summer of 2023 as part of a fully-fledged assault on the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2022 onwards. Peugeot, like Toyota, will compete with a bespoke hybrid hypercar not based on a current production model and the work will be carried out in-house by Peugeot Sport, although it’s believed outside partners such as ORECA could offer some assistance. Peugeot will thus make its debut in the FIA WEC in the third season of the new ’Hypercar’ regulations that come into effect next year for the 2020-2021 season.

Peugeot Sport, first with Frenchman Jean Todt at the helm and then with his pal Olivier Quesnel, has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times since it first took part in the French race all the way back in 1926. The company has also enjoyed success as an engine supplier, powering the early Pescarolos as well as the WM P88 Group C car, the fastest car to ever race at Le Mans that reached a top speed of 253 mph in 1988. With almost a century of history at Circuit de la Sarthe by the time Peugeot Sport’s new hypercar will debut in 2022, it’s safe to say the French automaker set its own bar very high for its comeback. In the light of this challenge - one that the French engineers most definitely relish - let’s take a quick look back at Peugeot’s history at Le Mans and in endurance racing as a whole.

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1984 Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 1 Group B

1984 Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 1 Group B

The small rally 205 that shocked the world

The Peugeot 205 T16 is the 347-horsepower all-wheel-drive beast from France that had both Lancia and Audi down on their knees in the second half of the Group B era. It was driven by the likes of Ari Vatanen, Bruno Saby, Timo Salonen, and Juha Kankkunen.

The 205 T16, with ‘T16’ standing for ‘Turbocharged 16’ since the car was fitted with a KKK turbocharger and a 16-valve cylinder head, is arguably a strange case in motorsport. As one of the most successful rally cars of the astonishing Group B era, it is criminally overlooked. People idolize the Audi Quattro for its innovative four-wheel-drive system or the Lancia 037 which was the last rear-wheel-drive car to win the WRC constructor’s title, but the 205 remains the unsung hero.

It only debuted in 1984, in the third season since the Group B rules came into effect. This first model was known as the Evolution 1 and lacked the flamboyant, but efficient, aerodynamic elements of the Evolution 2. Unlike your usual 205 GTI, for instance, the rally car had the engine in the middle, and it featured a changeable epicyclic gear train that was used to alter the amount of power sent to either axle.

Once surpassing the inherent issues that arise after debuting a brand-new car, the Peugeot Talbot Sport outfit, led by none other than the future general manager of the Ferrari F1 team, Jean Todt, crushed everyone in its path winning 13 rallies between 1985 and 1986.

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2008 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP Le Mans Prototype

2008 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP Le Mans Prototype

Peugeot’s diesel ground-splitting Le Mans winner

The 908 HDI FAP was Peugeot’s first top-flight Le Mans prototype in over a decade and was designed to take on the might of Audi in sports car endurance racing on both sides of the Atlantic. It was a 750-horsepower diesel beast with over 850 pound-feet of torque that requires an army of men to run even today.

The mid-‘00s heralded the introduction of the LMP1 category at the top of the FIA/ACO prototype endurance racing ladder. This set of rules came in effect in 2004 as a replacement to the LMP900 rules, but older LMP900 machinery was to be grandfathered in Europe and the U.S. until 2006. The Peugeot 908, announced in 2005, debuted in 2007, one year later after Audi’s own diesel LMP1 car, and became the former’s biggest nemesis as the only other diesel prototype until the end of this era.

The 908, which changed quite a bit during its five-seasons-long racing career, was vastly quicker than the Audis almost anywhere, beating Team Joest and Audi Sport North-America both in the European Le Mans Series and the American Le Mans Series on numerous occasions. However, Le Mans glory was achieved only once, in 2009, when Peugeot Sport Total scored a historic 1-2 finish ahead of the brand-new Audi R15. Peugeot abruptly ended their involvement in global endurance racing before the kick-off of the new-for-2012 World Endurance Championship, although their hybrid 908 was already in testing and seemed to come together as a fine piece of kit.

Regardless, the French board decided that enough was enough and the P1 program was canned before the 908-HY could turn a wheel in anger. This led the way to Toyota’s hurried entry into the WEC midway through 2012, one year earlier than originally intended.

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2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi

2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi

The French automaker’s shot at a three-peat exit from the Dakar

This coming January, lovers of dirt-flavored racing will once again turn their attention to the Southern Hemisphere as the infamous Dakar Rally hits South America for the tenth year running. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the event, once again promising a grueling 10,000 km (6,214 miles) of racing over some of the most difficult terrain Mother Nature can produce. The outlined route will lead teams through Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, challenging competitors with steep sand dunes, craggy boulder fields, twisting tarmac, and impossibly high mountain passes. This is one of the ultimate tests of man and machine, but Peugeot looks ready for anything. The French automaker took top honors in the Dakar earlier last year, giving it back-to-back victories between 2016 and 2017. Now, the French automaker is looking for a three-peat with this – the updated 3008 DKR Maxi. The “brand-new racing lion” might carry the same name as the road-going Peugeot 3008, but it’s far removed from what you get in dealers, bringing the heat thanks to a host of impressive motorsport cues courtesy of Peugeot Sport, all aimed at ultimate victory over terra firma.

The Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi has undergone extensive testing in Morocco, Portugal, and France to prepare for the 2018 Dakar event, logging more than 18,000 test km (11,185 miles) over the past year. What’s more, Team Peugeot Total has once again assembled a dream team of talent for the driver’s roster, including names like Peterhansel, Loeb, Sainz, and Despres. Still – the Dakar is unpredictable at best. Will the new 3008 DKR once again have what it takes to snag another win?

Continue reading to learn more about the Peugeot 3008 DKR.

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Relive Sebastien Loeb's Record Run Up Pikes Peak: Video

Relive Sebastien Loeb’s Record Run Up Pikes Peak: Video

How long will the Peugeot stand at the top of the heap?

In case you were unaware, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is getting underway right this very second, and that means a whole swath of race-ready rides congregating in Colorado to take a swing at the 156 turns and high-altitude craziness that is America’s Mountain. And while simply getting to the top unscathed is in itself quite the accomplishment, some are vying to etch their names into the history books by beating the current standing record time of 8 minutes, 13.878 seconds, set back in 2013 by legendary rally champion Sebastien Loeb in a Peugeot 206 T16. But, as you might expect, such a feat is easier said than done, as evidenced by the above-featured video documenting every turn of Loeb’s incredible blitz to the clouds.

From the off, it’s clear Loeb is holding nothing back. The same talent that earned him an unprecedented nine World Rally Championship titles is very much on display, as is his incredible bravery as he uses every inch of pavement, even with nothing more than heart-stopping drops in place to greet him should he muck it up. The video combines a multitude of camera angles, including a passenger seat POV, in-car shots, bumper shots, and helicopter shots, providing the viewer with a fantastic overview. Also of note is just how clean the run is, with very little in terms of sliding or corrections. Will 2017 be the year Loeb’s record falls? By the look of it – probably not.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Restored Peugeot Rally Car Is A Collector's Dream

Restored Peugeot Rally Car Is A Collector’s Dream

The world of rally racing experienced a golden age in the 80s thanks to the loose constraints of Group B regulations. These days, most fans can only relive that bygone era through grainy footage, but what if you were looking for something more substantial? Well, this Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 might be the ticket. You might think buying an old rally car is just for wealthy collectors who want to brag to their rich friends, but you’d be wrong – this particular example can be had for less than the price of a new VW Golf.

Believe it or not, this garage-kept Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 is currently up for sale with an asking price of just 18,000 euros ($20,200). It’s been completely restored over the last 10 years, and it’s only had two previous owners. It also comes with all the original documentation and road registration.

Originally produced in 1985, this small racer is equipped with a 1.8-liter engine mounted in the rear for better weight distribution and improved handling. The exterior is in mint condition, and includes body graphics, rear privacy glass, side air intakes, and an old-school wheel design. The interior doesn’t look half bad either, with a 3-spoke steering wheel, water and oil gauges in the middle of the dashboard, and that all-important roll cage to keep you safe. The front trunk houses a spare wheel.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 Peugeot 2008 DKR16

2016 Peugeot 2008 DKR16

Peugeot has an impressively diverse history when it comes to motorsports. The company has participated in rallying, hill climbs, endurance racing, touring car racing, and supplied engines for Formula 1. Peugeot can lay claim to 4 WRC championships, 3 Le Mans wins, and 4 Dakar Rally wins. That’s quite the list already, but it seems that Peugeot would like to increase that last number, and has a car ready to compete in the 2016 Dakar Rally. That car is the 2008 DKR16, and despite its name, it has almost nothing in common with the regular road-going 2013 Peugeot 2008 crossover. However, it is based on last year’s Dakar machine, the 2014 2008 DKR.

This obviously isn’t uncommon though, and the 2015 Mini All 4 Racing that currently dominates the rally has little in common with Mini’s road cars either. It’s a shame though, because back when Peugeot first started winning Dakar Rallies, the 205 T16 cars that were used were much more closely related to something you could find at a dealership, even if it was a homologation special. But Dakar is a grueling event, and if a company with a strong history in both rallying and endurance racing thinks that this is the vehicle it needs to win, then it’s probably right.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Peugeot 2008 DKR16.

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Peugeot 208 T16 Rally Car Climbs Volcanic Mount Etna: Video

Peugeot 208 T16 Rally Car Climbs Volcanic Mount Etna: Video

Even though it’s titled "Etna Volcano Climb," the video above doesn’t depict a theater of the absurd, but the meaning should be taken literally – a rally car actually climbed Sicily’s Mount Etna, which is one of the most active volcanos in the world. The car in question is the Peugeot 208 T16 in rally guise, driven by national rally champion Paolo Andreucci. Obviously, part of the footage is a tribute to the famous "Climb Dance" cinéma vérité short film (click the name to see it), which featured legendary rally driver Ari Vatanen setting a record time at the 1988 Pikes Peak Hillclimb.

Not coincidentally, both films depict Peugeots, but Vatanen drove a 405 Turbo T16 GR hillclimb car, while Andreucci used a modern 208 T16 hatch built for rallying. Unlike the Climb Dance, the new Peugeot video is strictly a marketing ploy and doesn’t feature any record-breaking attempt, but the footage is still mesmerizing.

Even though the CGI shots at the end are a bit tacky, the car going sideways up those volcanic roads makes for some pretty cool video action. Despite featuring a range of craters with intense and almost continuous activity, Mount Etna is one of Sicily’s main tourist attractions. In Greek mythology, the forges of Hephaestus were said to be located underneath the volcano, so there is also a lot of history surrounding the area. That doesn’t make Peugeot’s stunt any less dangerous, since the volcano could have erupted at any moment.

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2014 Peugeot 2008 DKR

2014 Peugeot 2008 DKR

While Peugeot is showcasing the "crude steel" Exalt concept car at the Beijing Auto Show, its motorsport division is releasing the details on the 2008 DKR, the company’s first vehicle to take on the grueling Dakar Rally in 25 years.

The French manufacturer retired from the said rally in 1990, after winning it four times in a row with desert-prepped versions of the 205 supermini and 405 sedan. Now, nearly a year after Sebastien Loeb crushed the Pikes Peak record in an all-carbon version of the 208, Peugeot is announcing its return to Dakar with a vehicle based on the 2008 crossover.

Actually, we need to rephrase that to "loosely based on" the road-going vehicle, as the 2008 DKR has very little in common with the said crossover, save for the numeric name and a few design cues.

To be fielded under the colors of Team Peugeot Total in the 2015 Dakar, which is scheduled to begin next January, the 2008 DKR buggy will be driven by Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres. Both have already won the rally, but while Sainz did it while driving a Volkswagen Touareg-based racer, Despres won the even riding KTM motorcycles.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Peugeot 2008 DKR.

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Peugeot 208 T16 Wins its Second Hill Climb of 2013 at Goodwood

Peugeot 208 T16 Wins its Second Hill Climb of 2013 at Goodwood

If you had any doubts on what an amazing car the newPeugeot 208 T16 racecar is, you’ll need to take a look at its latest achievement. The 208 T16 was specially designed to smash the world record at the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and it did almost two weeks ago. With Sebastien Loeb behind the wheel, it managed to climb the famous hill in 8:13.878.

Last weekend, the Peugeot changed continents and smashed a different record at a completely different race: the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed. In England, the 208 T16, with Peugeot Sport test-driver Grégory Guilvert brhind the wheel, the powerful racer managed to run the Goodwood hill climb in just 45.86 seconds, making it the fastest car of the weekend.

This time is as a coincidence the same time posted by Nick Heidfeld in the Group C prototype Lola B12/60 racecar.

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Click past the jump for the video.

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Video: Sebastien Loeb Crushes Pikes Peak Record

Video: Sebastien Loeb Crushes Pikes Peak Record

For all the accolades and accomplishments Sebastien Loeb has garnered in his illustrious career, he just put another impressive notch on his belt at the recent Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Loeb’s scintillating run up Pikes Peak on board the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak Racecar only took 8:13.878, a staggering time that crushed the previous Pikes Peak record of 9:46 that was set by Rhys Millen just last year.

Wrap your heads around that and it’s easy to point out that Loeb’s record-breaking run up the mountain beat the existing top lap time by more than 90 seconds!

If there ever was a fitting way to describe "destruction" this would be it.

What makes Loeb’s time even more incredible is that Millen, the incumbent record-holder before Loeb put him in his place, likewise posted a blistering lap time on board his fully modified Hyundai Genesis, clocking in 9:02.192, almost 45 seconds faster than the record time he set last year, yet was still 45 seconds slower than Loeb’s time.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you ever want to put your stamp on a world record, this is how you do it.

Just complete and total annihilation.

Click past the jump to read about the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak Racecar

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Video: Peugeot Releases Time-Lapse Video of 208 T16 Pikes Peak Build

Video: Peugeot Releases Time-Lapse Video of 208 T16 Pikes Peak Build

If at some point you decide to take up the wonderful world of building race cars, you might want to take a look at the how Peugeot was able to build the 208 T16 Pikes Peak race car.

Don’t worry; this build didn’t take up weeks. It didn’t take days; heck, it didn’t even take hours.

It only took them 45 seconds.

Ok, it’s a time-lapse video, which means that the whole thing has been edited. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that what Peugeot did was impressive.

It started from scratch right in front of our eyes and then quickly morphed into a bona fide Pikes Peak-conquering race car, complete with a new body, a suspension unit, and its own powertrain.

That’s the power of modern science and engineering, fellas.

Ok, mixed in with nifty editing but that’s not the point.

Click past the jump to read about the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak race car

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2013 Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak Racecar

2013 Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak Racecar

Rally legend, Sebastian Loeb, is considered one of the greatest drivers in the world, having taken home nine WRC titles in his illustrious car. For a man that’s no stranger to winning, Loeb is poised to take on his next challenge: taking down Pikes Peak.

And for that, Peugeot announced that it had “borrowed” Loeb from Citroen to drive the company’s new 208-derived T16 Pikes Peak race car.

The car itself is expected to compete in the Unlimited Class of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Performance details have yet to be announced, but expect this racecar to pack in tremendous amounts of power, possibly even reaching 1,000 horsepower.

The race car looks like it’s been given copious amounts of carbon fiber to go with extended side skirts and a side-exiting exhaust. A massive rear wing also part of the design, as is an interior that’s been stripped down to accommodate nothing more than racing equipment.

A carbon-fiber racing seat can clearly be seen inside a roll cage. There’s also a digital instrument cluster, alloy pedals, and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters.

UPDATE 05/29/13: Peugeot unveiled a new video presenting the 208 T16 Pikes Peak race car during a testing session at Mont Ventoux. Enjoy!

Click past the jump to read about Peugeot’s return to Pikes Peak and the 208 that this racer is based on.

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Video: Peugeot Gears Up For Pikes Peak With Digitally Remastered "Climb Dance"

Video: Peugeot Gears Up For Pikes Peak With Digitally Remastered "Climb Dance"

Anybody that has ever been a fan of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will attest that the event holds a unique place of its own amid the races in a calendar year.

For French automaker Peugeot, 1988 and 1989 were special years, as it scored back to back triumphs with Ari Vatanen and Robby Unser. The two drivers won Pikes Peak while driving a Peugeot 405 T16 Grand Raid, a car that gained notoriety for having a wheel steering system on top of its prevalent use of carbon Kevlar variant on its body to go with a new chassis made of sheet steel and tubular steel.

In tribute of those two successful runs at Pikes Peak, Peugeot released a special tribute video directed by Jean Louis Mourney called “Climb Dance”. Well, for those that haven’t seen the video, Peugeot has digitally-remastered the film, which not only means you can watch the whole thing over again, but you’re watching a version that’s more appropriate to the high-definition times of today.

Click past the jump to check out Peugeot’s new ride for the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

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2013 Peugeot 208 T16 (Type R5) Rally Car

2013 Peugeot 208 T16 (Type R5) Rally Car

French automaker Peugeot has been a staple in the rally scene for as long as we can remember. So when word leaks out that they’re planning to reveal their next generation rally car, people tend to take notice.

At the 2012 Paris Motor Show later this month, Peugeot is bringing the all-new 208 Type R5, the car that’s slated to become their new prized steed at the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Needless to say, the 208 Type R5 has some pretty big shoes to fill in large part because its successor, the 207 Super 2000, rang up championships - three IRC drivers and manufacturers titles - during its time at the IRC.

The racer will have to adhere to regulations set by S2000 category. What that means is that the 208 Type R5 has been fitted with a number of racing components, including widened tracks, a spoiler, an increase in the wheel arches to accommodate a new set of 18" wheels. All these were done while keeping attention on the series’ minimum weight set of 1,200kg for the gravel and asphalt versions.

"Based on an optimisation of costs", explains Bertrand Vallat, the Type R5’s project leader, "the regulations impose, among other things, a maximum price for certain parts and technical limitations such as a minimum weight of components of the chassis and engine. In addition, a certain number of components of the vehicle must be similar. The hub carrier is a perfect example. All four must be identical. This makes operation considerably easier and limits costs and stocking."

The 208 Type R5 is powered by a 1.6-liter turbo engine that produces 280 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 295 lb/ft of torque at 2,500 rpm. The four-wheel drive system sends power to all four wheels thanks to a 5-speed sequential gearbox and two self-locking differentials.

As far as expectations are concerned, Peugeot is shooting for the stars, Vallat said: “The regulations impose, among other things, a maximum price for certain parts and technical limitations such as a minimum weight of components of the chassis and engine.”

“We are aiming for performance which is slightly higher than S2000,” he adds.

UPDATE 1/25/2013: The 208 Type R5 has just completed its second round of testing and it is all set to be delivered. According the Peugeot, it will open its order book in March 2013, so race teams mark your calenders!

UPDATE 05/01/13: The 208 Type R5 has been re-christened as the 208 T16 and Peugeot has released a new video of the rally car in action. Check it out by clicking on the photo above.

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Video: Peugeot Previews The 2013 208 Type R5 Rally Car With Ari Vatanen

Video: Peugeot Previews The 2013 208 Type R5 Rally Car With Ari Vatanen

Fans of rally racing, especially those that know the history of the sport, know who Ari Vatanen is. His political career as a Member of the European Parliament notwithstanding, Vatanen is also famous for winning the World Rally Championship drivers’ title in 1981 and the Paris Dakar Rally four times.

One of the teams Vatanen raced for was Peugeot, where he won three of his four aforementioned Dakar Rally titles. So it’s not all that surprising that when Peugeot decided to tease its new 208 Type R5 Rally Car, it tapped Vatanen to be the one to get first dibs on it.

The teaser video shows Vatanen wearing his traditional coat and tie that has come to be known as a trademark of sorts since he entered the world of politics. But upon laying eyes on the still-covered 208 Type R5 rally car, Vatanen decided to strip down to something a little more comfortable: a fire-resistant racing suit.

Our question is: how is this car different from the 208 Type R5 that made its debut at the 2012 Paris Motor Show?

Hopefully, Peugeot has answers for us in the coming weeks.

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Rally Co-Driver, Gareth Roberts, Killed in a Racing Accident

Rally Co-Driver, Gareth Roberts, Killed in a Racing Accident

As auto enthusiasts, we all often dream about racing cars professionally and how sweet it must be to navigate these powerful machines to within inches of the bounds of physics. Well, unfortunately, we tend to overlook the fact that with all of that risk comes the potential for severe injury and even death. Unfortunately, we experienced the risk involved in car racing this weekend as up-and-coming rally co-driver, Gareth Roberts, perished in a crash at the young age of 24.

Gareth was in his typical position in the Peugeot 207 Super 2000 that Craig Breen was piloting in the Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia, rattling off the upcoming track directions and related speeds when Breen lost control of the Peugeot and put it into a guardrail. According to reports, Gareth was impaled by the guardrail and lost his life as a result of the injuries.

According to statements from teammates and crew members, Breen and Gareth had been really working well with one another and were starting to garner a lot of attention in the rally world. Gareth also had a bright future as a driver, once he learned the necessary skills, but that unfortunately, never came to fruition.

We are deeply saddened by the death of this young man and pass our condolences onto his family, friends, and his racing team. This is really a reminder of just how dangerous racing truly is, especially rally racing, and we hope that the rally world can learn from this tragedy and make strides toward this type of thing not happening again.

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Audi Launches "Truth in 24 II"

Audi Launches "Truth in 24 II"

The Le Mans 24 Hours races may not be the pinnacle of the racing world, but they certainly separate the men from the boys and women from the little girls. For the most part, over half of the field ends up retiring before the race ever finishes and the ones that do finish are completely exhausted – both car and drivers – by the time the race ends.

Audi has seemingly always been a part of the Le Mans 24 Hours and has earned tons of success in the race. In the 2011 running, Audi was set up to fail, as two of its three cars were forced to retire early due to freak accidents on the track. Truth in 24 II, narrated by none other than British bad-ass action star Jason Statham, documents the running of the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours race and how the last remaining Audi managed to overcome all of the competition, including three Peugeot 908s, to take home the overall No. 1 position.

What’s even more awesome is that Audi is providing both Truth in 24 and Truth in 24 II completely free of charge. You can download the debut Truth in 24 here, if you haven’t seen it yet, and then snag up Truth in 24 II here. It’s not too often that an automaker gives you something this cool for free, so take advantage of these free movies while you can. They are simply awesome.

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