After securing 3 consecutive wins with the Turbo Diesel R10 TDI and fifth win on the trot going back to 2004 when Audi R8 was still active Audi came up with a completely new design with a new motor for their 2009 Le Mans challenge.
The new design was precipitated by a change in regulations mandating reduced air consumption and reduced turbo boost pressure. Audi’s R15 featured a much slimmer monocoque and a lighter 600hp V10 turbo diesel replaced the 700hp V12 of the R10.
Audi started their 2009 R15 programme with a win in the Sebring 12 hours where Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello beat the rival Peugeot 908 driven by Franck Montagny, Stéphane Sarrazin and Sébastien Bourdais by just over 22 seconds.
At Le Mans Allan, Tom and Rinaldo qualified today’s featured car chassis #105 2nd behind the Peugeot driven by Franck, Stéphan and Sébastian.
During the race it became apparent that Peugeot had the faster cars and #105 eventually lost six laps on the winning 908 driven by David Brabham, Marc Gené and Alexander Wurz. Allan, Tom and Rinaldo eventually finished third in #105 5 laps down on the second place 908 driven by Franck, Stéphan and Sébastian.
The sister R15 driven by Mike Rockenfeller, Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner retired after an accident while the third R15 driven by Alexandre Prémat, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas finished a distant 17th.
Chassis #105, seen at Goodwood Festival of Speed shortly after Le Mans in 2009, was upgraded to R15 Plus spec for 2010, but it only appeared once and then only as a T-Car driven in practice for the 2009 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta for Allan, Tom and Rinaldo.
Thanks for joining me on this “V10 Turbo Diesel” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 1962 Aston Martin Zagato. Don’t forget to come back now !