Here’s how Audi plans to win Le Mans
TG.com chats to R18 chief race engineer Leena Gade on the challenges of this year’s race
Posted: 11 Jun 2014
Audi board member Dr Ulrich Hackenberg is not one given to hyperbole, so the following pronouncement should be taken with some degree of seriousness. "Audi has arguably never before faced such a difficult task at Le Mans."
Be in no doubt, this year's Le Mans race will be one of the fightiest - and hopefully most exciting - since the dawn of Audi's outright domination. 1999 was the turning point for the Four Rings; they blasted onto the scene and quickly became the Le Mans superpower, clocking up 12 wins to date.
This year of course, the rules - a little bit like in Formula One - have changed. Not only that, but Audi and Toyota now have a new playmate: Porsche. Porsche, don't forget, still has more outright Le Mans wins than any other manufacturer, and has enlisted Formula One refugee Mark Webber to oversee its first LMP1 contender since its last win in 1998.
Then there's the added spice of Toyota finding some serious pace, taking the first two wins of the WEC season thus far. That's something that hasn't escaped Audi's attention, and one that's given its chief race engineer Leena Gade food for thought.
We caught up with Leena on the eve of what promises to be a bloody, brutal battle at La Sarthe...