Audi began the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in World Champion’s style. The two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars dominated the Silverstone 6 Hours and deservingly clinched a one-two victory. For Audi, following the one-two result in the non-championship Sebring 12 Hours in March, this marked the second sports car success this year.
For the first time, Audi won the famous RAC Tourist Trophy. The tradition-steeped trophy that has been awarded since 1905, was the main prize for the 2013 WEC opening event. The Scotsman Allan McNish (GB) was pleased to win this important motorsport trophy at his “home” round. Together with Tom Kristensen (DK) he was on the grid for the first time with his new team-mate Loïc Duval (F). The trio is now leading the WEC drivers’ standings with a seven-point advantage. In the fifth hour of the race, after 151 laps, they took the lead. Despite an excursion while lapping another car and an additional tire change McNish went on to recover the lead and crossed the finish line with a 3.4-second advantage.
From the start, a thrilling battle had ensued with Toyota. Allan McNish in the number 2 Audi grabbed the lead for the first time on the sixth lap. The sister car – number 1 – driven by Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) completed Audi’s one-two lead at an early stage. On lap 77, the Swiss fought his way forward to the very front. A defect on the left front driveshaft after four hours of racing though meant that the hybrid system of car number 1 was no longer able to deliver its power to the front wheels. With that, the current World Champions had to admit defeat.
In the technologically challenging battle of the best hybrid sports cars Audi – like last year – achieved victory in front of Toyota at Silverstone. The two R18 e-tron quattro cars had been set up for particularly high aerodynamic downforce. The smaller air restrictor prescribed by the regulations this year was to reduce the output of Audi’s LMP sports cars. The engineers from Audi Sport worked on compensating for this disadvantage, which also included a power-oriented engine development. Furthermore, the 58-liter fuel tank capacity of the diesel hybrid sports car being around 20 percent smaller than that of the gasoline engine sports car of competitor Toyota resulted in shorter refueling intervals for Audi. Despite an additional refueling stop Audi managed to win with a one-lap advantage in front of the best Toyota finishing in third place.
In just three weeks from now, the next competition is on the agenda. At Spa-Francorchamps, on May 4, Audi is fielding three R18 e-tron quattro cars in the race for the first time this year in preparation for the Le Mans 24 Hours.