Audi hybrid wins Le Mans

18 Jun, 2012 12:42pm

Audi claims the first-ever hybrid victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours

Audi has finished first, second and third at the 80th Le Mans 24 Hours, after an impressive but short-lived challenge from Toyota.

The victory by the diesel-electric number one Audi of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer - who also won the event in 2011 - is Audi’s 11th win and the first time the world famous event has been won by a hybrid. It covered 378 laps and covered 3,205 miles, including 33 pit stops.  

It defeated the number two Audi diesel-electric hybrid of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Dindo Capello, which finished ahead of the diesel-powered number four Audi of Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis and Mike Rockenfeller to complete a podium lockout for Audi.

The number three Audi suffered multiple accidents, with the time lost allowing the Toyota-powered Rebellion Racing Lola to snatch fourth place and prevent an Audi clean sweep. 

Toyota’s return to Le Mans saw the firm show impressive pace to be second and third after four hours, with the Audis losing time after numerous unscheduled stops.

By the fifth hour, the number seven Toyota of Nicolas Lapierre had taken the lead from the number one Audi. The same time the sister Toyota, driven by former Formula One driver Anthony Davidson, was taken out by a Ferrari in a major accident. Davidson suffered two fractured vertebrae in the race-ending incident.

The number one Audi re-took the lead after a quicker pit stop, before the Toyota collided with the experimental Nissan DeltaWing. The Toyota retired after 12 hours, ending an admirable debut for the TS030.

Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, said, "It’s a great result that Audi is now the first brand to have achieved victory with a hybrid vehicle - and right on the first run, as before with the two other technologies, and - what’s more – with both R18 e-tron quattro cars on the two top spots.”