Racing improves the breed, or so the old saying goes, yet in Audi’s case it certainly rings true. Following on from victories at Le Mans with TFSI technology (2001) and then the first ever diesel powered sports endurance racer (2006), the Ingolstadt automaker is attempting to go one better this year with a diesel hybrid prototype.
The car, which should prove a worthy rival for Toyota’s gasoline hybrid, the TS030, is seen as a logical step, especially considering Audi Sport’s experience with oil-burning technology.
According to Audi’s head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, the concept of combining diesel and hybrid technology “is at least as ambitious and challenging as our [pure] diesel project was in its early stages.”
Although insiders say development and testing has so far yielded encouraging results, the plan for Audi’s new hybrid racers is to supplement rather than replace its existing “pure” diesel race cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The diesel hybrids are scheduled to make their racing debut at the notorious Spa Francorchamps circuit for this year’s 6-hour event on May 5. If all goes well, it should set the stage for a memorable performance at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 16-17.