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Le Mans - June 18, 2006

AUDI AG has written an important chapter in the history of motor racing with its historic triumph in the Le Mans 24 Hour race. The new Audi R10 TDI was the first diesel car to win arguably the toughest car race in the world. In front of a record crowd of 235,000 spectators, Frank Biela (Germany), Emanuele Pirro (Italy) and Marco Werner (Germany) clinched the sixth and most important Le Mans win for Audi so far. Dindo Capello (Italy), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland) also achieved a podium in finishing third overall.

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 with 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 with fifth gear. In spite of the fact that the change of the entire rear end – as it had been done with 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 with 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 with 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 with a pair of R10 TDI cars.

Quotes after the race

Prof Dr Martin Winterkorn (Chairman of the Board of AUDI AG)
"This historic Le Mans triumph is doubtlessly the greatest in the sucessful motorsport history of AUDI 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 with 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 with Audi.”

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (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 with 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. Unfortunately, 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 with a diesel engine, that is to say with 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 with 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 industry.”

Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #8)
"Of course, it is exciting that we wrote history with 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 with 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 with 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.”

Race results

1 Biela/Pirro/Werner

Audi R10 TDI 380 laps

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

7/7/2023, 10:51:17 PM cet
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Audi triumphs with TDI power in Le Mans
Audi triumphs with TDI power in Le Mans
Audi triumphs with TDI power in Le Mans
Audi triumphs with TDI power in Le Mans

Pos No Cl Pn Team Pilotes Veh Temps Tours Ecart Km/H Meilleur
1 8 LMP1 M Audi Sport Team Joest BIELA F./PIRRO E./WERNER M. Audi R10 24:04:47.325 380 215.409 3:32.062
2 17 LMP1 M Pescarolo Sport HELARY E./MONTAGNY F./LOEB S. Pescarolo C60 24:05:33.763 376 4 T 213.027 3:35.770
3 7 LMP1 M Audi Sport Team Joest CAPELLO R./KRISTENSEN T./McNISH A. Audi R10 24:04:47.380 367 13 T 208.039 3:31.211
4 64 LMGT1 M Corvette Racing GAVIN O./BERETTA O./MAGNUSSEN J. Corvette C6-R 24:05:04.646 355 25 T 201.197 3:51.851
5 16 LMP1 M Pescarolo Sport MINASSIAN N./COLLARD E./COMAS E. Pescarolo C60 24:05:35.216 352 28 T 199.426 3:35.656
6 007 LMGT1 M Aston Martin Racing ENGE T./PICCINI A./TURNER D. Aston Martin 24:05:07.942 350 30 T 198.356 3:50.770
7 72 LMGT1 M Alphand Aventures ALPHAND L./GOUESLARD P./POLICAND J. Corvette C5-R 24:05:52.927 346 34 T 195.987 3:56.101
8 25 LMP2 M RML ERDOS T./NEWTON M./WALLACE A. MG Lola EX 264 24:05:39.122 343 37 T 194.319 3:44.495
9 62 LMGT1 M Russian Age Racing BRABHAM D./PIQUET N./GARCIA A. Aston Martin 24:05:47.482 343 0:08.360 194.3 3:56.446
10 009 LMGT1 M Aston Martin Racing LAMY P./ORTELLI S./SARRAZIN S. Aston Martin 24:06:45.903 342 38 T 193.603 3:51.531
11 66 LMGT1 M ACEMCO Motorsports BORCHELLER T./MOWLEN J/FITTIPALDI C. Saleen S7R 24:05:47.497 337 43 T 190.901 3:55.519
12 63 LMGT1 M Corvette Racing FELLOWS R./O'CONNELL J./PAPIS M. Corvette C6-R 24:05:05.083 327 53 T 185.327 3:53.075
13 24 LMP2 Binnie Motorsports BINNIE B./TIMPANY A./TERADA Y. Lola 05/42 24:05:31.185 326 54 T 184.704 3:35.883
14 27 LMP2 Miracle Motorsports MACALUSO J./LALLY A./JAMES I. Courage C65 24:05:50.880 324 56 T 183.53 3:57.423
15 81 LMGT2 P Team LNT KIMBER-SMITH T./DEAN R./TOMLINSON L. Panoz Esperante 24:07:39.450 321 59 T 181.603 4:12.331
16 83 LMGT2 Y Seikel Motorsports NIELSEN L./EHRET P./FARNBACHER D. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 24:05:27.450 320 60 T 181.313 4:06.373
17 87 LMGT2 M Scuderia Ecosse KIRKALDY A./NIARCHOS C./MULLEN T. Ferrari 430 GT 24:04:49.169 311 69 T 176.291 4:06.855
18 80 LMGT2 M Flying Lizard Motorsports van OVERBEEK J./NEIMAN S./LONG P. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 24:05:37.099 309 71 T 175.061 4:07.023
19 33 LMP2 G Intersport Racing FIELD C./HALLIDAY L./DAYTON D. Lola AER 24:08:33.466 297 83 T 167.921 3:44.274
20 22 LMP2 D Rollcentre Racing BARBOSA J./MOSELEY St./SHORT M. Radical SR9 24:04:48.622 294 86 T 166.656 3:46.388
21 32 LMP2 Barazi Epsilon BARAZI J./VERGERS M./CUNNINGHAM N. Courage C65 24:07:47.935 294 2:59.313 166.312 3:48.201
22 93 LMGT2 Y Team Taisan Advan NISHIZAWA K./YAMAJI S./COLLIN P. Porsche 911 GT3 RS 24:09:18.185 291 89 T 164.444 4:12.113
not classified
23 73 LMGT2 D Ice Pol Racing Team LAMBERT Y./LEFORT C./IANNETTA R. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 24:05:49.310 282 98 T 159.742 4:17.317
24 2 LMP1 M Zytek Engineering NIELSEN J./ANDERSEN P./ELGAARD C. Zytek 06S 24:07:55.521 269 111 T 152.156 3:38.156
25 19 LMP1 D Chamberlain Synergy EVANS G./OWEN P./BERRIDGE B. Lola B06/10 24:05:06.786 267 113 T 151.319 3:43.028
26 20 LMP2 M Pierre Bruneau ROSTAN M./MACALLISTER Ch./PULLAN S Pilbeam Judd 24:04:48.302 244 136 T 138.313 3:56.352
27 53 LMGT1 P Jloc Isao Noritake APICELA M./YAMANISHI K./HINOI Y. Lamborghini 21:37:03.685 283 97 T 178.694 3:59.668
7 LMP1 M Audi Sport Team Joest CAPELLO R./KRISTENSEN T./McNISH A. Audi R10 65 3:31.211
89 LMGT2 D Sebah Automotive Ltd POMPIDOU X./RIED Ch./THYRRING T. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 20:04:56.638 256 174.003 4:09.127
9 LMP1 M Creation Autosportif ORTIZ F./CAMPBELL WALTER J/GABBIANI B. Creation Judd 17:39:53.251 240 185.454 3:38.123
50 LMGT1 M Larbre Competition GARDEL G./BORNHAUSER P./BLANCHEMAIN J-L. Ferrari 550 16:32:15.786 222 183.236 3:59.910
76 LMGT2 M IMSA Perf. Matmut DUMAS R./NARAC R./RICCITELLI L. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 16:44:30.263 211 172.034 4:04.426
86 LMGT2 D Spyker Squadron BLEEKEMOLEN J./HEZEMANS M./KANE J. Spyker C8 Spyder 14:40:08.372 202 187.968 4:11.199
67 LMGT1 M Convers Menx Team PERGL R./KOX P./VASILIEV A. Ferrari 550 14:35:02.646 196 183.447 3:56.701
91 LMGT2 D T2M Motorsport YAMAGISHI Y./de FOURNOUX J./KONOPKA M. Porsche 911 GT3 15:22:15.771 196 174.055 4:17.207
39 LMP2 D Chamberlain Synergy AMARAL M./DE CASTRO M./HUGHES W. Lola B05/40 AER 17:09:19.485 196 155.951 3:44.671
6 LMP1 D Lister Storm Racing MOLLER J./KIESA N./PICKERING G. Lister Storm 15:52:29.814 192 165.09 3:49.852
14 LMP1 Racing for Holland LAMMERS J./YOONG A./JOHANSSON S. Dome Judd 11:53:32.286 182 208.9 3:38.597
12 LMP1 Y Courage Competition FREI A./FISKEN G./HANCOCK S. Courage LC70 14:36:16.579 171 159.823 3:41.215
90 LMGT2 M White Lightning Racing BERGMEISTER J./KROHN T./JONSSON N. Porsche 911 GT3 11:06:15.497 148 181.929 4:06.730
30 LMP2 P Welter Gerard BRICHE J./HAUCHARD F./ROUSSEL P. WR Peugeot 15:11:36.099 134 120.388 4:01.512
5 LMP1 M Swiss Spirit PRIMAT H./FASSLER M./PETER P. Courage LC 70 9:01:36.939 132 199.603 3:42.537
61 LMGT1 M Russian Age Racing VANN C./SMITH N./SUGDEN T. Ferrari 550 8:53:23.751 124 190.395 3:56.276
98 LMGT2 M Del Bello Noel BOURDAIS P./CLOET T./SHARPE A . Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 9:05:53.794 115 172.533 4:22.481
36 LMP2 P Paul Belmondo Racing GOSSELIN C-Y./OJJEH K./RAGUES P. Courage C65 7:19:17.876 84 156.604 3:55.299
37 LMP2 P Paul Belmondo Racing BOUVET JB./ANDRE D./CLAIRAY Y. Courage C65 3:18:47.873 48 197.749 3:56.612
35 LMP2 D G-Force Racing LEROCH J-F./MORRIS E./HAHN F. Courage C65 6:27:11.382 47 99.416 4:02.912
85 LMGT2 D Spyker Squadron CREVELS D./DUMBRECK P./CORONEL T. Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 5:28:27.730 40 99.738 4:12.420
13 LMP1 Y Courage Competition GOUNON JM./KUROSAWA H./NAKANO S. Courage LC70 2:33:55.905 35 186.219 3:38.576
77 LMGT2 P Multimatic Panoz M.S. MAXWELL S./JEANNETTE G./MILNER T. Panoz Esperante 2:28:41.011 34 187.284 4:10.158
69 LMGT1 BMS Scuderia Italia BABINI F./GOLLIN F./PESCATORI C Aston Martin 0:12:17.550 3 199.878 3:59.164