Considered part of the “Triple Crown of Motorsport” alongside the Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix, the Le Mans 24 Hours race, started in 1923, is one of the oldest and most prestigious races in the world. Teams are allowed three drivers and must race to complete the most laps over a 24 hour period, which means that winning cars must show exceptional performance, reliability and efficiency.
As a result of this, the race has been used as a proving ground for many technological advancements, most recently the appearance of hybrid electric vehicles which first raced in 2009 and have won the race every year since 2012.
Audi has absolutely dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans ever since they returned to the race 18 years ago. With 13 wins in those 18 years, they have been the manufacturer to beat at the race. In particular, they are credited with heralding the “diesel era” of the race, leading to diesel-engined winners from ’06-’11, and diesel-electric hybrids from ’12-’14.
So today’s announcement that they would quit the World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans race comes as a bit of a shock. Or does it? expand full story