Audi Diesels Dominate 24 Hours of Le Mans

I missed almost the entire 24 Hours of Le Mans race this weekend, unfortunately. But from all the reviews I’ve read, it was one hell of a battle, mostly between Peugeot and Audi diesel cars.

Peugeot was the heavy favorite to win, especially after nabbing the four top qualifying positions last week and setting a blistering pace. The Audi diesels were close behind, qualifying 5-6-7. Qualifying isn’t racing though, and when the race finished Sunday morning, there were no Peugeots left on the field, but plenty of Audis, with the German marque securing a 1-2-3 podium finish in the LMP1 class.

As one might expect, this year’s race was faster than last year, with an average race speed of 220 kph (~137 mph). The overall winner was the No. 9 Audi driven by Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, and Mike Rockenfeller. They completed a record 396 laps around the 13.65 km track (~8.5 miles). The No. 8 and No. 7 Audis came in second and third place respectively, completing their dominance of the race.

The secret it seems was reliability. The much ballyhooed Peugeots did not even finish the race due to many mechanical problems, but the Audis experienced very little in the way of technical issues. With the 2010 victory under their belt, Audi has tied Ferrari for the most Le Mans wins with 11. But next year, the diesels will have to compete in larger classes against a more varied field of cars, including hybrids.

Will the diesels continue to dominate? We’ll have to wait until 2011 to find out.

Source: New York Times | Image: LAT Photogenic


Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.