Benoit Treluyer: "Audi gains momentum ahead of this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours"

The triple Le Mans winners were able to find solace in the #8 sister car winning the race.

Benoit Treluyer: "Audi gains momentum ahead of this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours"
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer

Benoît Tréluyer and his #7 Audi R18 crew-mates Marcel Fässler and André Lotterer saw their progress at last weekend’s WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps hampered by several racing incidents and exceptionally hot weather conditions, which made tyre management tricky. Still, the triple Le Mans winners were able to find solace in the #8 sister car winning the race, as Audi Sport gains momentum ahead of this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

It would be easy for Benoît to curse the weather or blame poor luck, but that’s not how the Frenchman and his crew-mates roll.

The good news is that the brand new Audi R18 will go to Le Mans on the back of two great on-track performances.

Benoît Tréluyer

“First of all, congratulations to the guys in the #8 who delivered a flawless performance,” Tréluyer smiled. “We are really pleased to finally see them turn their fortune around. For us, it was a bit more complicated! We fell foul of totally unexpected weather conditions. We did not have the right tyres for a track that was not how it was supposed to be. In a category as hotly contested as the LMP1 class, where every tenth counts, the slightest imperfection gets immediately punished. But we were not the only ones suffering, as Porsche experienced the same situation.”

Already struggling to cope with surprisingly hot summer-like conditions, the 2012 world champion had it even harder when he picked up some damage on the bodywork of his R18.

“I was fighting with the Toyota in the middle of my second stint and went off over a kerb in Les Combes corner; unfortunately there were pieces that started to come loose, which greatly affected the behaviour of the car. Really, it was just one of those races where everything piled up!”

In a contest of high attrition, the #7 crew eventually crossed the finish line in fifth position and could take satisfaction from all the efforts poured in, which will come very handy indeed during next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

“We still managed to conduct some useful work since the car was fitted with its Le Mans-spec aero kit, and we were able to gather together a lot of invaluable data ahead of the twenty-four hour race,” Benoît added.

“The good news is that the brand new Audi R18 will go to Le Mans on the back of two great on-track performances. Even if we could not get the result we wanted last weekend, that’s a still pretty good job. Plus, it’s always in the face of hardship that you learn the most…”

It was also an eventful race for the trio’s team of young mechanics.

“All these racing incidents were perfect training for all the guys ahead of Le Mans. Hats off to them for they stepped up to the plate big time!”

Benoît, who hails from Alençon near Le Mans, has now his sights firmly set on the French endurance classic, starting with the official Test Day scheduled on Sunday 5 June.

“This day of running is going to be even more crucial this year since we only field two cars at Le Mans,” Benoît concluded. “We’ll need to rack up the laps and valuable mileage in order to secure as much data as possible.”

While the road to Le Mans is always a steep one, hopefully it will feature less bumps than Eau Rouge seemed to have in the 2016 edition of the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps last Saturday…

Benoit Treluyer

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