words: Bill, photos: Art and Revs
The Audi R8 LMP1 was a tough race car to follow but the Audi R10 TDI LPM1 was the car to do it. The 5.5L V12 TDI diesel race car entered 48 races, winning 36 of them, earning pole position 12 times, and held the fastest lap 13 times. Its legacy can’t be argued with. It was immortalized in the documentary Truth in 24 where it battled the formidable Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. It was driven by such greats as Frank Biela, Marco Werner, Dindo Capello, Allen McNish, Tom Kristensen, André Lotterer, and Mike Rockenfeller to name a few. Now you can add your name to the list because one of them is up for sale. Here’s the ad:
- One of only two R10 in private hands
- Raced 2007 ALMS & 2008 Sebring 12h plus LMS
- Fully serviced and operating
This fabulous AUDI R10 is chassis 201, a 2007 car that was allocated to Audi Sport North America to compete in ALMS. The car made its debut at Mosport and competed in three other races that season. It scored two podiums and was driven that year by the great Emmanuel Pirro and Marco Werner. In 2008 still with Audi Sport North America, 201 competed at the Sebring 12h in the hands of Capello, Kristensen and McNish. It achieved pole position and finished 3rd OA and 1st in LMP1. That year however, Peugeot battled with the Audis and the light Porsche RS Spyder managed to win due a controversial ruling in the regulations. It was subsequently allocated to Audi Sport Team Joest to compete in LMS against the Peugeot 908s. In its first European race it achieved a 3rd at Monza then a 4th at Silverstone, both times driven by Prémat and Rockenfeller and helped them to with the drivers title.
Although 2008 would mark an end to the factory R10 program now replaced by the R15, Audi felt insecure with their new car. Indeed the Peugeots now in the third year of their program, became as reliable as they were fast and the R15 was not the step ahead expected. On top of this Peugeot announced that a 4th 908 would be entered by Pescarolo. It was then decided that a private team would run two R10s as back up and an agreement was found with Kolles, the former F1 team principal to enter LMS and Le Mans.
As a consequence, chassis 201 began a second life in 2009 as a private entry in LMS and at Le Mans with Audi driver Lotterer paired with Zwolsman and former F1 driver Karthikeyan. Unfortunately in his own words, Karthikeyan proved to be the « unluckiest driver at Le Mans », as incredibly ten minutes before the start, he fell while climbing the pit wall and dislocated his left shoulder. He couldn’t take the start, which meant his team mates were on their own to complete the 24h race. Qualifying in 7th position, they did very well climbing to 5th position amongst the factory LMP1s on Sunday morning before being delayed by gearbox issues, to finally finish a superb 7th overall. The LMS season saw some highly creditable results such as a 4th place at Nurburgring and 6th at Spa and Silverstone.
In 2010 the car was entered again at Le Mans driven by Bouchut, Tucker and Rodrigues. It qualified in a respectable 12th position with a time of 3min30 but the car failed to finish as it sustained slight damage at night in the rain during Tucker’s stint.
After Le Mans, chassis 201 joined Kolles’ car collection and was restored to its iconic Audi Sport North America livery seen at the 2008 Sebring 12 Hours. He sold it to a collector in 2015 after undergoing a shake down in the hands of Marcel Fässler.
This Le Mans legend was recently brought to Art & Revs for a full service and recommission. We checked everything thoroughly to make sure that the car would run perfectly. Once the work was completed, it fired up immediately after the warming up procedure and we decided to run it on track.
The car lapped perfectly and displayed all of its speed but also its good manners. Actually the huge engine power is managed by an infallible traction control and the torque reduction in first and second gears makes it very easy to control. The chassis is superb, with excellent suspension, steering and brakes, whilst the long wheel base makes it an extremely fast and safe car in high speed bends. The most fantastic thrill at the wheel is clearly the way it comes out of the turns, basically you get the full power immediately when you open the throttle after hitting the apex. The car simply flies onto the straights thanks to the herculean power of the engine. This sensation you can only feel at the wheel of a LMP1 diesel powered car, bearing no comparison with a petrol engined LMP.
This stunning AUDI R10 chassis 201 is offered today in perfect running order and would be a great addition to a Le Mans car collection. There are only a handful of AUDI LMP cars in private hands and this R10 is a very rare opportunity to acquire an impeccable diesel one in race order, delivering a unique driving experience. The V12 LMP1 Audis are from the pinnacle of the Le Mans « Titans » and chassis 201 is a once in a lifetime chance not to be missed.
I know there are Audi R8 LMP1s still racing in private hands but I am not too sure about the Audi R10s. Seeing that there are only 2 R10s in private hands, maybe not but this one is fully operational and running. Maybe you can be the one who brings it to your local Audi Club chapter’s High Performance Driving Event. I think that you’ll have a good chance of winning. The price? Well, you need to inquire with Art & Revs for that but I’m pretty sure it is going to cost a pretty penny…or millions of them. You can find this historic Audi R10 TDI LMP1 HERE.