Audi R10 TDI

2007 Audi R10 TDI

Offered by Artcurial | Le Mans, France | July 7, 2012

Oh boy. This is one of my all-time favorite cars. A few months ago we featured this car’s largest rival – the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. The Peugeot is very pretty and very fast. But it did not dominate everything quite like the Audi R10 did. That Peugeot was the first 908 to come up for public sale and this is the first Audi R10 to come up for auction.

The R10 TDI was introduced to replace the other-worldly Audi R8 (a car that only lost 16 races in seven years. It never lost at Le Mans with factory backing). What was shocking, was that the R10 was diesel-powered. Only a handful of diesel-powered cars had ever competed at Le Mans (1949, 1950 and 2004 all saw one diesel entry). But for a powerhouse team to switch its power plant after being so dominant? How would it play out?

Splendidly. The R10 never lost a race at Le Mans before it was replaced by its successor, the R15. The engine is a 5.5-liter diesel V12 making somewhere around 650 horsepower. Torque is monstrous at 811 lb/ft. The R10 was capable of great things in the right hands. It was the first diesel to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring. One particular memory of these cars occurred at the 2008 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, when Allan McNish wrecked the car on the warmup lap on the way to the grid. The team had to replace most of the front end of the car. It basically started the race two laps down. Co-drivers Emanuele Pirro and Dindo Capello put in solid drives throughout the 1000km event. But a determined drive by McNish in the final stint gave the team the win. It was one of the most incredible performances from a driver I’ve ever seen. McNish is a god among men in Audi prototypes. But I have to admit the car probably had something to do with it.

Anyway, the competition history of this car (chassis #201) is as follows:

  • 2007 Grand Prix of Mosport – 4th (with Marco Werner and Emanuele Pirro)
  • 2007 Petit Le Mans – 17th (with Lucas Luhr and Werner)
  • 2007 Monterey Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca – 3rd (with Mike Rockenfeller and Werner)
  • 2008 12 Hours of Sebring – 3rd, and 1st in class (with Rinaldo Capello, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen)
  • 2008 1000km of Nurburgring – 3rd (with Alexandre Prémat and Rockenfeller)
  • 2008 1000km of Silverstone – 4th (with Prémat and Rockenfeller)
  • 2009 1000km of Catalunya – 27th (with Michael Krumm, Charles Zwolsman Jr. and Andrew Meyrick)
  • 2009 1000km of Spa – 6th (with Narain Karthikeyan, Meyrick and Zwolsman)
  • 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans – 7th (with Karthikeyan, Zwolsman and André Lotterer)
  • 2009 1000km of Algarve – 27th, DNF (with Karthikeyan, Meyrick and Zwolsman)
  • 2009 1000km of Nurburgring – 4th (with Karthikeyan, Meyrick and Zwolsman)
  • 2009 1000km of Silverstone – 6th (with Karthikeyan, Meyrick and Zwolsman)
  • 2009 1000km of Okayama – 5th in race one and 6th in race two (with Christijan Albers, Matteo Cressoni and Hideki Noda)
  • 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans – 32nd, DNF (with Christian Bakkerud, Oliver Jarvis and Albers)

Yeah, that’s quite the history. The list of names that have driven this car is amazing – legends of contemporary motorsport. I really wanted that Peugeot 908 when it went up for auction. But my want for this car exceeds the Peugeot by a factor so big I can’t even describe it. These are amazing machines. And they don’t come cheap. The pre-sale estimate for this car is $1,625,000-$2,000,000 – which is nothing as it cost Audi about $15 million per year to operate this team. For more information, click here. And for more from Artcurial at Le Mans, click here.

Update: Did not sell.