The new diesel-powered Audi R15 TDI racecar was besieged by fans at the technical scrutineering for this weekend 24-hour race in Le Mans town center. Thousands of spectators turned out, despite the pouring rain, to see the cars up close for the first time.
Audi Sport has spooled off approximately 20,000km in testing with the Audi R15 TDI since rolled out last December. Now things get serious: The first 24 Hours of Le Mans race for the innovative racing sportscar from is this weekend. Audi Sport Team Joest cleared the first compulsory hurdle in France without encountering any complications. On Monday, all three of its Audi R15 TDI concluded technical scrutineering in the Le Mans town center without problems.
"It's fantastic that in spite of the terrible weather, so many spectators attended the technical scrutineering, which traditionally opens the Le Mans week," explained Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "That our competitors were also interested in the R15 TDI is clear - after all, they haven't seen the car since Sebring."
After its victorious dbut in March, the diesel sportscar has been optimized for the peculiarities of the extremely fast track at Le Mans. "We had planned two aerodynamic configurations for the R15 TDI from the very beginning," said Dr Ullrich. "A version for Sebring with maximum downforce, and one for Le Mans with greater emphasis on aerodynamic efficiency. The basic concept is, however, exactly the same. The modifications we undertook for Le Mans were already planned before Sebring."
It was not only the three Audi R15 TDI which took the limelight on Monday, but the nine Audi drivers signed innumerable autographs despite the bad weather. Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas came directly to Le Mans from America after completing for Porsche at Watkins Glen, Dindo Capello from a race with the Audi R8 LMS at Magione, Italy. Tom Kristensen surprised the spectators with his new helmet design, which portrays the Audi R15 TDI.
Rain is forecast up to and including Wednesday. Sunshine and temperatures of up to 26˚C in the shade are expected for the weekend.