Before we dive into the details of Audi’s results at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we’ll provide a brief recap of the event itself.
The Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency, aka the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is one of the most iconic endurance races of all time. With 93 annual races under its belt, Le Mans is the oldest active endurance racing track for sports cars.
As one leg of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, 50 competitors race full throttle for 24 hours around the tight bends and twisting turns of the Circuit de la Sarthe.
There is a minimum driving team requirement of three people, but drivers often race for up to two hours before the next driver can take over at a pit stop. No driver may drive for more than four hours in a consecutive six hour span.
The track is tough, the June weather conditions harrowing, and the mental tax exhausting. That said, completing this event is one of the greatest honors a car and driver can receive.
Audi Results at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 24 Hours of Le Mans winners are drivers who cover the most distance at the completion of the final lap. If two cars tie for distance, completion time becomes the deciding factor. All other competitors must complete 70% of the winner’s distance to be classified.
So how have Audi racing cars and drivers performed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans? We’ll start by flashing back to 1999 when Audi decided to enter the competition for the first time.
At their very first Le Mans, the Audi Sport Team Joest pulled a podium finish and continued on to win three times in a row in 2000, 2001, and 2002.
With Audi Sport Japan Team Goh assuring another win for Audi in 2004, it was clear Audi was on the racing warpath.
In 2006, Audi made history not only by entering the first diesel sportscar in the Le Mans, but also securing their overall victory.
The Audi Sport team continued to earn wins throughout 2007, 2008, and 2009. 2011 saw a close finish for the Audi R18 TDI, and in June 2012 at the 80th anniversary of Le Mans Audi made history again.
In 2012, Audi entered the R18 e-tron quattro and became the first hybrid vehicle to win at the Le Mans.
From 2012 until now Audi has achieved several more Le Mans victories and has begun to sell Audi Le Mans merchandise for dedicated Audi motorsport fans.
Now fast forward to the 2016 Le Mans results. Sticking with their proven racecar, the R18 e-tron quattro, Audi secured both third and fourth place at the 2016 competition. GER Audi Sport Joest team Jarvis, Duval, and di Grassi completed an impressive 372 laps, only 9 laps below their successor. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro sister car completed an honorable 367 laps with drivers Fassler, Lotterer, and Treluyer.
Audi Motorsport: Past and Present.
At the birth of Le Mans in 1923, competing cars were also available for purchase by the public. In present day, cars are more specialized, especially when it comes to Audi racecars at Le Mans.
Over time, Audi Motorsport has continued to modify, enhance, and perfect their racecars. Since 1980, they have dominated numerous competitions, with a variety of cars and engine types.
Starting with their iconic quattro® all-wheel drive, Audi won during their first appearance at the World Rally Championship. They then proceeded to secure win after win at Le Mans with their innovative TFSI® engine technology.
Audi reached the pinnacle of their success with the TDI® diesel engine that combined power and efficiency.
As we mentioned earlier, the first car to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a diesel engine was an Audi, the R10 TDI to be exact. The R10 was victorious at the Le Mans in 2006, and future Audi supercars have been modeled after its success.
The most recent Audi Motorsport development is the completely redesigned the 2016 Audi R18. Using the proven TDI engine, the R18 is both efficient and powerful. As an LMP1, the R18 is not meant for everyday driving and is designed specifically for track success. The R18 is set up for success with an aerodynamic design, lightweight build, plus a modified hybrid system with lithium-ion batteries for energy storage.