Audi has won the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours with a diesel hybrid race car and quattro four-wheel drive for the second time in succession.
Following a change in the regulations that was made at short notice, the three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars on average were able to do two laps less on one tank filling than their main rival Toyota. The Audi drivers had to compensate for the additional pit stops by faster lap times on track – and did so in weather conditions that at times were extremely difficult, as rain showers crossed the track again and again during the dramatic race, resulting in numerous incidents and a total of eleven safety car deployments. The field ran for more than five hours under ‘yellow’ while the track was cleared and repairs were performed.
The three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars – which are basically rear-wheel drive but also equipped with an electrically driven front axle to provide e-tron quattro four-wheel drive from 120 km/h – were the fastest vehicles in the field throughout the entire race, as well as the most efficient ones; victory in the Michelin Green X Challenge, a competition of the cleanest, fastest and most efficient prototypes, went to Audi.
The twelfth Audi victory at Le Mans was achieved by the number ‘2’ Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven by Loďc Duval (France), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland) who had started the race from the pole position.
The victorious Audi R18 e-tron quattro ran for 24 hours without the slightest technical problem.
The 90th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours was overshadowed by a fatal accident that occurred in the GT class shortly after the race started.
“Obviously, this horrible incident dampens the joy about another great Le Mans victory for Audi in which our team and our drivers were under extreme tension for 24 hours and couldn’t make any mistakes,” commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “We were all completely shocked by the news of Allan Simonsen’s death. During his career, he also contested races in the Audi R8 LMS. Our sympathy primarily goes to his family and friends but to the team of Aston Martin as well. It shows that you must never stop doing whatever is possible for safety in motorsport. This is the first fatal accident we’ve had to witness in 15 Le Mans years. I hope it’ll remain the last.”