The 24 Hours of Le Mans starts this Saturday, and it's the ultimate test of endurance and speed. It's also a test of which fuel is the best: Diesel or gasoline. So we're having a little race of our own to Le Mans to settle the score. Will V10 muscle or V6 thrift win the day?
(Full Disclosure: Audi is covering our airfare to Munich and the hotel at Le Mans. They're also giving us the cars. We're covering the rest.)
Máté, our man in Budapest, and I will be meeting in Munich on Tuesday and then taking off towards Le Mans on Wednesday. We'll make an overnight stop along the way, most likely in Orleans, France, and then arrive at the Circuit de la Sarthe early Thursday morning. It's a 1,000 km drive and we'll be trying to stay away from any road that involves a toll, we'll also try to avoid highways. Because that's how we roll.
Audi has won Le Mans 12 times, so they are obviously not slouches when it comes to the twice-round-the-clock classic. In fact, they have won the race with both gasoline and diesel power. So it's only natural to take two of their cars from disparate ends of the four ringed spectrum
Máté will be making the journey in luxury and style, as he'll be in Audi's most opulent and comfortable fuel miser, the A8 TDI. It has just 240 horsepower but a substantial 406 pound feet of torque. But its trump card is 36 MPG on the highway, which makes it one of the most economical and comfortable cruisers out there.
I've opted for a different approach. An approach that will probably ruin my spine.
I'll be making the long ass drive from Munich to La Sarthe in an R8 V10 Plus. With 550 horsepower and 398 pound feet of torque, it is the fastest, V10iest, best soundingest car in the Audi fleet. But it's also a fuel chugger, not a fuel sipper. Highway mileage is rated at 19 MPG, which is basically half that of the A8.
Is it the right choice? From a feel standpoint, probably. From an economy standpoint, I really doubt it.
Fun. That's it.
But seriously, by taking two cars that are on opposite ends of the spectrum, we're going to see just how much more in fuel it costs to take a diesel versus a plain jane petrol powered machine, as well as just how fast a supercar is in the real world compared to a big sedan. We're also going to see what the best way to arrive to the world's biggest endurance race: Supercar or super diesel.
Have a route we should take to Le Mans? How about things we should see or do when we're there? Prediction on fuel costs? Prediction on who will win each leg? Leave them all below.
The trip starts early on Wednesday morning, we arrive at Le Mans on Thursday morning, and we'll be at the track all the way through the 24 hour race. Get ready for a ton of coverage and a ton of fun.