In recent years, German carmaker Audi has dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans, banking 10 victories from 13 attempts since first appearing there in 1999. Half of those wins were registered by the R8, and even though it’s since been superseded by subsequent models, the R8 remains an appropriate subject for this latest offering in Veloce Publishing’s “WSC Giants” series.
Of course there has been no WSC for the R8 to contest, but it did rule the USA’s American Le Mans Series, playing a leading (6) or supporting (2) role in eight consecutive championships beginning in Y2K. The car was sufficiently sturdy and reliable that those working with it took to calling it “The Locomotive.”
The R8 pioneered many endurance racing concepts, perhaps foremost among them the direct fuel injection system introduced at Le Mans in 2001 and the practice (since outlawed) of changing the entire rear end of the car in the event of trouble, a procedure that clever engineering allowed to be completed in about five minutes! Similar nuggets are to be found throughout this worthwhile read, available for US$29.95 / £15.99 from enthusiast bookstores or direct from Veloce at www.veloce.co.uk