Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Scott Keogh named new Audi of America President

. Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Following Johan de Nysschen's recent departure to rival Infiniti, Audi has today announced that Scott Keogh will become the new President of Audi of America. Formerly Chief Marketing Officer at Audi of America, Keogh has demonstrated an amazingly keen eye for marketing the Audi brand here in the U.S. Some of Keogh's marketing credits include award-winning Super Bowl commercials, Truth in 24 documentary series, cinematic product placements (Iron Man) and the strategy to re-introduce RS and allroad models to the U.S. We wish Scott the best of luck and look forward to the next milestones for Audi USA under his leadership. Full report after the jump.

Jun 20, 2012 , HERNDON, Va. - Audi will build on its record-setting performance in the U.S. market with a new President to lead Audi of America.

Scott Keogh will assume the top leadership role for Audi brand activities across the U.S. effective immediately. Keogh comes into the job with experience of six years as Chief Marketing Officer at Audi of America. In that position, he led all product planning for the U.S. market in addition to award-winning marketing and advertising campaigns that helped Audi of America achieve record levels of consumer awareness and consideration.

A strong advocate for Audi performance and efficiency engineering, Keogh helped steer the introduction of Audi TDI clean diesel technology to the U.S. market by positioning it as a social cause rather than a mere engine variant. He developed the strategy to re-introduce RS performance models, including the new RS 5 coupe coming to dealerships this year, to the American premium sports car segment. Keogh also advocated for the return this year of the iconic Audi allroad, as part of a strategy that has resulted in 14 new Audi model launches for American consumers since 2006.

Among the Audi brand accomplishments led by Keogh – each with its own portion of risk and unconventional thinking for the segment – have been early awareness-building exercises such as the Truth in 24 documentaries about the Audi dominance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race; bold Super Bowl advertising; a significant push into social media; and integration of Audi into blockbuster Hollywood productions, such as the Iron Man movie series.

The Audi brand has established sales records over the past 17 consecutive months, culminating in an all-time annual record of 117,561 premium performance models sold nationwide in 2011. That topped the previous annual sales record of 101,629 Audi vehicles sold in the U.S. market just one year earlier.

“We see exceptional growth opportunity in the U.S. market as we continue moving toward our goal of positioning Audi as the leading luxury automotive brand in the world by 2020,” said Rupert Stadler, AUDI AG Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Gains in the U.S. are truly a strategic pillar for the brand and we are confident that the leadership provided by Scott Keogh will continue the momentum at Audi of America.”

Audi of America has shown momentum across its businesses. Consumer awareness and consideration are at an all-time high level thanks to Audi of America marketing and media activities. Audi Parts and Accessories sales reached record levels in 2011, and are poised to eclipse those results in 2012. Audi Certified pre-owned sales achieved record numbers in 2011, as well. The 278 Audi dealer partners in the U.S. are seeing record returns on sales on average, and the brand demonstrated solid profitability in the U.S. last year.

“Audi has demonstrated remarkable progress in recent years,” Keogh said today at Audi of America headquarters in Herndon. “There is much work to be done in a highly competitive segment of the auto business. But the sights are set and the team is in place to meet our goals.”

As the next Audi of America President, Keogh replaces Johan de Nysschen who led the organization over the past 7 ½ years in an Audi career that spanned nearly 20 years.

Source: Audi of America


Video: DRIVE's Chris Harris compares B5, B7 and B8 Audi RS4


If you're as much a fan of YouTube's DRIVE channel as we are, you know that each Wednesday brings a new video from across the pond via "Chris Harris on Cars." We've had the tendency to focus on Harris' reviews not only because of his top-notch work, but also the amount of great Audi content being produced (re: Sport quattro/Ford RS200 comparo and A1 quattro ice driving videos). This week's video however, was especially tailored for us quattroholics. Grab some refreshments, sit back and watch as Harris compares three generations of one of our favorite Audis, the RS4 (and a comparison with the Mercedes C63 thrown in for good measure). Video after the jump.

Source: DRIVE


Monday, June 18, 2012

Audi sweeps 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans; R18 e-tron quattro makes history

. Monday, June 18, 2012

Marking the brand's eleventh overall and fourth 1-2-3 win, Audi was again victorious at this year's 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Sweeping the podium were last year's winning trio of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer in the first place #1 R18 e-tron quattro; followed by the #2 R18 e-tron quattro driven by Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish in second; and #4 R18 ultra driven by Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis and Mike Rockenfeller in third. Full report, photos and quotes after the jump.

Ingolstadt/Le Mans, June 17, 2012 – AUDI AG has achieved another technological milestone in motorsport. On the 80th running of the famous Le Mans 24 Hours, a vehicle with hybrid drive – the Audi R18 e-tron quattro – has triumphed for the first time.

Around 200,000 spectators witnessed a fascinating race with the drama and incidents that are typical for Le Mans plus an impressive demonstration of “Vorsprung durch Technik.” The four Audi R18 cars from Audi Sport Team Joest were the quickest and most reliable vehicles and after 24 hours occupied positions one, two, three and five.

“By achieving this further success at the world’s most important endurance race our engineers demonstrated their high technological expertise in a particularly impressive way,” commented Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, who personally watched the race on location. “With the e-tron quattro in combination with ultra lightweight design, we put a completely new technology on the grid and immediately won with it – this cannot be taken for granted by any means, particularly here at Le Mans. This weekend again showed the type of things that can happen in this race and how important perfect preparation is.”

All four Audi R18 cars had the chance to clinch what amounted to the brand’s eleventh Le Mans victory in total. After 378 laps, last year’s winners Marcel Fässler (CH), André Lotterer (D) and Benoît Tréluyer (F) at the wheel of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro designated as car number “1” were again the front runners. Dindo Capello (I), Tom Kristensen (DK) and Allan McNish (GB) as the runners-up caused the all-wheel drive of the future in which the conventional drive system is intelligently combined with an electrically driven axle to record a one-two result. Audi is already testing this technology in which the drive shaft is replaced by electric cables for use in production vehicles.

Le Mans rookie Marco Bonanomi (I), Oliver Jarvis (GB) and Mike Rockenfeller (D) in the best conventionally powered Audi R18 ultra completed the fourth one-two-three victory for Audi at the Le Mans 24 Hours after 2000, 2002 and 2010. Romain Dumas (F), Loïc Duval (F) and Marc Gené (E) at the wheel of the second R18 ultra finished in fifth place.

Operating at the rear of all four Audi R18 cars was the latest evolution of the compact V6 TDI engine with VTG mono turbocharger that was used at Le Mans for the first time in 2011. The new ultra-light transmission with a carbon fiber housing – a novelty in a Le Mans sports car – held up to the Le Mans endurance test covering a distance of 5.151 kilometers in all four vehicles without any problems as well. Like quatto all-wheel drive, ultra-lightweight design is a core competency of the company.

The two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars embody these two technologies in a particularly extreme form – and they were the protagonists at the 80th edition of the endurance classic right from the beginning. They only had to relinquish the leading position to one of the two Toyota hybrid vehicles once for a few laps on Saturday night. After the early retirements of their fiercest rivals the two R18 e-tron quattro cars fought a thrilling duel for victory throughout the night until noon on Sunday during which the lead changed several times and the two diesel hybrid sports cars were often separated by just a few seconds.

An accident by Allan McNish in the fast Porsche corners less than three hours before the finish caused the preliminary decision. Audi Sport Team Joest managed to repair the heavy damage at the front of the R18 e-tron quattro in record time and to thus save second place. In the early phase, car number “2” had lost nearly a lap after a massive piece of rubber pick-up had gotten stuck in the area of the rear suspension.

The winning car with chassis number R18-208H nicknamed “Electra” was not spared from incidents either. Marcel Fässler touched the track barrier twice on Saturday morning: the first time after spinning at high speed and the second time when he had to evade a GT vehicle that was standing sideways in the Mulsanne corner. Benoît Tréluyer, who was suffering from a severe cold which he had caught on Friday while participating in the drivers’ parade in the rain in the center of Le Mans, spun once at the entrance to the pit lane.

The third-placed Audi R18 ultra – car number “4” – lost a lap right at the beginning of the race due to a check of the rear suspension. On late Sunday morning a gear got stuck twice which the driver was able to correct each time by switching the ignition on and off. Afterward the R18 was running perfectly again and allowed Marco Bonanomi and Oliver Jarvis to clinch the first podium place at Le Mans together with Mike Rockenfeller, who returned to the podium a year after his serious accident.

Two nearly identical slips caused the Audi R18 ultra #3 in which Loïc Duval set the fastest lap of the race to lose its chance for victory. On Saturday night, Romain Dumas in the first chicane while lapping a GT vehicle hit the dirty part of the track and slid against the track barrier. The same mishap occurred to Marc Gené on Sunday noon. In both cases, Audi Sport Team Joest managed to repair the R18 in an extremely short period of time. In total, though, twelve laps were lost.

“This was a race of the kind you can arguably experience only at Le Mans,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich after his four Audi R18 cars had crossed the finish line. “You should never rejoice too early at Le Mans, which was obvious again especially on Sunday noon. The whole world was already talking about a one-two-three-four victory and all of a sudden two of our cars had accidents almost simultaneously. That the squad repeatedly managed to repair the cars so quickly after the slips clearly speaks for Audi Sport Team Joest that can simply be banked on at Le Mans. On the whole, I can only take my hat off to the entire squad of Audi Sport that worked extremely hard for a year to make this triumph possible. It was a very big challenge to develop a hybrid car in such a short time that is quick and able to hold up for 24 hours. The fact that, as in 2001 with the TFSI engine and in 2006 with the TDI, we managed to be successful right on the first run simply proves the level of technological expertise that is available at Audi. This is a great day for Audi Sport, for Audi and for the e-tron quattro.”

With its eleventh victory at Le Mans, Audi has extended its lead in the World Endurance Championship. Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish as the runners-up recaptured the lead in the drivers’ world championship.

Quotes after the race:

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “This is no doubt a historic victory for Audi. We were the first to win Le Mans with a direct-injection turbo gasoline engine and the first to be successful with a diesel engine. It’s a great result that Audi is now the first brand to have achieved victory with a hybrid vehicle – and right on the first run, as before with the two other technologies, and – what’s more – with both R18 e-tron quattro cars on the two top spots. That was an outstanding achievement by the entire squad, naturally with support from Audi’s Technical Development too, as we’re always working very closely together with the people who are developing our cars of tomorrow for the customers.”

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “What a race! It was a hot battle right at the beginning, as Toyota was a much tougher rival than many had been expecting. It’s a shame that both of their cars retired so early, and Anthony Davidson’s vehicle with a heavy accident. We only remember too well from last year what a team is going through in moments like that. Afterward, we fought a team-internal battle with cars number one and two – and it was an open and remarkable fight. I congratulate the winners but wouldn’t have minded seeing the other team win either, particularly Dindo Capello, whose birthday is today and who probably contested his last Le Mans race –although that’s what we’ve been thinking for the past five years ... But not only the showing of the two hybrid vehicles was impressive. Our rookies Marco (Bonanomi) and Oliver (Jarvis) in the Audi R18 ultra together with ‘Rocky’ (Mike Rockenfeller) delivered a compelling race that caused them to finish in third place. They had to experience the fact that Le Mans has its own laws but they commandingly mastered this challenge. Our number ‘3’ had two accidents that were almost identical and unfortunately frustrated their race for the podium even though they were running fast. All in all, we’re very happy. All four car crews did an outstanding job. For Audi, having achieved the debut win of a hybrid car has marked another milestone at Le Mans after the initial triumphs with a TFSI and a TDI. We’re proud to have had the opportunity of being part of this.”

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “This was an incredible race. There were so many highs and low – especially for me. I had a great team. The mechanics gave everything after the accident to repair the car as quickly as possible. As always, my driver colleagues did a fantastic job too. For Audi, this is a great day. Clinching not just victory but a one-two result with the new technology of the e-tron quattro is a brilliant feat.”

André Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “The new Audi R18 e-tron quattro is very strong and gave us a lot of confidence. It’s brilliant to have won yet again! That’s an incredibly nice feeling. It was a really strenuous race. A year ago, we were battling against Peugeot and this year against Toyota at the beginning of the race. Unfortunately, our rival retired. But we contested a very fierce race against car number ‘2’ in our team as well. Audi Sport allowed all of us to give everything. It was real racing, and in your own team that’s particularly interesting. Last year, we were running against Peugeot by ourselves after two major accidents. This year, the trust among the entire squad has grown even further. Competing with Audi continues to be very special.”

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “It was a very tough race because traffic on track was particularly heavy this year. You had to be extremely careful not to leave the racing line while lapping as the track was extremely slippery there. There were a number of critical maneuvers. In the morning hours, we had a thrilling and fair duel with our ‘sister car.’ The duel between the two Audi R18 e-tron quattro impressively proved the potential of the hybrid car. I’m happy to be on the top spot of the podium again.”

Dindo Capello (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “Up until the accident it was a great race. When it happened we were in contention for victory. As we could see last year, you’ve got to take risks if you want to win. Without those risks, Audi wouldn’t have won at that time. That’s why we took risks this year too. The result is a bit disappointing for the whole team and especially for Allan (McNish). As a racer, I know how he’s feeling at the moment. Tom (Kristensen) and I know that something like that can happen to any driver anytime, especially when you’re battling for victory. Here at Le Mans, you can’t afford to give away even a tenth of a second anymore. Sometimes it works out and at others it doesn’t. For us, it didn’t work out this time. But next time we’ll have better luck again.”

Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “The race gave me a lot of pleasure because it offered everything. I particularly enjoyed the three stints at night. I was supposed to drive as fast as possible and complete twelve laps with each fuel tank filling. I managed this every time. Especially in the morning when we’d made up a lot of time and even taken the lead we were very confident. I’m sad that I wasn’t able to battle with André (Lotterer) for victory anymore on the final laps. But I’m even sadder about the fact that Dindo (Capello) didn’t win on his last run at Le Mans. He would have deserved it. We gave everything for that. ‘Well done’ to car number ‘1.’ They did a great job and deserve this success as well. Audi’s performance and reliability are impressive when you look at the challenges to be mastered in the race. At Le Mans, you’ve got to expect anything at any time.”

Allan McNish (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “I’m devastated. I’m sorry for our team: Dindo, Tom, the engineers and the mechanics. They did a perfect job throughout the race. Despite a few problems we were in contention for victory up to my accident. I caught a slower GT vehicle in the Porsche corners and expected the driver to stay on the right-hand side. But he didn’t. I haven’t got a clue why. I spun and crashed into the guard rail with the right front. That damaged the front bodywork and the suspension – the necessary repair cost us two laps. That was a very, very big disappointment.”

Marco Bonanomi (Audi R18 ultra #4): “It’s simply great to have finished on the podium right on my first Le Mans run. The race wasn’t easy for us because we had a puncture early on and transmission problems later. But we were very quick and made no mistakes. I’m very happy for Audi, my team colleagues and myself. A perfect result.”

Oliver Jarvis (Audi R18 ultra #4): “Incredible. A race with a lot of ups downs. There were phases when I’d have never believed that we’d be able to make it on podium. We were running very fast for a few hours and then our car suddenly stopped on track. That’s when I thought ‘it’s all over now.’ But the team not only worked hard in that case and we were able to continue. I want to thank the guys; they did an outstanding job. We owe the podium to them. This has made a dream come true for me.”

Mike Rockenfeller (Audi R18 ultra #4): “To be honest, I’m pretty happy that we made it onto the podium at Le Mans. That was our minimum goal. We weren’t quick enough during major parts of the race to be in contention for the very top spots. Still, I want to thank the team and my two fellow contenders. We made the best of the situation and made no mistakes ‘Well done’ to the other three Audi teams who had an incredible speed. I think we’ve experienced a great day for Audi that we can celebrate today.”

Romain Dumas (Audi R18 ultra #3): “Actually, we had a good race in our Audi R18 ultra. Unfortunately, we were slowed by two accidents one of which I admit I was at fault in. This incident alone cost us so many laps that the leap onto the podium was no longer possible. Still, nobody in the team needs to feel bad about that. On the whole, all of us did a good job. That particularly goes for our mechanics, who had to repair the car twice.”

Loïc Duval (Audi R18 ultra #3): “For us, it was a somewhat frustrating, tough race. We had two accidents and related repair breaks. But like they had throughout the week, our mechanics did a fantastic job. Aside from the incidents our car was running superbly but the situation at the front was very tight, so we weren’t able to close up to the three front runners. But I’m already looking forward to next year and hope to achieve a better finish then.”

Marc Gené (Audi R18 ultra #3): “It was a very difficult race for us. We lost ground due to a puncture early on. We kept on battling afterwards but Romain (Dumas) and I both had an accident which cost us time again. But the mechanics did a great job of performing the necessary repairs. The most important thing, though, is that Audi managed a one-two-three win. I’m happy that I drove a large number of laps and learned a lot that I’ll be able to benefit from next year.”

Source: Audi Motorsport


Audi SQ5 TDI officially revealed


Presented in conjunction with last weekend's 80th running of 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi has officially revealed the most-potent model of their Q5 line - the SQ5 TDI. Powered by a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 TDI under the hood, the SQ5 boasts 313 hp and a monstrous 479 lb/ft of torque. Enough to launch the SQ5 from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.1 seconds, on to a 250 km/h (155 mph) top speed.  That sounds like the makings for one seriously bad-ass 'sleeper' to us.  Video, photo gallery and full report after the jump.

Ingolstadt, 2012-06-15 - In conjunction with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi is presenting the new top model of its recently revised Q5 model series – the Audi SQ5 TDI. Boosted by two turbochargers, its 3.0 TDI produces a brawny 230 kW (313 hp) and 650 Nm (479.42 lb-ft) of torque between 1,450 and 2,800 rpm. The Audi SQ5 TDI will roll into dealerships in the first quarter of 2013 and is the first S model in the history of Audi with a diesel engine.

The powerful TDI, which displaces 2,967 cc, uses a twin-turbo design in which the two turbochargers are connected in series via a flap. Cylinder head cooling, the timing and lift of the intake cam shafts, the pistons, their oil-jet cooling and the piston pins have been specially designed for the high-performance concept. The common rail system develops as much as 2,000 bar of pressure and injects as many as eight shots of fuel into the cylinders per cycle. The 3.0 TDI biturbo has a great sound. This sound is further modulated by a sound actuator in the exhaust system – a loudspeaker in short side channel.

The Audi SQ5 TDI sprints from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.1 seconds; top speed is 250 km/h (155.34 mph). Fuel consumption is on average just 7.2 liters per 100 km (32.67 US mpg). Innovative thermal management, the start-stop system and the regulated oil pump all contribute to this top figure. A fast and smooth-shifting eight-speed tiptronic and quattro permanent all-wheel drive with torque vectoring transfer the power of the brawny V6 diesel to the road.

The electromechanical power steering in the Audi SQ5 TDI is sensitive and highly efficient. The sport suspension lowers the vehicle body by 30 millimeters (1.18 in). The standard 20-inch wheels feature a five parallel-spoke design and are fitted with 255/45 tires. Audi offers optional wheels measuring 21 inches in diameter. The black brake calipers on the front axle sport S badges. The optional Audi drive select system can be expanded upon request to include the dynamic steering system with its steplessly variable steering ratio.

The most eye-catching design cues are the platinum gray single-frame grille with its galvanized double bars in an aluminum-look finish, the roof spoiler and the modified bumpers. The high-gloss package and the aluminum-look exterior mirrors accentuate the area around the windows. Audi offers the new top model in the crystal effect paint finishes Estoril Blue or Panther Black. The body includes a high proportion of ultra-high-strength steels, making it very light, safe and rigid.

As is typical for an S model, the interior has black trim and exudes a sporty elegance. The headlining is optionally available in lunar silver. The power-adjustable sport seats come standard in Pearl Nappa leather/Alcantara. Leather upholstery in a choice of four colors is available as an option. Brushed aluminum inlays are standard. Options include Carbon Atlas, Piano finish and the new Aluminum/Beaufort wood black trim panels.

The instrument dials are gray and include a 3D-design S badge, the needles are white and the pedals and shift paddles have an aluminum-look finish. Additional visual highlights in the interior are the S gear lever knob, the S badges on the door sill trims, the start button and the specially-shaped steering wheel, the S welcome screen and the lighting package. Luggage capacity is as much as 1,560 liters (55.09 cu ft), making the SQ5 TDI the ideal car for sporty and active customers. It is also an unusually powerful towing vehicle, with a rated towing capacity of up to 2.4 metric tons (5,291.09 lb).

The Audi SQ5 TDI will roll into dealerships the first quarter of 2013, with prices starting at €58,500. Customers can also choose to have it equipped with Audi’s state-of-the-art assistance and infotainment systems as well as Audi connect services.

Source: Audi AG


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Audi R18 e-tron quattro starts from pole position at 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans

. Saturday, June 16, 2012

Clocking a lap time of just 3 minutes and 23.787 seconds in the final qualifying session on Thursday night, André Lotterer in the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro would take pole position for today's 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Commenting on the car's performance, Lotterer raved “The car was running like it was on rails, simply incredible.” In addition to the pole-sitter, Audi Sport would also occupy the 2nd, 4th and 6th starting positions. Full report and photos after the jump.

Ingolstadt/Le Mans, June 15, 2012 – Premiere at the Le Mans 24 Hours: The 80th running of the endurance classic that has been held since 1923 will see a sports car with hybrid drive starting from grid position one for the first time – the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro.

The intelligent combination of TDI power at the rear axle and an electrically driven front axle made it possible for André Lotterer in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro designated as car number “1” to achieve a fastest lap of 3m 23.787s in the final qualifying session on Thursday night shortly after 22:00 – and thus an improvement of last year’s best time by nearly two seconds.

“The car was running like it was on rails, simply incredible,” raved the 31-year-old German as he praised the advantages of the new type of electric quattro drive that is already being tested at Audi for use in production vehicles. “The guys at Audi Sport did a top job yet again and made my first pole position at Le Mans possible for me. Many thanks to them for this!”

But not only the R18 e-tron quattro showed a convincing performance on both qualifying days at Le Mans. World championship front runner Loïc Duval in the fastest conventionally powered number “3” R18 ultra was merely 0.291 seconds slower. “My lap wasn’t completely free, more would have been possible,” reported the Frenchman. “That’s why I’d actually expected my time to be beaten. But the main goal was to be in front of Toyota – and we achieved this.”

Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen in the number “2” Audi R18 e-tron quattro set the fourth-fastest lap (3m 25.433s) behind the quickest hybrid vehicle from Toyota. Le Mans rookie Marco Bonanomi in the number “4” Audi R18 ultra took grid position six (3m 26.420 s. This meant that all four vehicles fielded by Audi Sport Team Joest qualified for the three front rows.

After 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2011, this marked the seventh pole position for Audi at Le Mans. Each time, the brand with the four rings secured the complete front row at those events as well – albeit never before with two different technologies.

“Of course, we’re proud to be the first automobile manufacturer to clinch the pole position with a hybrid vehicle at Le Mans and to outperform the two Toyota hybrid cars,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “But this is just a very small step. The much bigger task is still ahead – the race. Therefore, as always, we used the two practice days almost exclusively to work on the race set-up. The result is that we’ve now got cars that are very good to drive and which until now ran with absolute reliability too. But you could also very impressively see today that you can’t only be fast at Le Mans with a diesel – that’s exactly what we’ve always said. This double pole is the nicest thank you for the entire squad that has been working hard on preparing the cars so superbly.”

The 80th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours will be started on Saturday at 15:00 and broadcast live by numerous TV channels worldwide. At Audi is offering live streaming in which spectators can continually watch the race from the onboard perspective of the Audi R18 cars.

The smallest Audi made a big appearance at Le Mans as well. The A1 quattro that is produced in a limited number of 333 cars will be driven in front of the field on the formation lap.

Quotes after Qualifying

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “I think it’s fantastic that we’ve captured the front row of the grid for Audi. As expected, our e-tron quattro is a bit faster than the Audi R18 ultra. And we could see that our competition from Toyota is close. Still, we’re running in front – that may not necessarily be important for the race but it’s a good base and, most importantly, great motivation for the squad that has been working so hard for this.”

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “We finished qualifying without any kind of incidents. We’ve worked out a successful set-up for all four cars. All the drivers are convinced that they’ve got a good race car. They were consistently fast. But with all cars we also went on the chase for times with less fuel and fresh tires once. That worked out better with some than with other – because traffic on track is a problem, among other things. In the end, Toyota unpacked fresh tires once more. They were running very fast. Congratulations on third place. That’s a respectable result on running for the first time. They showed that we mustn’t forget them in the race. ‘Thank you’ to the squad that perfectly prepared the cars, working nightshifts some of the time. This gives the drivers the resulting confidence.”

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “First of all, I’ve got to congratulate André (Lotterer) on this superb lap! He countered once more after Loïc Duval had bumped us from the top stop in between – that was really cool. I’m really proud of him. The car is good. Both at night and during the day I found a good rhythm and I’m really confident because our R18 e-tron quattro is easy to drive – and that’s very important for a 24-hour race.”

André Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “Clinching pole at Le Mans is a cool feeling. Of course a lot can happen in the race but our performance does show that we’ve got a strong car in our R18 e-tron quattro. So my thanks go to the squad that has been working hard for this for a year. I received only one set of new tires and had only one free lap which I made good use of. It’s good to know that the speed is there because the competition does not sleep. Toyota showed what they’re capable of toward the end of qualifying. We’ve now got a good starting base and have given the mechanics a nice reward for their fantastic commitment in the past few days.”

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “We’re very pleased with qualifying. Everything went according to plan: André (Lotterer) managed to drive a fast lap in order to secure a place at the front. Afterwards we continued to focus on the race set-up of our car. We found a good set-up, so we’re confident for the race. It’s always good to start into a 24-hour race with a car that you can handle really well.”

Romain Dumas (Audi R18 ultra #3): “The good work we’ve been doing for the past two days continued through to the end of qualifying. We did a lot of additional work on the set-up. Our Audi R18 ultra is really good now. We hadn’t expected to be so close to the best time, so in that respect the front row is a really nice result for us. Now we’re starting into the race from the far front. That’s a good sign.”

Loïc Duval (Audi R18 ultra #3): “This was a good qualifying session. We’re pleased and feel well prepared for the race. Obviously, we’d have liked to have clinched the fastest time but the Audi R18 e-tron quattro is simply a bit better here at Le Mans. Considering this, the best time for car number ‘1’ is also well deserved because they’ve been fast since the test day. For us, it’s good to start in second place. We’ve achieved good results over the distance as well.”

Marc Gené (Audi R18 ultra #3): “I’m very pleased. We did a good job and invested a lot of energy in preparing for the race. Loïc (Duval) concentrated on qualifying and drove a good lap. That makes me feel optimistic about the race. Second place is better than I’d expected. The race will be long and hard. Our work was good and the car is handling superbly.”

Dindo Capello (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “Congratulations to André (Lotterer), who gave the Audi R18 e-tron quattro the second best time after Allan (McNish) had managed to do so at Spa. That was a positive conclusion. We tested tires on the first trial in order to be prepared for the race and to get a clear picture of the tire choice. At the beginning of the last session Tom (Kristensen) was stuck in traffic on his best lap. Afterwards we just worked on setting up the car for the race and gained a good impression.”

Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “It was a good day for us. We focussed on a good set-up for the race. Our Audi worked well and in my stint after 10pm, the lap times were good and competitive on new tires. We face good, stiff competition but are looking forward to a great race. Of course well done to Andre on a perfect ‘pole’.”

Allan McNish (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “First of all, ‘well done’ to André (Lotterer) and his guys, that was a brilliant performance. For us, the day was much better than yesterday – on the one hand no doubt because of the better track conditions but especially because we had worked out a good set-up for the race. The competition is very close and we’re right in the middle. It looks like we’ll be seeing a thrilling race.”

Marco Bonanomi (Audi R18 ultra #4): “That was a nice qualifying session although it actually wasn’t qualifying for us in the real sense. On both days we were trying to work for the race and drove several stints straight to see how the tires were working. So, considering this, our time is okay even though it’s a bit slower than that of the other cars. But the grid position isn’t so important at Le Mans. We found a good rhythm and are ready for the race.”

Oliver Jarvis (Audi R18 ultra #4): “Of course I know that the grid position isn’t important for a 24-hour race but I’m still disappointed about our sixth place. We had the potential for a position on the two front rows but never had a completely free lap – but that’s the way things are at Le Mans. We know that we’ve got a good car for Saturday and Sunday. And that makes us optimistic.”

Mike Rockenfeller (Audi R18 ultra #4): “Congratulations to the squad with car number one that’s back on pole again – that was a strong performance. I’m pleased with our qualifying session. We drove a lot, had no difficulties and are all happy with the set-up of the car. I’m optimistic for the race because Oliver (Jarvis), Marco (Bonanomi) and I harmonize very well and have got the same feel for the car. That’s why the starting base is secondary for us for now.”

Qualifying results

1 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) 3m 23.787 s
2 Dumas/Duval/Gené (Audi R18 ultra) 3m 24.078s
3 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin (Toyota) 3m 24.842s
4 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) 3m 25.433s
5 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima (Toyota) 3m 25.488s
6 Bonanomi/Jarvis/Rockenfeller (Audi R18 ultra) 3m 26.420s
7 Leventis/Watts/Kane (HPD Honda) 3m 29.622s
8 Prost/Jani/Heidfeld (Lola-Toyota) 3m 29.837s
9 Belicchi/Primat/Bleekemolen (Lola-Toyota) 3m 31.866s
10 Bourdais/Minassian/Ara (Dome-Judd) 3m 33.066s

Source: Audi Motorsport