Rare Opportunity: 2009 Audi R15 TDI for Sale

2009 Audi R15 TDI

This 2009 Audi R15 TDI didn’t achieve victory at Le Mans, but it’s still a fantastic piece of motorsports history.

In the automotive hobby, there are rare cars, and there are the kind of ultra-rare unicorn cars that are the stuff of legend. This 2009 Audi R15 TDI for sale on Canepa definitely falls into the later category, as it’s the only example of the Le Mans racer in private hands, and it’s also the last of Audi’s open-top race cars. Along with those  distinctions, this example — chassis number T 101 — was actually the very first version of the R15 produced, and saw action at the 12 Hours of Sebring in addition to the grueling French 24-hour race.

Unfortunately, that was an off year for Audi at the Circuit de la Sarthe, and the car took third place in class, behind a pair of Peugeot 908 HDi FAPsThat said, while it wasn’t the most successful of Audi’s modern race cars, it played a critical role in the development of the company’s successes at Le Mans. In fact, an updated version of the the R15, dubbed the R15 Plus, returned to France in 2010, and took delivered a spectacular one-two-three finish, reasserting Audi’s dominance at the event.

Of course, it goes without saying that this machine’s performance potential is so far beyond the capabilities of mere mortals, it’s not even funny. Power comes from a 5.7-liter diesel V10, which is good for 590 horsepower and a whopping 774 lb-ft of torque.

Due to the rules of Le Mans, all that poke is transferred exclusively to the rear wheels via a dual-clutch transmission. There’s nothing mentioned about it in the listing, but given the fighter-jet complexity of Prototype cars, something tells me firing it up is a little more complex than it would be with, say, an new RS7 Sportback. So I’m wondering how feasible it would be to bring this to a track day. If you have any details on that subject, please hit me up.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, there’s no listed price, but I think this baby fetch a million dollars if I fetches a dime. Curiously, while the race history seems pretty comprehensive, there’s no mention of how it long it’s been in private hands, or even how it got there in the first place. Given how special this machine is, and the bleeding-edge tech Prototype cars feature, the owner likely pulled some strings to get it, so I’d bet that story makes for fascinating reading.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an Audi Prototype up for sale, as back in March, I posted about an R18 TDI Ultra which came up for sale. While that machine didn’t actually compete at Le Mans, a version just like it took the checkered flag at the 2011 running of the race. That listing is long gone, so it’s unclear how much it went for, but again, it can’t have been cheap. Personally, I’m beyond stoked that 2023 will see Audi return to Le Mans, and we’ll have more details on that machine early next year, so stay tuned.

Photos: Canepa

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‘Led Balloon’ From Audi Films is All About Summer Fun

Audi Films: Led Balloon

The latest Audi Flims offering is a water balloon battle royale with cameos from historic hardware and legendary drivers.

If there’s anything that comes to mind when people think about Germany, it’s light-hearted, goofy fun. OK, that might be a bit of a reach. But the latest installment from Audi Films is a blast to watch, and it’s all about being present and enjoying the moment, which is a message we can never hear enough. Plus, there are plenty of shots of people being hit dead in the face with water balloons, and unless you have a titanium plate where your funny bone should be, that should give you a chuckle. Rest assured, no humans were harmed during the making of this lovely little short.

There’s exactly zero exposition here, and the action starts with a suburban dad rolling home from the office. Just after he parks his e-tron Sportback, his children ambush him with a water balloon attack, and while he’s attempting to take cover, the kids next door start lobbing bombs his way too. Fortunately, his wife comes to the rescue. Not only does her orange Q8 provide formidable cover from the onslaught, she’s also packed the cargo area with a grip of water balloons so they can return fire. To me, that screams keeper.

Now, because Audi is actually in the business of selling cars — and not like, planning combat-themed suburban block parties — there’s lots of killer hardware on display here. Keep your eyes peeled, and you’ll spot an R18 E-Tron, Type A, Audi Union Type C, and a 200 Trans Am race car, so it’s clear the folks at Audi Tradition went deep into the vault here. One of my favorite shots shows Walter Rohrl’s co-driver trying in vain to tie a balloon while the legendary rally champ rips down a dirt path in an Audi Sport Quattro. I actually laughed at loud.

There are other cameos here too, including Le Mans-winning driver Tom Kristensen, American endurance legend Hurley Haywood, and YouTuber extraordinaire Doug DeMuro. The last one caught me by surprise, but given the enthusiasm DeMuro has for the brand, it probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Overall, this video is a lot of fun, but as Audi videos go, the 2017 Super Bowl commercial is still tops in my book. So if you missed it, make sure to check it out!

Photos: YouTube

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Exciting Experiment: The Audi RS Q e-tron is Heading to Dakar

Audi RS Q e-tron

This January, the Audi RS Q e-tron prototype will enter the legendarily brutal Dakar Rally.

Back in April, we posted about how Audi was set to enter the grueling Dakar rally with an electric vehicle prototype. At the time, the only image available was a render of it under some silk. But now, Ingolstadt has ripped the cover off — and does this baby ever look like a beast. So meet the Audi RS Q e-tron, the next generation of extreme rally machines. If any green machine is going to bend the desert to its will, you can bet that this Four Ring ripper will be the one to do it.

Now, you might be wondering exactly how the Audi Sport team was planning to charge the batteries during an event which will take the drivers through some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth. Because that’s obviously the $10,000 question, and one that the engineers solved by equipping the RS Q e-tron with a TFSI engine that will serve as an onboard generator, so the 50 kW battery pack gets a constant stream of juice. While that might technically make this desert sled a hybrid, it’s safe to say that if it was operating in, say, the greater Los Angeles area, it could lose the internal combustion component all together.

Each wheel is powered by an individual motor, and when it’s completely uncorked, the RS Q e-tron is capable of a whopping 670 horsepower. In the press literature, there’s no mention of a torque figure, and at this time, it’s unclear whether the rally’s governing body will allow the rig to run at full power. Given all the rules and regulations which characterize racing at any level, it’s entirely possible that it’ll have to be governed, so the playing field can remain as even as possible.

Obviously, this is a massive undertaking, and just finishing the race would be a huge achievement. After all, lots of competitors running tried and true kit wind up stranded during Dakar, as there’s just no telling what can happen once the rally is underway. But Andreas Roos, who’s running the ambitious campaign, is clearly already proud:

Less than twelve months have passed since the project officially started. We had to begin the development while the regulations for alternatively-powered vehicles had not even been finalized yet. And all of the development took place during the Corona pandemic. You mustn’t underestimate that either. What the team has achieved so far is unique. The roll-out was a very special moment for everyone.

The 2022 Dakar Rally is set to kick off in January, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on the race to see just how well Audi’s historic entry fares against both the competition and the cruel desert sand. So stay tuned!

Photos: Audi

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Little Yet Mighty: SQ2 Destroys AMG GLA 35 on Wet Quarter-Mile

2021 Audi SQ2

Despite running on a less-than-ideal surface, SQ2 lays the smack down on Stuttgart off the line, nearly takes it all against tiny AMG.

The smallest Audi crossover we can buy in the United States is the Q3. Alas, there’s no SQ3 or even an RS Q3 for those who want big power in a small package, though the S line does crank the power on the 2.0-liter turbo-four to 228 ponies and 258 lb-ft of torque. Perhaps one day, Audi will offer an SQ3 or RS Q3 for us on this side of the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, other parts of the world receive a smaller crossover, dubbed the Q2. They also receive a hotter version called the SQ2. And today, Motor‘s Alex Inwood and Scott Newman pit the mighty mite against Mercedes-AMG’s own tiny terror, the AMG GLA 35, upon a very wet quarter-mile in New South Wales, Australia.

2021 Audi SQ2

“Today’s Motor drag battle is going to be wet,” said Inwood. “But what you want in soggy conditions like these is a two-liter turbo and all-wheel drive. Exactly what these two have. Question is: which of them is quickest?”

The Audi SQ2 packs 296 horses and 295 lb-ft of torque in its small frame, compared to the AMG’s 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The AMG has one more gear, and more heft at 3,488 pounds versus the Audi’s seven-speed auto and 3,384 pounds. The biggest difference, though, is on price: around $62,000 USD for the AMG, around $47,000 USD for the Audi. Let’s see how these two fare going up the quarter-mile from the other end.

2021 Audi SQ2

“Activating launch control in the SQ2 is a bit of a process,” said Inwood. “Get the car into Drive, put the gearbox into Sport, turn off the stop-start system, put the traction control into Sport […] Then, left foot on the brake, right foot on the throttle, and we should be okay. I hope.”

Despite the complicated procedure, which also requires the steering wheel to be pointed perfectly straight, as well as a warm powertrain, the Audi kills the AMG off the first run by two car lengths. Under a normal street start, the little guy from Ingolstadt does it again, soundly defeating Stuttgart’s champion by five car lengths. However, there’s still a roll to conquer, this time from the proper end of the quarter-mile.

2021 Audi SQ2

“It was fairly steady,” said Newman. “And then, that last 50 meters or so or whatever, 100 meters, bang! Suddenly, it was really starting accelerating forward. I was getting nervous.”

Though Newman’s AMG did win the roll, Inwood and his Audi would’ve taken it with a few more feet. Overall, the SQ2 not only delivers the goods, it does so at a lower price point than the AMG. We can only wonder why anyone would spend some $20,000 on a heavier crossover.

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Cameron Aubernon

Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Louisville.com/Louisville Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.

Rocket Through the Trees: Onboard an Audi quattro S1

Audi quattro S1

Strap in and watch this Audi quattro S1 rip through a special stage of the FIA European Historic Rally Championship.

Since this is a site dedicated to everything Four Rings related, I’m always stoked to learn about the latest and greatest kit that the wizards of Ingolstadt are bringing to market. But while the emerging tech like e-tron GT and hot rod wagons like the MTM Avant are all well and good, there’s a special place in my heart for the ferocious rally cars that Audi built its reputation on — like the incredible quattro S1. Seriously, I wish I was cool enough to drive a killer replica, like this amazing tribute.

But while we Audi fans might talk about how just how dominating the S1 was in the World Rally Championship all the time, it’s tough for mere mortals to conceive of just how incredibly fast this machine was in that rough and tumble world. Fortunately, videos like this clip from the FIA European Historic Rally Championship exists, and while it’s not exactly like riding shotgun on stage, if it doesn’t get your blood moving, you should probably see a doctor.

This was shot on Special Stage 11 of the historic Vltava Rallye, and features Italians “Zippo” and Denis Piceno ripping down some scary-tight roads at speeds which will make your toes curl. Thanks to the pair’s teamwork, they would go on to win the stage overall, snatching victory from driver Karl Wagner’s Porsche 911 SC. But even if they hadn’t managed to claim victory, this footage would still be killer to watch. Race tracks are one thing, but can you imagine going past homes and barns at this pace?

This is exactly the kind of video which makes me want to book a class with Dirtfish, the rally school in my neck of the woods. While I’ve never been over to their facility, a brief introduction to high-performance techniques at Team O’Neil Rally School a few years back gave me a taste of what to expect, so I know it would be an absolute blast. Check out the video below, and let me know if you stumble across any awesome POV rally videos — I love these things!

Photos: YouTube

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