Diesel Wins Le Mans! (Again)

Audi’s has won the Le Mans race nine times according to Eurotuner Magazine. The victory this year was especially important for them. They not only managed to take the top three places, but they proved yet again that a reliable engine with high efficiency is actually faster than a powerful one.

The development achievements of this year’s Audi R15 TDI bode extremely well for their consumer models:

In 2010 the demands on diesel engines were particularly high due to the restrictions imposed by the regulations. “Squeezing more output from the engines without sacrificing reliability posed a great challenge, which our team mastered in an outstanding manner,” said Ullrich after the race. “We did not use the full potential of the V10 TDI engine this year in order to be on the safe side. That’s why it was clear to us even before the race that we wouldn’t have the fastest car – but a very reliable and efficient one. The development objective of the R15 plus was 20 percent higher efficiency. We managed to achieve this. We’ve been working very hard for this over the past few months. This makes this success even more rewarding.”

20% more efficient? Congrats Audi! Reliable and efficient wins the race. More importantly it translates well to the average driver — still happy and more productive (fewer stops) while causing less damage to the environment.

Perhaps it should be noted that Audi had reliability issues last year that cost them the race, losing to Peugeot’s diesel supercar.

Peugeot out-Audied Audi

The R15 was new last year and Audi decided to save money by performing fewer tests before competition. This cost them the race. Peugeot capitalized, which setup Audi this year to relaunch the R15 with significantly more tests and a better understanding of risk from overheating.

Alas, it is hard to watch all of this and wonder when US car manufacturers will see the beauty of diesel efficiency in a performance vehicle. Dodge and Cadillac are the obvious candidates. Imagine a CTS diesel wagon…again.

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