Why Audi and Toyota chose Le Mans over F1

Why Audi and Toyota chose Le Mans over F1

With the subject of future cost cuts still a hot topic in Formula 1, Dieter Rencken isn't surprised that big manufacturers like Audi and Toyota have shunned the sport to showcase their technology at Le Mans instead

Following last Friday's World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris, FIA president Jean Todt and the delegates headed 200 kilometres south-west to Le Mans, where they witnessed a tour de force-cum-one of the most cost-effective dominations in the history of motorsport: Audi's crushing victory over allcomers in the classic 24-hour marathon.

The German car company, which has consistently shunned Formula 1 on the basis that endurance racing provides not only greater road-car relevance but (much) bigger bangs for its bucks, scored a one-two-three, with only an accident preventing a four-car sweep. Crucially, all cars were powered by 3.7-litre V6 TDI turbodiesels, while the first two finishers ran Williams Hybrid Power flywheel KRS systems feeding the front wheels. Thus, having already blazed the diesel trail, Audi scored the race's first 4WD and hybrid victories.

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