Audi has again taken the top spot at Le Mans, clinching the 24 Hour race with its pair of R18 e-tron quattro racers and making it the thirteenth win out of sixteen runs for the firm. Competition at the event was strong, with Porsche and Toyota both strongly favored, and with Audi facing an early knock-out after its third car was damaged in a collision with a GT Ferrari after only ninety minutes.
It wasn't to be the only technical issues that the Audi teams faced. One of the cars was damaged during a practice session midway through last week, and had to be prepared again for the actual race; the mechanics made it, but also had to replace both an injector and a turbocharger during the event.
As for the other car, it also had to have a replaced turbocharger.
The double win is Audi's eighth using TDI Power, the company's branding for its turbo-diesel engines, and its third since introducing hybrid technology to the race cars. First unleashed back at Le Mans 2012, the latest car faced even stricter fuel consumption rules, cutting the amount available by up to 30-percent.
Audi's response has been a new 4.0-liter V6 engine, specially designed to deliver power and economy to suit the race. It uses an electric turbocharger, which can be powered by an exhaust heat recovery system and a flywheel accumulator, while the quattro all-wheel-drive kicks in over 75mph automatically.
As for the e-tron system, that has six modes which the driver can toggle between using buttons on the steering wheel. The car can automatically use the electric power to assist in accelerating out of corners, when dealing with traction in wet weather, and in other situations.
For the first time, meanwhile, Audi also used a laser light system for the headlamps, the same as will be offered on the R8 LMX.