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Audi Defend Their Corner

Audi have responded to the current urgings of Toyota for a revised petrol/diesel balance of performance by reminding all concerned of the leaps in performance, technical innovation and efficiency that their programme has made in the past decade and a half.

Audi correctly align their 2001 TFSI gasoline direct injection engine, the 2011 VTG turbocharger in Audi’s TDI engine and the 2012 e-tron Quattro technologies with other milestone innovations which debuted at Le Sarthe in decades past, they mention too that “Ever since Audi has been involved in the most important endurance race, efficiency has acquired crucial importance – a core competency of the brand with the four rings.”

Amongst a slew of facts and figures surrounding the Audi programmes unparalleled run of success the point that Ingolstadt is most keen to reinforce is that their racing innovations all have two common factors: “They are efficient and have relevance to production cars – this applies to TFSI gasoline direct injection as well as to the TDI engine including the VTG (Variable Turbine Geometry) turbocharger, to quattro four-wheel drive, to e-tron hybrid technology, to ultra-lightweight design, to LED lighting technology and to numerous other detailed solutions.”

”Right in the first decade of its programme, Audi achieved impressive progress: From 2000 to 2010, fuel consumption dropped by more than ten percent although the average speed in the race increased from 208.6 to 225.2 km/h.

”The milestone of the first hybrid victory in 2012 was linked to another significant efficiency increase: Consumption dropped to 33.34 litres which – so Audi reduced it by another 10 percent when compared to the victory achieved a year before.”

In 2013 they promise that “the focus will be placed on continuing ultra-lightweight design, optimised  aerodynamics, driver assistance systems, the matrix-beam headlight system and, of course, reliability and efficiency.

“No other automobile manufacturer has a track record of Le Mans technology and sporting successes that has been compressed into as short a time span as Audi has,” emphasises Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Le Mans has been pointing the way to the future for a long time. The regulations promote innovations and the most efficient solutions like no other racing series does.”

Convincing stuff – but will it all persuade the powers that be to leave the Audis alone in regulatory terms ahead of Le Mans?

We’ll add a further chapter to this debate tomorrow with Paul Truswell’s trademark analysis of the Six Hours of Spa – His conclusion on the competitiveness or otherwise of the 2013 Audis and Toyota are well worth a read.