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Allan McNish will start the 81st Le Mans 24 Hours on Saturday June 22 aiming to win the legendary race for a third time and re-take the lead in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The driver who won the annual French race in 1998 and 2008 will drive a hybrid-diesel Audi sports car in the twice-around-the-clock endurance race.
McNish shares his Audi R18 e-tron quattro with eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Loïc Duval (France) aiming to earn Audi a 12th Le Mans victory.
This year’s twice-around-the-clock race is the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, McNish/Kristensen/Duval having finished first (Silverstone, GB) and second (Spa, B) which leaves the trio trailing Audi team-mates and 2011 & ’12 Le Mans winners, Marcel Fässler (CH)/André Lotterer (D)/Benoît Tréluyer (F), by a mere point.
“Le Mans has been and always will be, the biggest and most important sportscar race in the world,” said McNish. “For people not that interested in motor racing, most will have heard of the Monaco Grand Prix in Formula One, the Indianapolis 500 in the States and Le Mans. Le Mans has its own character, its own unique feel – it’s like soccer’s World Cup Final but for motorsport. The motorsport community basically congregates there for half the month of June.
Improved R18 e-tron quattro
The output of the electric motors in the R18 e-tron quattro has been increased to more than 80 kilowatts delivering around 200 horsepower transmitted through its front axle above 75 mph in seven specific “zones” around the 8.47-mile Le Mans track. The electric motors provide their power using energy “harvested” under braking.
As per regulations, an air restrictor limits the 3.7-litre, V6 TDI engine to deliver approximately 490 horsepower while the minimum weight is 915kg.
The bodywork features numerous refined details compared to last year’s WEC & Le Mans winning R18 e-tron quattro.
The organizing FIA Endurance Committee recently made “Balance of Performance” adjustments. While the fuel tank capacity of the hybrid-diesel Audi remains at 58-litres (12.76 imperial gallons), the hybrid-gasoline Toyota has had its tank capacity increased to 76-litres (16.72 imperial gallons).