Audi R18 e-tron quattro

Motorsport | Audi ditches Le Mans for Formula E

After almost two whole decades of dominance, one of the biggest names in endurance racing has called time on participation. 

2015 Audi R18 e-tron quattro #7

Audi Sport officially announced yesterday that, at the end of 2016, the Audi brand will no longer compete in the World Endurance Championship. That means 18 years of Le Mans competition will also come to an end, as Audi Sport elects to pursue Formula E instead.

2015 Audi R18 e-tron quattro #7

This decision is hardly surprising, and had been rumoured in the previous weeks as a very real possibility. Since the introduction of the R10 TDI, Audi’s LMP strategy for the past decade has been built around the use of diesel engines. Following last year’s dieselgate furore, diesel power has become immediately unfashionable across the Volkswagen Group.

Whilst the motoring world was already pushing towards the greater use and integration of electric power, dieselgate has made this even more important for brands like Audi and Volkswagen. Audi Sport already has a partnership with Team ABT Schaeffler Motorsport in Formula E, meaning the barriers to entry are low. Throw in the fact that Formula E now allows for the development of bespoke powertrain elements, and it becomes a fairly easy decision. (more…)

2015 Le Mans Gallery – Porsche takes historic 17th win with 1-2 finish

Ok, we’ll hold our hands up. We didn’t predict this in our Friday Photo Gallery. Nope, we overlooked the pace of the Porsches in qualifying and, instead, went for another Audi victory. We were wrong, even if we had predicted it a year ago. But congratulations to Porsche for surprising us with a rather impressive 1-2 win!

2015 Le Mans Porsche 919 Race 001In what has been billed as the closest Le Mans LMP1 battle for a generation, Porsche and Audi duked it out for most of the entire 24 hours. After coming so close last year, the Stuttgart outfit were obviously determined to take a record 17th outright Le Mans victory. Oh, and they also seemed to have luck on their side, with Audi beset with multiple bizarre incidents and uncharacteristic reliability problems.

2015 Le Mans Porsche 919 Race 002

Still, that takes nothing away from the efforts of Nico Hülkenberg, Earl Bamber, and Nick Tandy and their error-free drive to the finish. For both Hülkenberg and New Zealander Bamber, this was their first ever Le Mans experience, whilst Brit Tandy had only previously raced in GT classes at La Sarthe. Despite their limited history at the 24 hour race, they drove the #19 car superbly to victory.

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Friday Photo – Le Mans 2015 Qualifying Gallery

If you remember back to last year, EngageSportMode got quite excited about Le Mans. Less so about the racing, as good as it was, and more so about the awesome imagery coming out of the manufacturers’ press offices. 2015 is proving to be no different, so we bring you some of the best shots from qualifying. r

Porsche – 919 Hybrid 2015 Le Mans Quali Porsche 919 Hybrid

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Le Mans 2014 Gallery – Audi wins for 13th time with 1-2 podium

After qualifying, when Audi only managed the 5th quickest time behind Toyota and Porsche, we cautioned against writing off the German giant too soon. Turns out we were right not to. 24 hours is a long time, and Audi proved to have the most luck and reliability in what became a day-long war of attrition. The result was the marque’s 13th top category Le Mans victory in 16 years – quite a record.

Le Mans 2014

There must come a point where Audi starts to wonder just how many times it wants to win at Le Mans. Having all but dominated the event since the turn of the millennium, there surely has to be a moment where the Volkswagen Group board decides the brand should do something else. But, until that day, it almost seems inevitable that Audi Sport will take the top honours year in, year out.

That isn’t to do a disservice to Audi; their professionalism, experience and sheer determination to win means you can never rule them out of contention. The race wasn’t without its difficulties for the German team. The #3 R18 e-tron quattro was ruled out early on in chaotic scenes, as torrential rain lashed down the Mulsanne straight. In addition, both #2 and #1 cars required replacement turbochargers to be fitted – no small task in itself. Oh, and there was the need for the #1 car to be rebuilt from scratch after Loïc Duval’s huge crash on Wednesday!

But, despite all that, Audi Sport brought home a 1-2 finish, with the #2 car of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer taking first, with Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gené and Tom Kristensen taking second in the rebuilt #1 car. 2014 was perhaps the most open race for sometime; it certainly wasn’t clear-cut Audi would win Until Porsche hit problems with only a couple of hours to go, did it became apparent they just might. But, as ever, there was always that feeling Audi would come through; and they did. Well done Ingolstadt.

Le Mans 24 Hours

#8 Toyota repaired after dramatic early Mulsanne crash to take third.

Early on it had looked like Toyota had the 2014 event already sewn up. The pace of the #7 TS040 HYBRID looked unstoppable for the vast majority of the race, showing the speed which has netted the team two wins in the World Endurance Championship already in 2014. (more…)

2014 Le Mans Gallery – Toyota, Porsche and Audi Qualifying

Thursday’s qualifying sessions at Le Mans produced more incidents and red flags. However, when the cars were running, it also produced some stunning images. Here, in the second of our galleries, we’ve highlighted the battle between the top three LMP1-H teams; Audi, Porsche and Toyota to claim pole position.

 Toyota Racing – TS040 HYBRID

Le Mans 24 Hours

Whilst pole position ahead of a 24 hour long race is largely academic it does, at least, allow that team to score big marketing points if not actual World Endurance Championship ones. For 2014 it was the #7 Toyota TS040 HYBRID of Kazuki Nakajima, Alex Wurz and Stéphane Sarrazin who claimed the symbolic top grid spot. Current World Endurance Championship leaders of Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi managed to secure third place in the #8 car. A strong showing from Toyota, but Le Mans is a much different beast to the 6 Hour races the team has done so well in this year.

Porsche Team – 919 Hybrid

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb

Porsche surpassed Audi as dominant Volkswagen Group competitor in qualifying, after displaying promise in practice.  The #14 car of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb securing second on the grid, with the #20 car of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley lining up proving to be 4th fastest. Does the 919 Hybrid have the reliability to last the full 24 hours in its first year of competition?

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Audi welcomes Porsche back to Le Mans – Video

Earlier we shared a couple of images to celebrate Porsche competing in the top category of the Le Mans 24 Hours, for the first time in 16 years. Rival Volkswagen Group member Audi decided to make a little video to personally salute the return of the Zuffenhausen company to Le Mans:

It’s not the first time we’ve seen Audi take to the road in the R-18 e-tron quattro, but it is the first time we’ve seen it overtaking a Porsche tractor. A subtle, friendly, dig at Porsche’s history perhaps?

Anyway, it’s rather cool and shows that things are already heating up between the German LMP1-H competitors ahead of next weekend’s main event.

Audi R8 LMX Limited Edition – Lasers Fitted as Standard!

We’ve mentioned Audi’s recent fascination with laser lights before, seeing them fitted to its R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans racer and also the Sport quattro concept. Finally, after all that teasing, you can now have the chance to use a car on the road with actual frickin’ laser beams for headlights.

Audi R8 LMX

Based on the already rather special R8 V10 Plus, yes the one from that advert, the LMX gains an extra 20 bhp and a veritable banquet of carbon fibre, in addition to those obvious special headlights. As a limited edition of just 99 cars worldwide, the R8 LMX promises to be somewhat rarer than yesterday’s BMW M5 special edition.

2014 Audi R8 LMX 003

But then, at a list price of £160,025 on the road in the UK, it’s hardly likely to be on everyone’s shopping list. In fact the LMX represents a premium of over £30,000 compared to the S-tronic gearbox equipped V10 Plus. (more…)

Friday Photo – Audi R18 e-tron quattro loose on the streets

EngageSportMode might be all about BTCC this week, but then it’s not everyday you see a prototype race car driving through the city streets. However, residents of Le Mans in France are probably more familiar with it than anyone else in the world.  Le Mans Warm-up 2014 To mark the launch of its latest LMP1 challenger, this week Audi Sport decided to take the R18 e-tron quattro out on the roads from the centre of Le Mans town, to the actual race track itself. Proof that not only is it likely to be an accomplished on-track performer, it’ll also come in quite handy if someone forgets to buy the baguettes come race weekend. Le Mans Warm-up 2014 This year’s R18 e-tron features a bigger V6 TDI engine, up from 3.7 to 4.0 litres, along with an electric turbocharger and an impressive system to recover energy from the heat generated by the exhaust system. On the outside a new, predominantly gloss white colour scheme, features silver and red elements with various parts picked out in special reflective paint. Audi Sport claims that on the move at night, the R18 e-tron quattro will be “particularly impressive” to spectators. Oh, and lest us not forget those scary laser headlights! (more…)

Audi Sport quattro laserlight Concept – Happy New Year!

Due to being out in the Scottish wilderness for New Year’s Eve, EngageSportMode would like to wish you all a belated Happy New Year and best wishes for 2014. To compensate for the lateness, here are some photos of the awesomely named Audi Sport quattro laserlight Concept car.

2014 Audi Sport quattro laserlight Concept 001

We mentioned not long ago about the fact Audi Sport would be using laser headlights for the 2014 R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans prototype, and suggested it wouldn’t be long before the technology found its way onto regular road cars. We’ve also posted about the stunning Audi Sport quattro Concept, and how much we would love Ingolstädt to build it.

2014 Audi Sport quattro laserlight Concept 002

For the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Audi has decided to combine the above two ideas into one show car. Painted in Plasma Red, the latest version leads to an even greater suggestion that Audi might be thinking about green lighting the quattro Concept for limited production. We can only hope.

2014 Audi Sport quattro laserlight Concept 003

Keep reading ESM for more news on the quattro Concept, along with a host of news, reviews, motorsport and much more throughout 2014.

Friday Photo from the Archive #13

Audi UK would like us all to know that tomorrow is the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year. To celebrate this occasion, it took cars from its model range out in the dark to create some rather fancy looking pictures.

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Audi hasn’t just used December 21st as an excuse to make pretty pictures – it’s also using tomorrow’s less than eight hours daylight to remind us that their range comes ‘well equipped’ for the darkest weeks. The photos have been produced using ‘light painting’, where exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source or camera to illuminate certain parts of the car or to create light trails around it. We agree the pics look cool, but a Group B Audi Sport S1 quattro with full competition-spec spotlights is maybe a better reminder. But we’ll indulge Audi UK on this occasion.

Audi Sport S1 quattro

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