At one of the most exciting and fastest races in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hour race, Audi clinched another triumph at what is arguably the world's toughest motor race.
For Audi, this marked the eighth Le Mans triumph in ten races. This puts Audi in third place - just one victory short of Ferrari - on the list of winners of the endurance classic, which has been staged since 1923.In its third running at Le Mans, the Audi R10 TDI remained unbeaten, meaning Audi continues to be the only manufacturer to have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a diesel-powered vehicle.
Le Mans 2008 marked the Audi R10 TDI's 29th race and the 16th victory of an Audi diesel sportscar.
In 2008, the victorious Audi R10 TDI ran with second-generation bio fuel for the first time: In addition to the well-known GTL components, a small amount of BTL (Biomass-to-Liquids) was added to the Shell V-Power Diesel fuel. 5192.649 kilometers (3226.71 miles, 381 laps) were completed by Dindo Capello, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen in the victorious Audi R10 TDI (chassis number 204) in the race, setting a new record for the current circuit layout.
With an average speed of 216.3kph (134.41mph), the 76th running of Le Mans was the fifth quickest in the event's history, and the fastest since the Hunaudires straight was slowed by adding two chicanes in 1990. The fastest race lap of the Audi R10 TDI was set by Alexandre Prmat on lap 75 with a time of 3m 23.939sec (average 149.5mph), which was 3.237sec less than Allan McNish's fastest lap from last year. The fastest lap an Audi R10 TDI has ever achieved at Le Mans was driven by Allan McNish in Saturday morning's warm-up at 3m 23.319sec (average 149.95mph).
For only the fifth time in the Le Mans' history, and for the first time in 20 years, a vehicle marked as car #2 won the event. During the race, four different cars run at the front, with the lead changing 25 times altogether. The Audi R10 TDI that ultimately won the race led the field for 178 of the 381 laps - more than any other car.
Of the 55 vehicles that had started from the grid, 19 retired.
The victorious Audi R10 TDI spent just 31min 56sec in the pits. The vehicle pitted a total of 32 times with 20 tire changes. The winning car did not encounter a single technical problem.
One tank of Shell V-Power Diesel took the Audi drivers a distance of over 12 laps. On average, the fuel consumption was just 45.56 liters per 100km (5.16mpg US).
There were eight driver changes in the winning car. The longest stint was by Allan McNish (from 6:11 to 9:31am), the Scotsman was at the wheel of the Audi R10 TDI for 3 hours and 20 minutes.
Tom Kristensen celebrated his eighth victory at Le Mans. For Allan McNish, this was his second Le Mans triumph after 1998, and the first with Audi. Dindo Capello won for the third time.
In summary, this was the 26th Le Mans appearance of a German car manufacturer, the 50th of an open cockpit sportscar and the 17th for Michelin, who has not been beaten at Le Mans since 1998.