The 24 hours of Le Mans is one of the most difficult races that car companies can compete in. As a 24 hour long endurance race, there are limited fuel top ups and other changes, so the race has to be planned with absolute precision. This year’s Le Mans is extremely special for many motoring companies. It marks 50 years since Ford grabbed their infamous 1-2-3 victory, and 10 years since Audi changed the game by winning the race using a diesel powered car.
Audi in changing the way the car ran, had to change the car in order to maximise performance. Audi’s Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich said that ‘We had to come up with a new concept for the entire race car… From the proportions of the race car and its weight distribution to airflow, the cooling air requirement and power transmission everything was new, as torque and output surpassed anything we’d previously known.’
Audi won the 2006 Le Mans race in effortless style but, in order for the company to advance, changes needed to be made and they certainly have done this. In 2006, Audi introduced a 5.5 litre V12 TDI engine. The next change occurred in 2010 when a V10 TDI, which was smaller, lighter and better performing was used. This was followed by a V6 TDI in 2011. The V6 allowed for a huge reduction in fuel consumption whilst also offering an increase in performance. It is now 2016 and 10 years since diesel was introduced, Audi are using a V6 TDI.
This V6 TDI is of course better performing than the one which featured in 2011. This engine consumes 32.4 percent less fuel whilst producing much more horsepower. In 10 years, Audi have managed to save 46.4 percent more fuel whilst completing a lap 10-15 seconds quicker. The technology companies use to perform better in Le Mans, is only improving and the results can most certainly be seen in road cars today…