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It all began back in 2006 when Audi made history at Le Mans by becoming the first manufacturer to win the 24-hour endurance race with diesel power. That was with the R10 TDI, which wowed the crowds as it silently swept around the famed circuit. That early TDI racer featured a 5.5 liter aluminum block V12 diesel engine.
The technology only progressed from there. In 2010, R15 TDI impressed by clinching a one-two-three win at the storied circuit. That racer features a 5.5 liter V10 engine with twin-turbo technology. By 2011, the R18 TDI had arrived with ever improving efficiency to Audi’s TDI technology. The engine being reduced to a compact V6 with 120-degree angled cylinder banks. And Audi won again.
With the R18e-tron Quattro Audi added hybrid technology to racer to further improve efficiency which proved again victorious with drivers Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (F/DK/GB) winning in 2013.
After strict efficiency regulations were brought in for the 2014 race, Audi responded again with more enhancements. Now, the current V6 TDI uses 32 percent less fuel than its first iteration from 2011. The LMP1 race car Audi races today features a 46 percent improvement in fuel economy over the first R10 TDI from 10 years ago while still clocking lap times 10 to 15 seconds shorter than in 2006.