We’ve had a few Cars of the Week now, but this will our first race car: The Audi R10 TDI.
This is undoubtedly one of the most successful race cars of all time. It’s won every single constructors championship it’s ever participated in, up until Audi’s racing team replaced them with the R15 and Colin Kolles bought the R10s: American Le Mans Series 2006, 2007, 2008, and Le Mans Series 2008. All the driver’s championships during those seasons were also won using this car. Every single 24 Hours of Le Mans it entered has been won as well. Sadly, Colin Kolles has not been able to repeat this success, the cars placing 7th and 9th at the last 24 Hours of Le Mans. Interestingly though, they managed to get ahead of 2 of the 3 Audi R15s. One of them had crashed and was out of the race though, and the other spent most of its time in the pits.
Nonetheless, this I think shows that the R15 isn’t a very worthy successor to the R10, especially since while the R10 remained undefeated under Audi’s control, the R15 lost its first Le Mans, placing 3rd behind two Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs, the main rivals of Audi. It did win the 12 Hours of Sebring though. The R10 fought off its main rivals all the time. It won every season it ever participated in, every 24 Hours of Le Mans, and 2 of the 3 12 Hours of Sebring, losing the third not to its main rivals at Peugeot, but to the Porsche RS Spyders in the LMP2 class. It still dominated LMP1. . It has been an enormous success. The R15 has had a bad start though, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring, but only just, and losing the 24 Hours of Le Mans quite badly, with a car in 3rd place and two others far behind, in 17th and 48th place. The 17th place car had spent most of its time in the pit garage, with some serious mechanical issues, while the 48th place car had a crash and was unable to get to the pits for repairs, ending its race. The drivers reported some serious understeer problems for the first several hours of the race too.
The R10 is, I think, better looking, and will most likely end up being the more successful car once the R15’s duty is done. Perhaps the R15 needs time though, maybe Audi needs to adapt to it. After all, Audi only raced it at the 12 Hours of Sebring before jumping straight into Le Mans, one of the toughest motor races in the world. Even after the experience at Le Mans though, they came in 3rd and 4th at Petit Le Mans later, again behind 2 Peugeots. Let’s have a few technical details on the R10 now. The engine is a 5.5L twin-turbocharged V12 TDI. There aren’t any official figure on power, but it’s rumoured to develop about 700hp de-restricted, limited by fuel combustion quality. The car can’t run at this power output during an endurance race though, or the particulate filter could get clogged. The power probably varies from race to race, depending on the track layout, race length, and other factors. The engine is connected to a six-speed flappy-paddle gearbox. The claimed top speed when released was 370kph (About 230mph). The highest speed recorded was 354kph (Roughly 220mph) during practice at the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car weighs roughly 920 – 940kg (2024 – 2068lbs). The weight probably depends on how the car is set up for the race. All this adds up to quite some speed, as the car proved when racing a Harrier jump jet. The jet beat it over a 1km drag race, but the margin was tiny, and it the Audi held the lead until the last moment.
So then, to sum up, this car is fantastic. Give it a capable team and it will pump out victory after victory. Sadly, the guys at Audi have abandoned it, leaving Kolles to try and get the best out of it. Clearly though, they aren’t able to. It’s a shame, but the best we can do is remember it’s glory days, and celebrate them by making it our Car of the Week.
Car Picture: F1Fanatic
Engine Picture: RSportsCars