In preparation for Saturday’s 12 hour race, featuring 58-year-old Hans-Joachim Stuck in the GT2 class in a Porsche, Audi has put their new cars on the track, decimating the opposing Peugeots.
The #2 Audi R15 of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello lapped the 3.7-mile track in 1:43.596, half a second quicker than their teammates Marco Werner, Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller in the #1 car, and a full 1.4 seconds clear of the Frenchies in their Peugeot 908’s.
Allan McNish, who scored the first victory for the R15’s predecessor—the R10, pictured above at last year’s race—with teammates Kristensen and Capello at Sebring in 2006, had this to say about the new diesel racer:
The car feels more agile, it feels more reactive, especially at high speed and through Turn 1, which is a very bumpy corner, it’s more stable than the R10 was. We're actually going through there a gear higher.
We’ve got a better response from the engine as well. I think the V10 being a bit shorter and lighter is allowing the chassis to be more agile in the other parts of the circuit.
Performance-wise, what we’ve seen to date is that we’re a little bit ahead of Peugeot on short runs and also on long runs. Acura are very early in their running because they didn't run on Saturday, so I think we’ve got to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to see their full potential.
Poor Peugeot. They have been trying to beat Audi since 2007 to no avail. If the R15 wasn’t such an absolute treat for the aluminum and carbon fiber heart, one would almost feel compelled to root for them.
Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images