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McNish Gunning For Le Mans "Hat-trick" As Audi Chase Ninth Victory Allan McNish bids to earn himself a third and Audi a ninth Le Mans 24 Hours race victory when the Briton drives a revised diesel engined Audi in this year's gruelling race...

McNish Gunning For Le Mans "Hat-trick" As Audi Chase Ninth Victory

Allan McNish bids to earn himself a third and Audi a ninth Le Mans 24 Hours race victory when the Briton drives a revised diesel engined Audi in this year's gruelling race next weekend (12-13 June).

The 40-year-old Scotsman drives an Audi R15 TDI along with co-drivers Dindo Capello (45/Italy) and Tom Kristensen (42/Denmark) ) -- the "Great Dane" gunning for his ninth Le Mans triumph -- in the same driver combination for the past four years.

"Le Mans is the toughest motor race in the world and we have everything in place to take the fight to our rivals," confirmed McNish. "Personally, I'm hungrier than ever for more Le Mans success."

"Audi Sport is determined to claim back the Le Mans 'crown' after finishing third last year. We'll face intense competition from Peugeot and Aston Martin. But we are all focussed on making it win number nine this time around and I want to be standing on the top step of the podium for a third time myself."

The 78th Le Mans 24 Hours features 55-cars -- including three "factory" Audi R15 TDI sports-prototypes -- designated R15 "plus" internally -- battling for honours around the 8.47-mile circuit comprising of closed public roads.

Allan added: "I believe we're better prepared than last year. I scored a debut win at Paul Ricard and then finished third at Spa, with the R15 TDI in full Le Mans spec, in our two races this year while testing has also gone very well.

Joining McNish/Capello/Kristensen in driving the latest diesel-engined Audi R15 TDI will be Marcel Fassler (34/Switzerland)/Andre Lotterer (29/Germany)/Benoît Treluyer (23/France) plus Timo Bernhard (29/Germany)/Romain Dumas (32/France)/Mike Rockenfeller (26/Germany).

Efficiency -- especially in relation to aerodynamics -- was a key factor when the R15 TDI was being further developed. McNish continued: "This year's Le Mans regulations mean smaller air restrictors and lower manifold pressure which in effect results in reduced engine power so a big emphasis was placed on making the aerodynamics even more efficient."

Audi completely revamped the front of the R15 TDI following regulation changes made last November with the Audi now sporting a striking two-part nose design. The entire shape of the R15 TDI bodywork has been reworked for maximum efficiency combined with a modified cooling and tank system.

The V10 TDI engine has been optimized and despite the smaller air restrictors and the reduced manifold pressure, the 5.5-litre V10 twin turbo engine still produces around 590-hp. Torque of over 1,050 Nm is transmitted to the rear wheels by a pneumatically operated five-speed gearbox.

"There were about 20 important points on our specification sheet for the 'R15 plus' after Le Mans 2009," says Dr. Martin Muhlmeier, Head of Technology. "Most of them concerned issues of efficiency and reliability, but there were also details such as a request from the drivers for better night-time illumination of the racetracks. And we met this request with a new headlamp concept."

-source: audi uk

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Andre Lotterer , Tom Kristensen , Allan McNish , Marcel Fassler , Timo Bernhard , Benoit Tréluyer , Romain Dumas , Mike Rockenfeller , Dindo Capello