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Le Mans from the French Audi drivers point of view

Posted on June 9, 2011 10:29 AM

2011 24 hours Le Mans

Romain Dumas and Benoît Tréluyer are the two French factory drivers in the Audi sportscar squad. Last year they finished first and second respectively at Le Mans and are ideally suited to introduce the track in their homeland in conversation.

Courbe and Chicane Dunlop
Romain Dumas:
"Le Mans starts immediately with a great spectacle. The first corner after the start and finish is taken at full throttle. This is fifth gear and still 275 km/h in the Audi R18 TDI. However, full throttle doesn’t mean that this part is easy. You have to start to brake at the apex of the right hand corner to get the Dunlop Chicane right. You are often too fast here but the corner can only be taken at 100 km/h in second gear.”
Benoît Tréluyer: "It’s an advantage that this section is extremely well illuminated during the night. This makes braking much easier. You have to be careful because you approach at very high speed and the GT cars are much slower here. Under the bridge at full throttle and off we go again through the downhill right hander.”

Virage de la Chapelle

Benoît Tréluyer: "At the bottom in the right kink ‘Virage de la Chapelle’ the Circuit Bugatti turns off to the right. During the 24-hour race we continue straight on.”

S du Tertre Rouge
Benoît Tréluyer: "Then comes the ‘S’ du Tertre Rouge, an extremely fast corner. It’s bumpy under braking; the car gets a little nervous. Unfortunately, I learnt this rather painfully when I had a big accident here before I came to Audi.”

2011 24 hours Le Mans

Virage du Tertre rouge
Romain Dumas: "You drive through Virage du Tertre Rouge at 190 km/h which exits onto the long straight. This is why it’s very important to carry a lot of speed here, because it’s not so easy to make up what you lose at the start.”
Benoît Tréluyer: "In this fast right hand corner you have to place the car precisely and be aware of where the car is relative to the high outside curb. The under floor is very easily damaged on it.”

Ligne droite des Hunaudières
Benoît Tréluyer: "The straight is a public highway which is only closed for the 24-hour race. Our Audi R18 TDI reaches about 320 km/h before the first chicane. Then we have to find the right braking point.”

Ralentisseur PlayStation

Romain Dumas: "Absolutely. There are signs here which serve as reference points. During the day, however, I prefer to concentrate on the tarmac. It changes color at one point. This is the critical point.”
Benoît Tréluyer: "Even though you approach at a relatively high speed this right-left chicane is quite easy. You brake to 100 km/h and must shift down into second gear.”

Ralentisseur Michelin

Benoît Tréluyer: "On the next straight we exceed 300 km/h again before the second chicane. It’s more difficult than the first as the rear tends to step out of line here.”
Romain Dumas: "There are two reasons for this: The track surface changes and there are some big bumps. So, you really have to pay attention.”

Courbe des Hunaudières
Benoît Tréluyer: "In the final part of the Hunaudières Straight there is a very gentle right kink. We barely notice it as such because we are still accelerating hard from the previous chicane.”

Virage de Mulsanne

Romain Dumas: "Then we bear down on Mulsanne. While the highway continues straight on into a roundabout, we turn gently to the right beforehand on the way to the sharp Mulsanne corner. The braking zone starts exactly in this gentle right corner.”
Benoît Tréluyer: "The rear is really very light here under braking. Mulsanne corner is a part of the track that you recognize at night from a surprisingly long distance away; because of the smell: the typical aroma of spectators’ barbecues even wafts into the cockpit.”

Virage d’Indianapolis
Romain Dumas: "We shift from second to sixth along the next straight. At this point the track is lined by trees on the left and right – this commands respect. We are travelling at over 300 km/h as we head towards the gentle right corner of Indianapolis. In this banked corner we brake hard for the 90 degree left. In my opinion it’s one of the most impressive corner combinations on the entire circuit. You shouldn’t take too many risks as the walls are very close to the track.”
Benoît Tréluyer: "It’s a really good place for the spectators because we approach at lightning speed. The cherry red glowing carbon brakes are also spectacular, especially at night.”

Virage d’Arnage
Benoît Tréluyer: "The crossroads at Arnage is the slowest point. The aerodynamics are also of little importance in this 90 degree right.”
Romain Dumas: "Be careful at this crossing! It looks harmless and is taken at only 75 km/h, but a lot can happen. The tarmac is incredibly bad. When it rains there is no grip whatsoever. There is a tire wall immediately on the exit of the corner. It’s better not to out brake yourself here.”

Virage Porsche
Benoît Tréluyer: "A very fast sequence starts with the right entering the Porsche corners. You turn off the public road onto the race track again. This sequence of corners is blind, however, because of the topography here. But you can smell the fans’ barbecues again.”

Virage du Pont
Romain Dumas: "The Porsche Curve opens a sequence of corners in which a possible mistake simply leads to the next. The first left corner, Virage du Pont, follows, then immediately after the next one which runs into the S du Karting. The first is flat, for the second you have to lift lightly. Your line has to be absolutely perfect; you also need a particularly good car here.”
Benoît Tréluyer: "Correct as this sector is unforgiving. Since the test day we know that the Audi R18 TDI is very good through here

S du Karting
Benoît Tréluyer: "The track continues with the S du Karting. It is extremely difficult. You have to be careful of the high curbs on the inside! The rear of every car is very light here. The hoards of spectators here are always very impressive.”
Romain Dumas: "You can only get through this long, sweeping right hand corner quickly with a clean, fluid driving style. A good car and strong driver make the difference here. You should stay well away from the curbs because the yellow concrete bananas could damage the car.”

S Ford
Benoît Tréluyer: "At the end of a short straight there is a final chicane before we rejoin the Circuit Bugatti. You have to take care on the approach: You have to be careful on the approach: cars turning right into the pit lane obviously brake a little earlier. We can certainly bank on the applause of the Audi guests here. They watch us from the VIP Lounge directly alongside the track to the right.”
Romain Dumas: "You have to brake very hard from around 280 km/h for this left-right combination. You can run over the curbs a little, but not too much.”

Virage du Raccordement
Benoît Tréluyer: "Afterwards there is a slow left-right combination leading back towards the start and finish. We need about three and a half minutes to complete the 13.629 kilometers. Pretty quick, don’t you think?”

2011 24 hours Le Mans

New Audi Apps for motorsport fans

Posted on May 4, 2011 11:17 AM

Audi Motorsport Apps

Audi accompanies its motorsport involvement in the 2011 season with two new Apps for the iPhone and iPad.

The 2011 version of the “Audi Sport” App for both the iPhone and iPod Touch is available as update to download for free from the App Store in time for the start of the DTM season and the Audi R18 TDI prototype’s race debut in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC). The App gives journalists and fans the opportunity to be permanently up-to-date even when they are travelling.

Audi is also a step ahead of the competition on the popular iPad: a digital “Audi Express” iPad edition, which reviews the race weekend and also delivers a look behind the scenes of Audi’s multifaceted motorsport program, is published after every DTM and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) race. The “Audi Express” displays media information released by Audi Communications Motorsport in multimedia format and should supply journalists with stimulus for their own reports. The digital “Audi Express”, which is published every Tuesday after a race, is also available to download for free for all motorsport fans.

Like the race cars, both Apps are developed throughout the season and new features made available for users in the form of updates via the App Store.

Introducing Audi Progress

Posted on January 7, 2011 3:53 PM

A new feature of the redesigned Audi of America media site is a destination we’re calling Audi Progress. Think of it as a way to find short form news bulletins plus cool topics of Audi interest like this …

The Wörthersee Tour in Austria has served as an annual Audi enthusiast pilgrimage for more than two decades. Last year, AUDI AG electrified its fans with – count ‘em – NINE customized takes on the new Audi A1. The slick Audi A1 hot rod just emerged from cover to match the bright lights of Vegas and amp the attention level for AUDI AG Chairman Rupert Stadler’s keynote address Thursday at the gigantic CES confab. One word of caution: Still no decision on bringing the Audi A1 Stateside.