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Audi R15-Promising debuts a Sebring

The "Motorsport" division Audi has presented a race track at Sebring in Florida with a brand new car, the R15. This has subsequently succeeded to the legendary R8 and R10 have dominated endurance racing over the last decade. But the last race of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was the leaders of Audi proves that even if they had won the ordeal mansoise, the Peugeot 908, also a diesel engine, were becoming too fast for the R10.

The engineers in Ingolstadt have thus begins their planning of July 2008 to develop a successor to the R10. Eight months later, the R15 was unveiled in the press. Although Audi has dominated endurance racing the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans in the last decade, it is not without apprehension that the team was presented to the American track. Indeed, unlike Peugeot, the number one opponent, which mainly improves the 908, Audi has designed and manufactured a brand new car, a new engine and did not really have time to make this winter testing newcomer.

New, new

If the R10 was an evolutionary model of the legendary R10 and adopts a V12 diesel engine, the R15 is new. Moreover, it is easy to convince oneself just to watch the front of the car. Whereas before we had played with finesse muzzle tapers before plugging floor overlooking the spaces between the Elements, this time, the nose is blunt and garnished with gaping openings. This new approach has been decided by the aerodynamic engineers in order to use the most efficient air flow way to maximize penetration into the air and ground adhesion. To comply with the new regulations of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the rear spoiler has been shrinking. But in order to maintain the same efficiency as before, the exhaust pipes are directed to this wing. Interesting detail, the rear lights are integrated in the night of the fin supports. This is a series of LED available on the lower edge of the support. It is very nice at night, ca mas seems very pricey to produce. And like everything about this car, the execution is flawless.

To increase the speed in a straight line stability at high, the wheelbase was longer while the elements of suspension seats are a bit higher than on the R10 to maximize maneuverability. The wheels are better placed towards the inside always with the aim of promoting the lateral air flow. For cons, the vents placed on the upper part of the wheel wells are custom-designed to optimize the evacuation of hot air. In short, engineers have used a vast experience of the endurance race to refine a very refined car. And they did not have the choice to excel as the Peugeot 908 is a car very fast and exceptional propelled itself as a diesel engine.

About the engine, the engineers in Ingolstadt have decided to abandon their V12 engine that had been so successful yet to replace it with a V10 engine same cylinder, 5.5-liter turbo which is less pressure order to comply with the new regulations of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, the organizing club of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. According to the engineers at the meetings unveiling of this car before the 12 Hours of Sebring, the shorter and lighter engine allows to be housed more efficient way in the frame. In addition, fuel consumption should be better than the same engine performance. As on the previous model, the transmission is a five speed. This may surprise some, but since the torque of this engine is more than 700 lb-ft of additional reports are not necessary. We prefer to make the sturdiest gear in order to better manage the incredible torque produced by the engine.

In Extremis

After the race, officials Audi us admit they did not know too much to expect from this race. Their first objective was to test the new car they had not had time to test enough to their taste during the winter period because the temperature in Europe was quite inclement and the car had never runs at a temperature of over 15 degrees Centigrade. It is certain that these people were hoping for a victory, but the primary goal was to make a mega test development before present at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Car number 2 Audi driven by Allan McNish was in second position on the starting line, but it is the number 66 Acura Gil de Ferran who was in a position to head, the result of the cancellation of the qualifying session after the Peugeot driven by Sebastien Bourdais has swerved, causing the deployment of the red flag and stop the session. Since the number 66 Acura had recorded the fastest time of the test sessions, it was entitled to the "pole position".

But the departure has been given a 10:30 am, Alan McNish escaped literally driving his Audi and took a relatively substantial lead until the first refueling. Thereafter, in the hours that followed, it was hunting in head-intersects between Audi and Peugeot. In recent pretending to be faster on the straight.

The situation continues until the last hour of the race. With a little less than 45 minutes to do, Peugeot Number 08 by Sebastien Bourdais pilotees stops wells. Frank Montagny takes the wheel and cede the first place was that Alan McNish is faster than the french driver over the kilometer. Rest whether Audi can finish the race without refueling.

McNish forge a lead of just over a minute while it remains 15 to finish the race. Audi in the box, the discussion is lively, passionate even among German leaders. Anyway, while there are only 10 minutes to complete the ordeal of 12 hours, McNish returned to wells for his car. After a stop in just 23 seconds it takes the track and Montagny remains in second place. The poker game is won: German rejoice, there is consternation at Peugeot. The trio of Alan McNish, Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen won the 12 Hours of Sebring and it will be a victory for Tom Kristensen fifth becomes the record for Sebring.

And two stables have data appointment on 13 and 14 June next on the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe. Last year, the Peugeot were faster than the Audi, but the rain and a clever strategy has enabled the German mark to win.

A great duel in prospect!

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