Audi WEC

2015 LM24: Audi sets lap record

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

Audi failed to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans for just the third time since its maiden win in 2000. The four rings have an incredible record at La Sarthe and while they gave away their crown to Porsche in 2015 they did take one record from their stablemates; the outright race lap record.

Amazingly, the old race record (3:18.4) had stood since 1971 and was set by Jackie Oliver in a Porsche 917 LH. However, Audi etched its name into the record books twice, when first Filipe Albuquerque lapped La Sarthe in 3:17.647 in the #8 Audi R18 only for Andre Lotterer to better that in the #7 R18 with a time of 3:17.475.

Perhaps because they are part of the Volkswagen Group, or perhaps because they’re just good blokes, but Audi was very gracious in defeat. Audi Motorsport boss Wolfgang Ullrich was in the Porsche garage to pass on his congratulations a full 10 minutes before the race had ended.

And this is what Audi Chairmain Rupert Stadler had to say: “That was motorsport at the very highest level. The spectators witnessed a tremendous endurance race in which the two Group sisters, Audi and Porsche, fought the expected fierce and thrilling duel for victory.

“We can only congratulate our colleagues from Stuttgart on this success because we know exactly how difficult it is to win this race.”

While Audi’s Technical Development boss, Ulrich Hackenberg, was quick to give the marketing bods some joy: “I found it particularly impressive that Audi and Porsche with two completely different concepts of hybrid race cars were practically driving on the same level throughout the entire race.

“Both Group brands with their concepts were clearly faster than Toyota. And that’s exactly what we’d like to show in the WEC and at Le Mans.”

Audi still leads the title race in the World Endurance Championship and will no doubt want to make amends at Le Mans in 2016.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro final placings

3rd (-2 laps) #7 – Fässler (SUI), Lotterer (GER), Tréluyer (FRA)
4th (-3 laps) #8 – di Grassi (BRA), Duval (FRA), Jarvis (GB)
7th (-8 laps) #9 – Albuquerque (POR), Bonanomi (ITA), Rast (GER)

Audi Nissan Porsche Toyota WEC

2015 LM24: LMP1 gallery first 12 hours

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans is now into its second 12 hours and the #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid enjoys a reasonably comfortable lead (live timing).

Keeping the lead Porsche honest is a pair of Audi R18s, with the #17 Porsche 919 fighting to stay on the lead lap.

In the early stages of the race the #17 919 held the lead before dicing with the #7 R18. The red liveried Porsche suffered a minor setback after Mark Webber was given a one minute stop-go penalty for overtaking during a yellow flag.

Porsche also enjoyed seeing the #18 919 on the lead or fighting very hard for it, but it lost time after going off track at the Mulsanne Corner and is now 1–2 laps behind the leader, although still showing very strong overall pace.

The #9 Audi R18 has led this race as well and has the honour of setting a new outright lap record when Filipe Albuquerque lapped La Sarthe in 3:17.647. And thereby finally beating the old record set way back in 1971 by the Porsche 917 LH. Remember, too, that 1971 record was before the Mulsanne Straight had its two chicanes to help slow the cars down.

Going into the final 12 hours then, the first six cars remain a constantly revolving combination of Porsche 919s and Audi R18s. It will take a miracle for anyone other than Porsche or Audi to win this race; the closest Toyota is four laps off the pace.

Of course, we’d love to see the Mark Webber #17 car take the win, but the lads have some work to do after Mark’s mistake late in his first stint.

Audi Video WEC

VIDEO: Onboard around the Le Mans circuit

2012 LM24, Audi R8 e-tron quattro, onboard video

Surprisingly, finding decent onboard footage showing a full lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe is a difficult thing to do. Thankfully for you, we’ve done all the hard work and found three of the best examples on YouTube.

The first clip was filmed onboard the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro during the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans. The second was shot behind the wheel with Jon Lancaster in his Oreca Judd LMP2 machine during the test day for last year’s race. For the third video three-time Le Mans winner and all-round good guy Allan McNish talks us through a lap of the 13.629km circuit.

For extra reference we’ve included a track layout below, along with a link to the track on Google Maps.

Audi WEC

2015 LM24: Audi preview

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi preview

In recent years Audi and winning have gone hand in hand at Le Mans. The team has racked up a mind boggling 13 race victories since its maiden win in 2000. Only Bentley (2003) and Peugeot (2009) have prevented total Audi dominance.

Since its introduction in 2011 the R18 has remained undefeated at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Audi was disappointed to lose its world champion status to Toyota in 2014 and has begun to remedy that in the 2015 season with victories for the lead #7 car at Silverstone and Spa.

Indeed the Fässler, Lotterer and Tréluyer combination is aiming for its fourth win at Le Mans in the last four years (2011, 2012 and 2014).

Porsche might have the fastest car this year, but Audi has shown time and again that outright pace is not needed to win over 24 hours. You’d be a brave punter to bet against Audi making it victory number 14 this year.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro

#7 – Marcel Fässler (SUI), André Lotterer (GER), Benoît Tréluyer (FRA)
#8 – Lucas di Grassi (BRA), Loïc Duval (FRA), Oliver Jarvis (GB)
#9 – Filipe Albuquerque (POR), Marco Bonanomi (ITA), René Rast (GER)

Audi Nissan Porsche Toyota WEC

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans spotter guide

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans spotter guide

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans will be held this weekend and as always the talented Andy Blackmore has made his legendary spotter guide available as a free download.

[Source: spotterguides]

Audi Nissan Porsche Toyota WEC

2015 LM24: Quick reference guide to LMP1 cars

Porsche 919 hybrid

The official FIA WEC website brings us a quick reference guide to the class of 2015 LMP1 cars. This year we have representation from Audi, Nissan, Porsche and Toyota. And the best thing about LMP1 is that the cars are all different.

Front-engined, mid-engined; rear wheel drive, front wheel drive, all wheel drive; petrol, diesel and all with varying types of energy recovery systems. It really is a technological masterclass, which will eventually heavily influence the cars we drive on the roads.

In order to try and equalise performance the cars have strict fuel flow limitations they must adhere to. That is, each car has a capped amount of fuel it can use on a single lap, using the 13.6km Circuit de la Sarthe as the basis.

You can download a full season PDF guide (54mb) from the WEC website, which goes into greater detail. After the break a quick reference guide is all yours.

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on the weekend of 13–14 June, with an official test session to be held this Sunday.

[Source: FIA WEC]

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

Best photos of the 2014 WEC season

2014 6 Hours of Shanghai

In the 2014 WEC season the three main LMP1 teams all got something they wanted. Toyota won the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships. Audi won yet another Le Mans and Porsche found its way to the top step of the podium in the final race of their return to the top flight.

Now you can get something from the WEC year too by taking a look at our gallery of the best images brought to you right here on AUSmotive.

We trust you’ll like looking back at the season that’s gone and make sure to click the headings if you’d like a recap of each race.

Stay tuned for a similar look back at the 2014 WRC and F1 seasons.

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

2014 6 Hours of Sao Paulo in pictures

2014 6 Hours of Sao Paulo

As you can see we’ve enjoyed a quiet break here at AUSmotive HQ and it’s a bit remiss to be starting the year with an update that’s well over a month old. That said, here’s a gallery of images from the final WEC race of the 2014 season.

It will be remembered for a few reasons. First, it was the maiden win for Porsche since their return to the LMP1 category. Their progress in 2015 will be well worth watching.

Second, it was the final race for Audi’s Tom Kristensen, who, thanks to his incredible nine wins at La Sarthe is known as ‘Mr Le Mans’. Kristensen’s #1 Audi R18 finished third and it was great to see him on the podium in his farewell appearance.

Finally, Mark Webber had a very big shunt towards the end of the race, which subsequently ended under yellow flag conditions. Thankfully, Mark escaped with nothing more than a “stinking  headache”.

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

2014 6 Hours of Bahrain in pictures

2014 6 Hours of Bahrain

Toyota capped off a weekend of mixed results with champagne for both cars at the WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain yesterday. The #7 TS040 driven by Mike Conway, Stephane Sarrazin and Alexander Wurz won the race. It’s the first win for the #7 car this year and Toyota’s fifth race win for the season.

However, the glory went to Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi in the #8 car, who finished well down in P11 after suffering alternator problems. Despite this they’ve done enough to wrap up the WEC drivers’ championship. With just one round to go Toyota Racing remains favourites to secure the manufacturers’ title for the first time as well.

Porsche also enjoyed a first this season, by seeing its two cars finish on the podium. The #14 919 once again started from pole position and enjoyed a reasonably smooth run. The #20 car had a scrappy day but the lack of major dramas meant they could get a valuable third place.

Audi had a pretty horrible weekend with major work required before taking the track aftrer discovering damage to the monocoques of both cars. In that respect they did very well to get out and compete and remain relatively competitive.

Yet, for the first time in the short history of the new World Endurance Championship format Audi is in danger of losing its world championship status. The team is 40 points behind Toyota with only one race left on the calendar, the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo later this month.

2014 6 Hours of Bahrain – top 6

  1. Conway/Sarrazin/Wurz (#7 Toyota) – 195 laps in 6h 00m 18.056s
  2. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (#14 Porsche) + 50.460s
  3. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (#20 Porsche) + 57.268s
  4. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (#2 Audi) – 1 lap
  5. Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (#1 Audi) – 2 laps
  6. Belicchi/Kraihamer/Leimer (#13 Rebellion-Toyota) – 7 laps
Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

2014 6 Hours of Shanghai in pictures

2014 6 Hours of Shanghai

Strap yourself into the AUSmotive time machine and tavel to China with us to look back at the WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai.

Held across the first weekend in November Toyota’s late season form continued securing a one-two victory and edging closer to drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship success.

Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi consolidated their lead in the drivers’ championship by winning the race in the #8 TSo40 and enjoyed a comfortable 72 second margin ahead of their teammates in the #7  sister car.

Porsche had to make do with P3 and might have hoped for more after the #14 919 started from pole and early on both cars headed the field until tyre dramas cost the #20 car any chance of a decent result. In the end Webber and his mates had to make do with sixth.

That means the Audis filled positions four and five. The R18 hasn’t enjoyed much success since winning Le Mans and you sense Audi will have to come up with a great car in 2015 to maintain its recent dominace.

2014 6 Hours of Shanghai – top 6

  1. Buemi/Davidson (#8 Toyota) – 188 laps in 6h 01m 15.319s
  2. Nakajima/Sarrazin/Wurz (#7 Toyota) + 1m 12.564s
  3. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (#14 Porsche) – 1 lap
  4. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (#2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro) – 1 lap
  5. Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (#1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro) – 1 lap
  6. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (#20 Porsche) – 2 laps

Now, get ready for our time machine to bring you back to the present where we’ll have a 6 Hours of Bahrain up date for you real soon!

Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

2014 6 Hours of Fuji in pictures

2014 6 Hours of Fuji

Toyota won its home round of the World Endurance Championship—the 6 Hours of Fuji—a couple of weeks back, leaving Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi with broad grins on their faces. It was a one-two finish for Toyota and Porsche filled the final podium spot with Mark Webber’s crew tasting the champagne.

We’ve had five of eight rounds in the WEC now and Audi still looks the goods for the overall championship. With three races in November we’ll have to be much sharper in getting these updates to you!

Audi Porsche Toyota Video WEC

2014 24 Hours of Le Mans in 3 minutes

2014 24 Hours of Le Mans

Couldn’t sit down all day Sunday to watch the 24 Hours of Le Mans? Then fear not because here’s all the best bits put into a three minute video. It’s produced by Michelin so see how many times you can count their logo during the video!

There’s also a bonus clip with just under a minute of close action slow motion footage as well.