Analysing a golden era for Audi

Analysing a golden era for Audi

Sportscar racing, in its many forms, enjoyed myriad transformations through the noughties, but there was one constant throughout - Audi's success at Le Mans

The landscape of sportscar racing underwent some seismic changes in the noughties. Various championships in Europe came and went, the FIA GT Championship was relaunched at least twice and, over in the States, Grand-Am begat its very own breed of prototypes. Yet amid the upheaval, Audi provided a constant. It was always there at the Le Mans 24 Hours, and in eight of the 10 years, it was the German manufacturer that did the winning.

Audi's domination of the prototype scene — or correctly the Le Mans prototype scene — for nigh on a decade was something no one would have predicted 10 years ago. After all, Audi Sport had got it wrong at its first attempt at Le Mans in 1999. Its open-top car, the R8R, was too conservative and its coupe, the R8C, was too late. Third and fourth positions at Le Mans that year with the roadster owed more to reliability — not to mention the serviceability for which the marque would become renowned — than outright pace.

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