Audi has chalked up its fifth consecutive rostrum finish in the Le Mans 24 Hours – the world’s toughest motor race.
The German prestige car manufacturer added to its impressive roll-of-honour when Emanuele Pirro, JJ Lehto and Stefan Johansson swept their "privateer" Audi R8 to a fine third place in France last weekend (14-15 June).
Having dominated saloon and touring car racing with its quattro four-wheel-drive models, Audi switched to endurance sportscar racing in 1999 finishing third on its Le Mans debut.
Victories in 2000, ’01 and ’02 were achieved and despite running a 2002-specification Audi R8 in this year’s race - featuring a twin-turbocharged V8 engine offering 60bhp less than at Le Mans last year due to an organiser imposed rule change - two R8s achieved creditable third and fourth place finishes.
For the past three years, the Audi R8 has featured FSI, petrol direct fuel saving economy now available to British motorists in the A2, A3 and A4 model range. With the average speed around the 8.48-mile track at over 130mph during the 24 hour duration, this has been of great significance.Published 17 June 2003