Audi has clinched victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race and created motor racing history by becoming the first hybrid to win the famous event.
Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer, the winning trio and last year’s defending champions, completed 378 laps in 24 hours in Audi No. 1.
They pushed their teammates, Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, in Audi No. 2 into second place by just a single lap. The other two Audi racers were diesel-powered.
“We were even better prepared than last year,” winning driver Treluyer told the Associated Press. “We knew we were capable of winning. But to do it again is just magical.”
Around 200,000 spectators witnessed the race, which is run in Northern France and goes on for 24 hours nonstop. This is the first time in its history that a car using hybrid technology has won.
Audi was the not the only racing team trialing hybrid technology. Its main rival Toyota also entered two of its LMP1 hybrids.
In its first Le Mans appearance in 13 years the Japanese carmaker began well, taking the lead in the fifth hour. However, it was eventually forced out of the race following crashes involving both its cars, one of which resulted in its driver, Anthony Davidson being hospitalized with two fractured vertebrae.
The R18 e-tron quattros are significantly different from conventional hybrids. Besides the massively powerful turbo-diesel V6 running the rear wheels, the car has no batteries, which Audi technicians decided would weigh the car down too much.
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