For the second consecutive year, Audi has won the toughest motor race in the world: the Le Mans 24 Hours. After last years searing heat, the Audi sports racing car now had to prove its qualities in torrential rain. ‘This success is even more valuable than last years,’ declared Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen, the Chairman of the Board, AUDI AG. ‘To get both cars home in the top-two places in these extremely difficult conditions is anything but normal.’
The 69th running of the French endurance classic was at times similar to a speedboat race and will be remembered as a big rain battle. ‘During the entire race, the drivers had to be absolutely concentrated,’ said Audi Head of Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. Audi works driver Tom Kristensen echoed the sentiments of all his team-mates by stating that it was ‘the toughest race I ever drove’.
For hours, rain was so relentless that drivers could only use half throttle on the long straights of the Le Mans circuit. It was also a particularly tough test for the cars’ technology. Both Infineon Audi R8 cars, however, turned out to be water-proof and managed the 321 laps without major problems.
Both Infineon Audi R8 cars battled hard from start to finish for victory. In the course of the race, new Audi technology proved its worth: a V8 twin turbo engine with petrol direct injection powered both works cars. The two Audi customer teams Champion and Johansson were quick but had little luck: The two R8 cars in 2000-specification retired in the first part of the race.
Le Mans Results
1. Biela/Kristensen/Pirro (Infineon Audi R8) 321 laps 2. Aiello/Capello/Pescatori (Infineon Audi R8) -1 laps 3. Wallace/Leitzinger/van de Poele (Bentley) -15 laps 4. Beretta/Wendlinger/Lamy (Chrysler) -23 laps 5. Deletraz/Fabre/Gene (Reynard-VW) -37 laps 6. Rosa/Babini/Drudi (Porsche) -38 laps 7. Jeannette/Dumas/Haezebrouck (Porsche) -39 laps 8. Fellows/OÂ´Connell/Pruett (Chevrolet) -43 laps 9. Perrier/Neugarten/Smith (Porsche) -46 laps 10. Chereau/Dumez/Goueslard (Porsche) -47 laps
Advantage through FSI Technology
Advantage through FSI Technology
Audi has revealed the secret behind its double win at Le Mans 2001: the Audi R8 is the first car with petrol direct injection to win this classic endurance race. For the teams that finished first and second, the use of this new technology meant not only an increase in performance potential, but above all a reduction in fuel consumption of around eight percent. The double success of Audis direct-injection vehicles also marks the start of a new era in spark-ignition engine technology: the use of FSI technology in Audi production vehicles is not far away.
The advantage of this technology in motor racing is that fuel consumption is reduced by around eight percent compared with the predecessor – an essential requirement for correspondingly longer distances between refuelling stops. Thanks to the precise dosing of fuel, the actually required amount of petrol is perfectly used. This is one of the reasons why the Infineon Audi R8 in Le Mans now manages on average at least one lap more per tank than previously.
As the air restrictors are mandatory, the top performance of around 610 bhp remained unchanged compared to the conventional engine. At lower revs the V8 twin-turbo of the Infineon Audi R8 increased its output by up to ten percent. The FSI engine offers a better combination of fuel and air, with the mixture forced into a more intense cylindrical movement by a special intake geometry.
In a conventional engine the intake air and fuel mix in a solid ratio in the intake tract, before the mixture reaches the cylinder. In contrast, in an FSI engine, the exactly required amount of fuel is directly injected into the combustion chamber applying pressures of around 100 bars – up to twenty times higher than in a conventional configuration.
In fact, the advantages of FSI technology can even be better utilised in everyday driving than on the race track. The consumption advantage in road cars lies at up to 15 percent, as the standard engine often runs at partial load and stratified charge, whilst racing units mostly work at full load with a typical homogenous mixture.
Audi closed its successful 2001 motorsport season with a superb 1-2-3 victory at the Petit Le Mans and managed to repeat a hat-trick for the second time in row: Just as last year, Audi won the three long distance classics at Sebring, Le Mans and Road Atlanta.
With their second ALMS victory in a row Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela also decided the DriversÂ´ championship of the American Le Mans Series for themselves. Because of the controversial ALMS point system, which gives various extra points, Emanuele Pirro secured the title. Frank Biela has to be content with the second place in the championship by a narrow margin.
Teams: 1. Audi Sport North America 206 2. Panoz Motor Sports 162 3. Champion Racing 151 4. Team Cadillac 86 4. Johansson Motorsport 86 6. Intersport Racing 73 7. Dyson Racing 71 8. Pescarolo Sport 35
Drivers: 1. Emanuele Pirro (Infineon Audi R8) 202 2. Frank Biela (Infineon Audi R8) 198 3. Rinaldo Capello (Infineon Audi R8) 175 4. Tom Kristensen (Infineon Audi R8) 161 5. Jan Magnussen (Panoz) 159 6. Andy Wallace (Audi R8) 153 7. David Brabham (Panoz) 145 8. Johnny Herbert (Audi R8) 113 9. Stefan Johansson (Audi R8) 89 10. Christophe Tinseau (Cadillac) 83