Le Mans

Le Mans 2014 – First Qualifying Audi and Porsche Gallery

The 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours is already turning into a dramatic event; and that was only on the first day of practice!

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber

 

Loïc Duval’s terrifying crash in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro caused substantial delays, and a lot of worried faces. Luckily he walked away from the 170 mph crash with just minor grazes. The evening qualifying session was also filled with a number of incidents, but in the end it was first blood to the Porsche team. The 919 Hybrids claimed the top two positions in qualifying, with the Number 20 car of Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernard and Mark Webber (yes, of not being as quick as Seb Vettel fame) on provisional pole. Volkswagen Group rivals Audi could only manage fifth and sixth on the provisional grid.

What the first night also produced was some stunning photography. Here we’ve highlighted our favourites of the two German giants battling it out on track:

There’s still lots more running to come, if everyone can avoid triggering more red flags. EngageSportMode will bring you more news and photos from Le Mans as the weekend unfolds.

Porsche 911 Martini Racing Edition – Details and Photos

Porsche and Martini sponsorship go together in the world of racing cars much like, well, Lancia and Martini sponsorship come to think of it. But anyway, the German manufacturer has produced a special edition 911 to celebrate the Porsche’s return to the Le Mans big time. 

2014 Porsche 911 Martini Racing Edition 001

As we saw last week, some of the most famous Le Mans Porsche racers have worn the distinctive blue and red stripes of the Martini colour scheme. Whether this necessarily translates into an attractive road car is another question, however.

2014 Porsche 911 Martini Racing Edition 002

Based on the Carrera S, the Martini Racing Edition is limited to just 80 models worldwide, with only two reported to be coming to the UK. By the time you’re reading this, they’ve probably already been snapped up at a hefty price of £102,862. So, what have you missed out on? That livery for a start. It may be classic Porsche, but the details just don’t quite work. We wonder if it might have looked better with full length centre stripes and without the giant Martini logo on the front.

2014 Porsche 911 Martini Racing Edition

The Cup Aerokit comes as standard, with racer-esque front bumper and jutting splitter, combined with the equally dramatic rear spoiler. We’re fans of the satin platinum finish applied to the standard Carrera S alloy wheels; a little bit motorsport. Inside there are red illuminated side sills, spelling out the model name (nice), dashboard accents in Martini colours, leather electrically-adjustable sport seats and a black tachometer dial. (more…)

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.

Friday Photo – Porsche 24 Hours of Le Mans Heritage

We’re just over a week away from 82nd 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will feature a three-way battle for the headline LMP1-H title between Porsche, Audi and Toyota. Porsche hasn’t competed in the top category for 16 years, so the pressure is on the new 919 Hybrid to see if it can live up to the marque’s illustrious Le Mans history.

Porsche Le Mans History 001

Just some of the 16 Porsches to have taken outright victory at Le Mans.

With 16 overall victories, Porsche has a lot to live up to as the constructor with the record for most wins at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Audi is fast closing only Porsche, taking 12 overall titles since its first win with the R8 back in 2000. Since the millennium, it’s been Audi all the way, bar Bentley’s victory in 2003 and Peugeot’s 2009 win.

911 Gt1-98 took Porsche's last outright win back in 1998.

911 GT1-98 took Porsche’s last outright win back in 1998.

Amongst the famed Porsche winning cars such as the 936 and 962, is the infamous 917K which claimed the Stuttgart firms first win back in 1970. The rather beautiful 911 GT1-98 took Porsche’s most recent victory in 1998, after two years of trying with the original GT1 model. Despite being slower than rivals Toyota and Mercedes-Benz, the 1998 win was a product of the GT1’s reliability; something Porsche will be hoping to repeat with the 919 Hybrid. (more…)

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…)

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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Why the Volkswagen XL1 is better than a Le Mans racer

Volkswagen is currently making a lot of noise about this:

VW_5899_2

If you didn’t already know, that’s the Volkswagen XL1, currently the world’s most fuel-efficient hybrid car in regular production. EngageSportMode isn’t usually a fan of eco-cars, but the design details of the XL1 mean that it feels less hair shirt and more Nomex overalls than most.

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The Nissan ZEOD RC – Is it all new?

As a break from discussing Formula 1 tyres, instead EngageSportMode examines Nissan’s new electric Le Mans challenger, and the craziest car you’ve never heard of.

Is the Nissan ZEOD RC really from the 1970s?

A couple of weeks ago, Nissan unveiled its new electric racing car – the ZEOD RC. Following on from 2012’s DeltaWing program which showed so much promise at Le Mans, until being cruelly punted off track, the ZEOD RC uses a development of the DeltaWing’s unique body shape. As you can see it the photo below, with an exceptionally narrow track at the front,  tapering to a wide rear, the ZEOD RC will look like little else on the race track.

Nissan ZEOD RC (courtesy of http://www.newsroom.nissan-europe.com)

Nissan ZEOD RC (courtesy of http://www.newsroom.nissan-europe.com)

But just how unique is the ZEOD RC’s design? Flicking through an old Autosport magazine, EngageSportMode came across an advert buried away in the classifieds section. The advert in question? This:

June2013-ESM 001

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ESM – 2012 Goodwood FoS Photo Blog #1 Thursday

Whilst the Festival of Speed “proper” doesn’t begin until Friday, Thursday plays host to the Moving Motor Show event. Designed to let the public get up close and personal with a range of new cars from Skoda and SEAT to Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari. Of note were the BMW M5’s which seemed to rev and crackle for fun, and sheer awesomeness of five Audi R8 V10 Spyders tearing up the hill one after another. Thursday is also the quietest day of the Festival of Speed, with not all garages and paddocks full with cars. The number of spectators is also lower, giving the early bird the chance to get close up with the vehicles on site without wading through a wall of elbows. ESM arrived on Thursday in sweltering humid conditions at around lunchtime. Once the tent was up and somelight refreshment taken onboard, we set off to explore. Below is a pictorial summary of what we found:

Stay tuned for further photo and video highlights from the other days of the Festival of Speed.