As we’re heading into the Le Mans 24h centennary race, let’s remember one of the most successful cars ever in the 24 Hours of Le Mans: the Audi R8 LMP. This car marked its generation two decades ago with a first win in 2000.
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The Audi R8 is the car that won the most times the twice-round-the-clock in Le Mans and has an astonishing total of 63 wins in 80 races. Developed as a continuation of the R8R that gathered pass-mark results in 1999, the Audi R8 won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans five times between 2000 and 2002 and again in 2004 and 2005 — only interrupted in 2003 by the Bentley Speed 8 that was partly based on the Ingolstadt brand’s sister R8C.
Built around a carbon-fibre composite monocoque meeting the LMP-900 category rules, the structure of the car allowed the mechanics to very quickly change every part during races and to gain a lot of time during the inevitable reparations. powered by a petrol twin-turbo V8 3.6 litres engine producing around 600hp, the Audi R8 is the last of the petrol consuming Audis before the overwhelming domination in endurance racing by the diesel-powered R10, R15 and R18. Nowadays, the Audi R8 can be seen in action during historic race meetings.
The cars in our photographs — are the never-raced chassis number 606 , the chassis 405 (yellow and grey) 2nd at Le Mans in 2000 and the 603 wearing an Infineon livery that finished third at Le Mans 2002 and won 12h of Sebring in 2004.
Photos by Christian Rodriguez and Erwan Seite.
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