A year ago, Audi added yet another new chapter to the ongoing diesel success story on race tracks around the world. Developing over 650 bhp, the V12 TDI fitted in the R10 TDI sports prototype left its petrol-powered rivals trailing in all of the races it participated in, including the most challenging of them all, the classic Le Mans 24 Hours. The R10 TDI also triumphed in the LMP1 category of the American Le Mans Series with an impressive string of victories.
Initially, even the drivers could not believe their ears – seasoned professionals of the likes of Tom Kristensen and Frank Biela suddenly had to change their habits. Previously, they had used the engine noise emanating from their open sports cars as an important yardstick – and now the engine noise faded out altogether above a certain speed, so quiet was the V12 TDI in the new R10.
A further forte of the V12 TDI is its low fuel consumption. Measured against its already extremely efficient predecessor, the R8 with petrol direct injection, the R10 TDI burned considerably less fuel at Le Mans. This was despite the fact that the diesel was unable to make the very most of its strengths on the Sarthe circuit with its long straights and a full throttle ratio approaching the 75 percent mark.