Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

Audi wins 2014 6hrs of COTA

2014 6 Hours of COTA

In dreadful conditions across the weekend Audi won a rain soaked 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas. It was a race where all three major LMP1 teams enjoyed time in the spotlight, but the experience of Audi was shining when it mattered most.

The #8 Toyota TS040 started the race on pole, with the two Porsche 919s behind. Sebastien Buemi was in the lead Toyota and built up a strong lead early. Then, about 100 minutes into the race, chaos ensued after a massive downpour saw cars sliding everywhere except on the racing line.

Race organisers had little choice but to bring a halt to proceedings and the race was red flagged for around 45 minutes. Heavy rain had been experienced during practice and qualifying sessions prior to race day as well. So the teams at least had some idea of how the track would react in the wet.

Although, the rain during the race was torrential and both Toyotas ended up off track losing a lap to the field while they recovered. The #20 Porsche 919 also lost time after an unwanted excursion.

After the restart it became a race between the two Audis and the #14 Porsche, which was leading during the latter stages of the race until a loss of power saw the car drop to fourth. From there a one-two victory was Audi’s for the taking and they didn’t falter.

2014 6 hours of COTA (top six)

  1. #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer) – 157 laps
  2. #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen) – +53,016s
  3. #8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid (Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi) – +1:03,945m
  4. #14 Porsche 919 Hybrid (Dumas/Jani/Lieb) – +1 lap
  5. #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid (Bernhard/Hartley/Webber) – +2 laps
  6. #7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid (Wurz/Sarrazin/Conway) – +2 laps
Audi WEC

2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro revealed

2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro

Following its track test at Sebring earlier this week Audi has given us more information on its 2014 WEC LMP1 challenger, the 2014 R18 e-tron quattro.

Powered by a V6 TDI and dual hybrid systems Audi is keen to push its record of transferring race technology to the road. Technology we take for granted now, such as TFSI petrol engines, advanced diesel engines and LED headlights, are just some of the technologies Audi has taken from its LMP1 program to its production lines.

New regulations for the 2014 season have seen Audi further develop its R18 concept and motorsport boss, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, tells us the result is a shift in thinking: “The principles of the LMP1 regulations have fundamentally changed. The idea behind this is to achieve similarly fast lap times as in the past with considerably less energy. Making more out of less: a forward-thinking approach.”

More photos and a host of press material awaits after the break giving us a good run down of what to expect in the 2014 WEC season.

Audi Toyota WEC

Audi wins 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans

Audi R18 etron, 24 Hours of Le Mans 2013

In a drama filled race Audi stood atop the podium for the twelfth time after winning the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans on the weekend. The #2 R18 e-tron quattro (Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish) completed 348 laps, one more than the #8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Stéphane Sarrazin), with the #3 Audi (Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gené, Oliver Jarvis) claiming third place, just under two minutes behind the Toyota.

Of course, the 81st running of the classic endurance race will be remembered for the sad passing of Danish driver Allan Simonsen, who was killed after crashing his Aston Martin V8 Vantage on the fourth lap of the race.

Throughout the whole race inclement weather and accidents ensured the field spent more time behind the Safety Car than organisers and fans would like. Indeed, a record amount of time was spent under full course yellows—11 periods adding up to more than five hours.

Toyota put up a strong fight and had enviable reliability. While the winning #2 Audi ran faultlessly, too, concerns were raised in the Audi garage after the pole sitting #1 R18 suffered alternator problems and lost several laps while it was repaired. Around the same time the #3 car picked up a puncture following minor contact with a slower car. Unfortunately Oliver Jarvis, who was driving at the time, had to travel almost an entire lap on the damaged tyre and the lost time added up to a two-lap deficit.

Up to that point the three Audis were jostling for positions on the podium. The #1 R18 was never able to rejoin the fight for victory and finished fifth, 10 laps down. The #3 Audi fought back well from its earlier problems to put pressure on the #7 Toyota, which succumbed when Nicolas Lapierre slid off the track in slippery conditions with an hour to go.

A special note of acknowledgement for Tom Kristensen as well, who notched up a record ninth Le Mans victory. It was the third win for Allan McNish and the first for Loïc Duval.

The LMP2 category was won by the #35 Oak Racing Morgan-Nissan. While Porsche took out both the GTE Pro and Am classes. The factory-backed Manthey team 991 911 RSRs finished first and second in GTE Pro, with the customer IMSA Performance Matmut team winning the GTE Am category.

So, we move on to 2014, hopefully learning from the death of Allan Simonsen, where the closeness of the barrier to a large tree may have contributed to his death. And we look forward to increased competition for Audi when Toyota will be joined by Porsche in the chase for LMP1 glory.