In front of over 200,000 spectators and approximately 2,000 media representatives, the three Audi R8 sports cars impressed in the opening stages of the Le Mans 24 Hours (France). During the first three hours, the Audi drivers moved up from start positions three, five and eight into the first three places. Shortly after 6:30 p.m., the three Audi R8 sports cars took the top spots when the leading Pescarolo-Judd had to come to the pits due to shifting problems.
In gruelling heat (more than 30 degrees Celsius the shade), some of the 49 cars that started the race, immediately showed weakness in the first three hours of the endurance classic. Conversely the Audi R8 sports cars of the importer teams ADT Champion Racing (USA) and Audi PlayStation Team ORECA (France) ran without any problems. Changing the front bodywork on the "French" R8 after hitting a kerb was the only unexpected incident.
As expected, the Audi R8 sports cars are not the fastest cars in the field due to the handicaps imposed by the regulations. Thanks to the low fuel consumption of the Audi Turbo FSI engine, however, the Audi drivers can complete up to 13 laps on one tank of fuel. The Pescarolo-Judd that had started from pole position, had to refuel for the first time after eight laps despite being allowed to race with 10 litres more fuel tank capacity.