Image credits: © Audi.
2006 Audi R10 news, pictures, and information
- Diesel sportscar came close to beating jet-fighter
- 5,000 spectators watch one-kilometre race
Audi demonstrated once again the performance of modern diesel engines in an unique duel that took place prior the 'Festival of Speed' meeting at Goodwood (England): In a one-kilometre acceleration race at RAF Wittering, the Le Mans winning Audi R10 TDI driven by Allan McNish was just narrowly beaten by a 15,000-bhp combat aircraft from the Royal Air Force (RAF).
Despite the 650-hp Audi R10 TDI being designed to start races from a 'rolling' as opposed a 'standing start', the revolutionary diesel sportscar was quicker off the line and in the lead for almost the whole one-kikometre distance before the Harrier GR7 'Jump Jet' just beat the Audi by literally a 'nose' before it took off in front of a 5,000 crowd.
'It was essentially a ‘fun' race,' explained Audi factory driver Allan McNish. 'But when a racing driver and a pilot get together it quickly becomes serious. To come so close beating a Harrier jet-fighter was a tremendous achievement once again for Audi TDI Power – especially if you consider that we didn't modify the R10 TDI for this ‘race'.'Source - Audi
- First victory for a Diesel sportscar
- Tom Kristensen achieves another record
- V12 TDI engine writes motorsport history
The new Audi R10 TDI has immediately written motorsport history in its first outing: Dindo Capello (Italy), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish(Scotland) won the 12-hour race at Sebring (ÚSA) achieving the first ever victory of a Diesel powered sportscar. Tom Kristensen became the first driver to win America's most famous endurance race for a fourth time, achieving another record after his record seventh Le Mans victory from last year.
30 degrees Celsius in the shade, high humidity and asphalt temperatures reaching up to 43 degrees, caused especially difficult circumstances on the Florida track which is one of the most demanding in the world. Allan McNish had already shown the potential of the 650-hp V12 TDI engine wîth a record-breaking pole position time in qualifying. Because the heat exchanger had to be replaced after the morning warm-up, Dindo Capello was forced to start the number two R10 TDI from the pit-lane starting his chase from the back of the field.
It took Capello only half an hour before he had moved from 35th and last position to second just behind the sister car of Frank Biela. Shortly before the end of the second hour, the Italian took the lead, which the number two R10 TDI kept until the finish. Only changing the fuel filter and two loose wheel nuts caused unscheduled pit-stops.
The number one Audi R10 TDI that had clearly led the race for the first two hours did not reach the finish. The car driven by Frank Biela (Germany), Emanuele Pirro (Italy) and Marco Werner (Germany) was withdrawn just before one-third distance due to an overheated engine.
The reason: Shortly after the start of the race, the telemetry system of car number one, that transmits the data from the car to the pits, had stopped working. As a consequence, Audi Sport's engine technicians had no data at all for the whole distance. When Marco Werner reported high water temperatures via radio during the fourth hour of the race, the second placed R10 TDI was called into the pits. The team discovered radiators completely blocked by tyre rubber. After cleaning the radiators, the temperatures sank immediately. However, Team Audi Sport North America decided to precautionary withdraw the second placed R10 TDI from the race because the engine had been running wîth significantly high temperatures for an extended period.
Quotes after the race at Sebring
Prof Dr Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of AÚDI AG: 'Audi has once again written motorsport history, this time by being the first manufacturer to win an endurance race wîth a diesel powered sportscar. This impressively confirms the efficiency of the modern TDI technology. It is especially remarkable that this success was achieved at the very first race of the new Audi R10 TDI. The whole team from Audi Sport and the Technical Development of Audi has once again done a great job. I thank everyone who is participating in this ambitious project.'
Dr Wolfgang Úllrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): 'This has been a very tough race and thus a good test for Le Mans. To get the first victory for a TDI engine after our pole position is fantastic. We showed today what's in our new sportscar wîth a Diesel engine. Thanks to the whole crew from Audi Sport and Team Joest. Of course it is a shame that we couldn't bring both cars to the finish. But we learned a lot today and know that it is still a long way to Le Mans.'
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #2): 'Audi has again done something extraordinary. With this victory we really make a new chapter about motorsport history. It reminds me when Audi started rallying wîth the quattro to show that four-wheel drive is good not only for farm vehicles. When Audi announced it would go racing wîth a Diesel engine, maybe many people did not take us seriously. But I think now they will not laugh anymore about us.'
Tom Kristensen (Audi R10 TDI #2): 'Audi had the courage to put such a young car into a race at an early stage. It paid off. I know how many people have been working very hard for this and I would like to thank all of them. I have to say many thanks especially to the mechanics. What they did after the warm-up was a job which normally is not done in this short amount of time. Thanks also to my colleagues Allan and Dindo who drove very well. Crossing the finish line was a historic moment for the Diesel technology. I know that Audi has a good image in America. I'm sure the image of Audi TDI will be soon as good in the ÚS.'
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #2): 'The whole team should be very proud - we have created a little piece of history. In a few years time, people will look back and realise this was a monumental moment, not only in Audi Sport history, but also in motorsport where the first ever Diesel engine won an international race. We all worked very hard for this one. And we will all be celebrating a lot tonight. '
Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #1): 'The first victory wîth a Diesel engine and for the R10 TDI is a great story. Especially if you have in mind that we had not so much time. The roll-out happened quite recently. You can only take your hat off to Audi Sport for this achievement. We had a superb car at the beginning of the race. But things like this can happen, that's racing. Now we have to keep our heads up, look forward, show the same performance at Le Mans and finish the race there.'
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): 'In motor racing you can have mechanical problems sometimes. Of course there is sadness for us because a little problem prevented us from having a good battle for the win. Despite that, it has been a positive weekend. One of the two cars won its first race, this is a big achievement and a big reward for all the work all of us did in developing the R10 TDI. I keep my full confidence for the very big race which is Le Mans.'
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #1): 'We had good race speed, and as long we were in the race, things went without problems. Of course it is a shame we had to stop prematurely. Despite that, my thanks to Audi and Team Joest. The boys had a lot of work this weekend. Audi faced stiff competition after such a short period of testing. Others often don't have the courage to do this in public.'
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director, Team Audi Sport North America): 'We are happy about the success because we have been working extremely hard for that. It's even more important we learned a lot of things - we can take home a long list and work towards Le Mans. This will happen wîth a lot of joy because we have seen the potential the R10 TDI has and that the concept is right. Losing one car very early was not nice, and I really feel sorry for the guys of car number one. They also worked through many nights.'
Engine Details: More than 1100 Newton metres
The heart of the Audi R10 TDI is a completely new V12 TDI engine wîth a cubic capacity of 5.5 litres - the maximum permitted at Le Mans.
Audi ventures into previously unexplored diesel-engine terrain wîth power exceeding 650 hp and torque of more than 1100 Newton metres from the V12 power plant. 'This engine is the specifically most powerful diesel there is in the world and, up until now, the biggest challenge that Audi Sport has ever faced in its long history,' explains Úlrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Technology at Audi Sport.
'There has never been anything remotely comparable. We started development wîth a clean sheet of paper.' The V12 TDI used in the R10 TDI is the first Audi diesel engine wîth an aluminium crank case. The cylinder-bank angle is 90 degrees. The V12 TDI has, like Audi production car engines, four valves per cylinder and twin overhead camshafts.
The fuel induction is made by a modern 'Common Rail System'. The injection pressure easily exceeds the 1600 bar achieved in production cars. The ignition pressures also reach values never previously seen in any Audi engine. The engine's power and the high torque are available to the driver practically from idling speed - a speciality of diesel technology, to which the Audi drivers must now become accustomed. The usable power band lies between 3000 and 5000 revs per minute.Source - Audi
The fans on the race track and a worldwide audience of millions of TV viewers saw an impressive demonstration of Audi TDI Power and the performance of modern diesel engines. The brace of Audi R10 TDI cars, powered by a 650 hp V12 TDI engine, were by far the fastest and most economical cars. During the entire race, one of the new diesel sportscars from Ingolstadt was at the head of the field. Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen drove the fastest lap of the race, setting a 3m 31.211s time, and he was the first driver at the wheel of an LM P1 sportscar to cover 16 laps wîth one fuel load. Completing 380 laps, Audi also set a new distance record.
In the race, the advantage in fuel consumption of the Audi TDI Power was visible for the spectators too: on average, the Audi drivers only pitted every 14 laps to refuel 90 litres of Shell V-Power Diesel. The opposition, who relies on petrol engines, had to pit considerably more often. The fans were also impressed just how quiet an environmentally friendly 650-hp sportscar can be.
Although the roll-out of the new Audi R10 TDI took place only 200 days before the race, the victorious Diesel sportscar ran as reliably for 24 hours as its predecessor, the R8 that scored five Le Mans victories. The only unscheduled pit stop was carried out at 3:47 am when Audi Sport Team Joest decided to replace the gear cluster after trouble wîth fifth gear. In spite of the fact that the change of the entire rear end – as it had been done wîth the R8 – is no longer allowed by the rules, the team needed less than ten minutes war this exercise thanks to an innovative gearbox design. One more minute was lost for Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner on Sunday morning when one headlight of their R10 TDI was broken so the front bodywork had to be replaced. Apart from that, their Audi run like a clockwork.
Biela and Pirro celebrated their respective fourth Le Mans victory after 2000, 2001 and 2002. Thus, they rank in fourth position in the historic record charts behind Tom Kristensen, Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell. For Audi, it was the sixth Le Mans triumph and the third in succession. The success of the Bentley Speed 8 from 2003 included, a car that was powered by an FSI engine developed by Audi Sport, Audi technology is unbeaten at Le Mans in seven years.
Audi's triumph was completed by Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish who finished third. The #7 R10 TDI was in the lead in the early phase of the race when the injectors of the right-hand cylinder bank of the V12 TDI engine had to be replaced in the fourth hour. Having dropped back to 16th position, Capello, Kristensen and McNish fought back wîth the fastest lap times in the field to third place in spite of further setbacks at night and in the early morning hours. Following a collision wîth a GT1 car, the undertray was loosened, and also the left-hand turbocharger had to be changed. Number 7 lost almost a full hour in the pits. Thanks to the mechanics who carried out all the repairs they still made it to the podium.
After its victories in the Sebring 12 Hour race and in the Le Mans 24 Hour race, the new Audi R10 TDI remains unbeaten. The next challenge is waiting for the revolutionary diesel sportscar already: from the 15th July onwards, Team Audi Sport North America will fight for the championship title in the American Le Mans Series wîth a pair of R10 TDI cars.
Quotes after the race
Prof Dr Martin Winterkorn (Chairman of the Board of AÚDI AG): 'This historic Le Mans triumph is doubtlessly the greatest in the sucessful motorsport history of AÚDI AG. It is stunning evidence of ‘Vorsprung durch Technik'. The aim to win the Le Mans 24 Hour race as the first manufacturer in the world wîth a diesel engine was extraordinarily ambitious. We had the courage and we succeeded at the first attempt. Today, the Diesel has finally made its mark in motor racing. This was only possible because, as the inventors of the TDI, we have the most comprehensive know-how at our disposal which our customers also benefit from. Every second Audi is a TDI already today. Thanks to this stunning showing at Le Mans, we will succeed in pursuading even more customers of the advantages of Audi TDI Power. I congratulate Audi Sport Team Joest, Audi Sport, the colleagues of the Technical Development, our partners who gave us excellent support in this project right from the beginning and of course our six drivers. For Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro, this was their fourth Le Mans victory, for Marco Werner the second in succession. They have clinched all those victories wîth Audi.'
Dr Wolfgang Úllrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): 'This was already the sixth Le Mans victory for Audi, but by far the most difficult and important one. Only 200 days, the most intensive ones in the history of Audi Sport, separated the roll-out of the R10 TDI and the start of the Le Mans race. I want to thank every single member of Audi Sport, of Audi Sport Team Joest, the colleagues of the TE (department of development) and our technical partners. We have started this project from a blank sheet of paper and we tried something that nobody has ever done before in this form. We knew how big the challenge was to win Le Mans wîth such a high-performance diesel engine. We have seen in the past 24 hours and before that so many things can happen in this race. Le Mans always harbours some surprises that cannot be simulated on a test bed or a test track. So we are all the more happy to have succeeded in writing another chapter in the history of motorsport. The team has worked immaculately and has always reacted correctly to everything that has occured. The winning car ran almost faultlessly for 24 hours. Únfortunately, the other car dropped back due to an accident. But the fact that this team made the podium at the end, too, shows that it was a fantastic performance from the team.'
Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #8): 'We are very proud of the first victory wîth a diesel engine, that is to say wîth Audi TDI Power. For Audi, this victory is of particular importance, but for us drivers it is of equal importance. We have been involved in the development right from the beginning. To get this new race car to this venue, to win the most important sportscar race in the world and to be the first to win Le Mans wîth a diesel engine is a stunning feeling. We were lucky that our car had a good run to the finish. We only encountered a minor gearbox problem, everything else worked perfectly. This is the only way to win at Le Mans.'
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #8): 'Today it's an Audi day, it's a diesel day and it's the day of ‘Vorsprung durch Technik'. With the first victory of a diesel engine something extraordinary has happened which we all still don't completely realize. It's a great reward for all the people who have been working for this project in front and behind the scenes. I think this weekend we saw the beginning of a new era in motorsport. And it was a confirmation that Audi is the leader of any new technology in the automobile .'
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #8): 'Of course, it is exciting that we wrote history wîth the new diesel car in its first Le Mans entry. For me, it is the second victory in succession, so I am absolutely overwhelmed. You've got to take your hat off to Audi again and again. The decision to enter the R10 TDI this year was ambitious but correct. There are other manufacturers who allow themselves one more year for such a project.
Audi has done a tremendous job to get the car ready to race and ready to win in such a short time span. It is simply incredible: 200 days ago, the car stood on its wheels for the first time and now it has won the Le Mans 24 Hour race. This is more than history – it is a great story!'
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #7): 'It's a great result for Audi and we're all part of this victorious brand. Our car suffered some problems through the race but each time my engineer and the mechanics on #7 worked very hard and did a good job to solve them so that we lost as little time as possible. They all deserve a big thank you. I'm so happy to be a part of this race which now has new history.'
Tom Kristensen (Audi R10 TDI #7): 'I'm feeling very, very emotional. Now everybody will know what TDI Power means. This project started not so long ago as a clean sheet of paper and has already triumphed. Audi's dream has come true so quickly thanks to the efforts of many people in this massive motorsport programme. I'm proud to be apart of this success. I would have loved to be on the top step of the winners' rostrum wîth Dindo and Allan but on this occasion, we had to face many challenges in the race. But we overcame these and still finished on the podium.'
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #7): 'The TDI project was always a very ambitious one. Audi never takes these things lightly and came perfectly prepared to this race. But coming to Le Mans you have to expect everything including problems – and that's what happened to our car this weekend as it happened to the Audi R8 on its debut in 2000. But again we overcame them in the true style of Le Mans and Audi, and fought our way to the podium. That was a fantastic effort for the whole team.'
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): 'I am simply happy. This was a hard race wîth plenty of work, but somehow, it was typical for the whole project that everbody has put so much work into. The latest 24 Hours were no exception. We had our fair share of problems. But then again, this is what you would expect if so much new technology is used for the first time. It is mega that in spite of those circumstances, both cars finished, both made it to the podium and one car has even won. The team has worked incredibly well. The regular pit stops, the unscheduled repairs – everything has worked fine. The result is the justified reward for that.'
1 Biela/Pirro/Werner (Audi R10 TDI) 380 laps in 24h 04m 47.325s
2 Helary/Montagny/Loeb (Pescarolo-Judd) - 4 laps
3 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R10 TDI) - 13 laps
4 Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen (Chevrolet) - 25 laps
5 Minassian/Collard/Comas (Pescarolo-Judd) - 28 laps
6 Enge/Piccini/Turner (Aston Martin) - 30 laps
The Le Mans Prototype, wîth over 650 hp and more than 1,100 Newton metres torque, significantly exceeds the power produced by the majority of previous Audi racing cars – including that of its victorious R8 predecessor. Audi ventures into previously unexplored diesel-engine terrain wîth the V12 power plant manufactured completely from aluminium. As wîth the TFSI technology, which triumphed initially at Le Mans before being adopted for mass-production, Audi customers should benefit once again from the lessons learnt in motorsport.
'With the A8 4.2 TDI quattro, Audi already builds one of the most powerful diesel cars in the world,' explained Prof Dr Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of AÚDI AG, at the R10 presentation in Paris. 'The Le Mans project will help our technicians to extract even more from TDI technology. Nowadays, every second Audi is delivered wîth a TDI engine. We expect that the percentage of diesel engines will be even larger in the future.'
The R10 prototype's V12 power unit, which is equipped wîth two diesel particle filters, is hardly recognisable as a diesel thanks to the engine's smooth running nature. The TDI engine's specialities presented the Audi Sport engineers wîth a whole list of challenges. The injection pressure easily exceeds the 1,600 bar achieved in production cars. The usable power band lies between 3,000 and 5,000 revs per minute – an unusually low rev range for a racing engine. The driver must change gear in the R10 far less often than in the R8 because of the TDI engine's favourable torque curve.
The enormous torque of over 1,100 Newton metres does not only make extreme demands of the R10 transmission system – even the latest generation of engine dynamometers at Audi Sport had to be re-equipped wîth special gearboxes capable of withstanding the unusual forces.
Additionally, radical changes to the chassis were also necessary. The Audi R10 has a significantly longer wheel base than the R8. The overly wide front tyres are, up until now, unique for a Le Mans Prototype. New technologies were also implemented during the development of the carbon-fibre monocoque. Chassis, engine and gearbox form an extremely rigid, fully stressed unit.
'The R10 project is the biggest challenge ever to have been handed to Audi Sport,' said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Úllrich. 'TDI technology has not been pushed to its limits in motorsport yet. We are the first to confront the challenge. The demands of such a project are accordingly high. Long-term technology partners such as Bosch, Michelin or Shell support us in our quest. Together we have the chance to write new chapters in the history books of motorsport and diesel technology.'
The new Audi R10 successfully completed its first test at the end of November. An extensive test programme, including the 12-hour race at Sebring (ÚSA) on 18 March, is scheduled before the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 17/18 June 2006. The development team from Audi Sport is supported by Reinhold Joest's squad, which also performed this task during the R8 project.Source - Audi
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