50th Victory for an Audi R8

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September 12, 2004

Source: Audi Communication Motorsport

The Audi R8 continues to write motorsport history: The most successful Le Mans prototype of all time celebrated its 50th victory at the 1000 kilometre race at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend. This milestone is particularly impressive because it was achieved over a mere four year period and in only 60 races.

Since its debut at the 12-hour race at Sebring in March 2000, the Audi R8 has been considered the sports-prototype to beat. The R8 has already won the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans four times. With its five victories in succession at Sebring, it remains, up till now, unbeaten, just as it does in “Petit Le Mans” at Road Atlanta. R8 drivers have won the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) five times in a row. And the R8 was also in a class of its own from the off in the Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES) held for the first time in 2004.

The R8 development, overseen by Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich as well as both Wolfgang Appel (Vehicle Engineering) and Ulrich Baretzky (Engine Technology) has not only set new standards as far as performance is concerned in sports car races. Quite literally its reliability: There has not been a single engine failure in a race to this day.

Since the 2001 season, the Audi R8 V8-engine has been using the worldwide unique combination of FSI and turbo technology. In the meantime it is also successfully used in the new A3 and A4 2.0T models. The advantage of this technology in motorsport is the same as in every day life: reduced fuel consumption coupled with simultaneously improved initial throttle response.

The Audi engineers also demonstrated “Vorsprung durch Technik” in many other areas in the R8 project. The R8 was the first Le Mans prototype with a pneumatic gear-shift. Audi developed also a unique system that allowed the complete gearbox and suspension unit to be changed in a little over four minutes – a fascinating spectacle that the regulations have forbidden in the meantime.

Other regulation changes targeted the performance of Le Mans prototypes. That’s why the Audi R8 must now, in the intervening period, manage with less power (approximately 550 instead of the original 610 hp) and a narrower rear wing. Nonetheless, the Audi R8 is still in a class of its own particularly over the race distance.

The importance of the model designation “R8” was puzzled over for a long time. The explanation is simple: Since the legendary original quattro, Audi has numbered all internal vehicle projects consecutively. With the R8, the project name also became the official vehicle name and is now synonymous for the world’s most successful Le Mans prototype.

All 50 victories of the Audi R8

1 Sebring (USA) Frank Biela / Tom Kristensen / Emanuele Pirro
2 24h Le Mans (F) Frank Biela / Tom Kristensen / Emanuele Pirro
3 Sears Point (USA) Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish
4 Mosport (CDN) Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish
5 Dallas (USA) Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro
6 Portland (USA) Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish
7 Petit Le Mans (USA) Michele Alboreto / Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish
8 Laguna Seca (USA) Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish
9 Las Vegas (USA) Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro
10 Adelaide (AUS) Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish

11 Dallas (USA) Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen
12 Sebring (USA) Laurent Aiello / Michele Alboreto / Rinaldo Capello
13 Donington (GB) Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen
14 Jarama (E) Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen
15 24h Le Mans (F) Frank Biela / Tom Kristensen / Emanuele Pirro
16 Sears Point (USA) Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen
17 Most (CZ) Stefan Johansson / Patrick Lemarie
18 Mosport (CDN) Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro
19 Laguna Seca (USA) Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro
20 Petit Le Mans (USA) Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro

21 Sebring (USA) Rinaldo Capello / Johnny Herbert / Christian Pescatori
22 24h Le Mans (F) Frank Biela / Tom Kristensen / Emanuele Pirro
23 Mid-Ohio (USA) Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro
24 Road America (USA) Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen
25 Trois-Rivières (CDN) Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen
26 Mosport (CDN) Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen
27 Laguna Seca (USA) Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro
28 Miami (USA) Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro
29 Petit Le Mans (USA) Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen

30 Sebring (USA) Frank Biela / Philipp Peter / Marco Werner
31 Road Atlanta (USA) Johnny Herbert / JJ Lehto
32 Trois-Rivières (CDN) Frank Biela / Marco Werner
33 Mosport (CDN) Frank Biela / Marco Werner
34 Road America (USA) Johnny Herbert / JJ Lehto
35 Spa (B) Seiji Ara / Tom Kristensen
36 Laguna Seca (USA) Frank Biela / Marco Werner
37 Miami (USA) Johnny Herbert / JJ Lehto
38 Petit Le Mans (USA) Johnny Herbert / JJ Lehto
39 Le Mans (F) Seiji Ara / Tom Kristensen

40 Sebring (USA) Frank Biela / Pierre Kaffer / Allan McNish
41 Monza (I) Jamie Davies / Johnny Herbert
42 24h Le Mans (F) Seiji Ara / Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen
43 Mid-Ohio (USA) JJ Lehto / Marco Werner
44 Nürburgring (D) Pierre Kaffer / Allan McNish
45 Lime Rock (USA) JJ Lehto / Marco Werner
46 Infineon Raceway (USA) JJ Lehto / Marco Werner
47 Portland (USA) JJ Lehto / Marco Werner
48 Silverstone (GB) Pierre Kaffer / Allan McNish
49 Road America (USA) JJ Lehto / Marco Werner
50 Spa (B) Jamie Davies / Johnny Herbert

Technical Data Audi R8 (2004)

Vehicle type
Le Mans Prototype (LMP 900)

Carbon fibre monocoque, crash structure ACO and FIA approved, CFK rollbars front and rear, carbon fibre body

V8 engine, turbo charged, 90 degree cylinder angle, 4 valves per cylinder, 2 Garrett turbo charges, to comply with the rules 2 x 30.7 mm air restrictors and boost pressure restriction to 1.67 bars absolute, direct fuel injection FSI

Engine management: Bosch MS 2.9
Engine lubrication: Dry sump, Shell lubricants
Displacement: 3600 cc
Output: about 550 hp
Torque: more than 700 Nm
Transmission: Rear wheel drive
Clutch: CFK clutch

Sequential 6-speed sports gearbox, partner Ricardo, pneumatic gear-shift

Multiple-disc limited-slip differential

Constant-velocity plunging tripod joints

Rack-and-pinion power steering

Independent suspension front and rear, double-wishbone suspension, pushrod system with spring/damper unit, adjustable gas-filled shock absorbers

Hydraulic dual-circuit brake system, monobloc light-alloy brake calipers, ventilated carbon fibre brake discs at front and rear, brake balance adjustable by driver

O.Z. forged magnesium rims,front: 13.5 x 18 inches, rear 14.5 x 18 inches

Michelin Radial, front: 33/65-18, rear: 37/71-18

Length: 4650 mm

Width: 2000 mm
Height: 1080 mm
Minimum weight: 900 kgs
Fuel tank capacity: Le Mans/LMES: 80, ALMS: 90 ltrs

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