Nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, today introduced the all-new Audi R18 e-tron quattro in its definitive livery by driving it through the town of Le Mans.
The route chosen started at the Place des Jacobins where the scrutineering is traditionally held and finished at the Le Mans track as a tribute to the good old days when the cars where driven to and from town on public roads for scrutineering. Audi also released more mechanical details of the new Le Mans racer, which will be powered by an enlarged, four-litre V6 diesel engine mated to a hybrid system capable of storing up to 2 MJ. The F1-derived exhaust energy recovery system has been eliminated as it would add too much weight to the already heavy diesel drivetrain. The first public appearance of the 2014-spec R18 e-tron quattro will be at this weekend's official WEC test at Paul Ricard.
One of the all-new cars to join the Audi on track will be the Strakka-Dome S103 Nissan, which emerged from the Strakka Racing workshop for the first time yesterday. Following a brief and successful shakedown, the striking LMP2 car has been loaded on a truck and sent down to the South of France to commence testing in earnest.
A hugely successful sports racer from a different era is the Sauber Mercedes C9, which competed in the World Sportscar Championship between 1987 and 1989. Built by Sauber and raced with support from Mercedes-Benz, this remains as one of the most potent machines of the Group C era. In its final and most successful guise, it was powered by a twin-turbo V8 good for well over 700 bhp in race trim. Its best season was 1989, when the C9 dominated the World Championship and won Le Mans outright. We have expanded our article to include 69 images of different examples. We expect to see at least one of these again at this week's Techno Classica in Essen where over 20 Mercedes-Benz competition cars are expected to line-up. We will, of course, bring full coverage of this year's edition later in the week