Audi Was Tantalizingly Close to Another Le Mans Campaign

Audi R18

The World Endurance Championship grid is shaping up to be the most exciting in decades — but Audi won’t be there.

At the moment, the big news in the world of Audi racing is that Ingolstadt will return to Formula 1 for the 2026 season. This year, dominant performances from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen mean he had this year’s crown in the bag long before the final checkered flag. But the surging popularity of the series here in the United States — thanks in no small part to Netflix’s Drive to Survive — makes it a great opportunity for the Four Rings to show its mettle.

Of course, it was only last May when endurance racing fans were waiting to get a glimpse of the successor to the R18, and the car Audi hoped would add to its impressive string of victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That anticipation, it’s important to note, wasn’t based on rumors or speculation. Rather what details we knew came straight from Audi Sport director Andreas Roos, who said that both the engine concept and chassis partner had already been finalized.

Unfortunately, that project was doomed. But now, our friends at Motorsport have revealed just how close Audi was to testing its next-gen LMDh car. According to DTM driver Nico Muller, who was deeply involved with project, the race machine was just weeks away from hitting the test track when the rug got pulled out from the program.

“At the end the car was ready to go,” Muller revealed to “We worked a lot on the sim, everything was ready to go into proper on-track testing.

“It had been developed together with Porsche; it is no secret that they shared the same platform with Multimatic.

“Would I have loved to drive it? It was very close, but the call came a few weeks too early.”

For fans who followed endurance racing, the news is heartbreaking. What’s particularly disappointing is that the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship grid is shaping up to be the most diverse and exciting as it’s been in decades. So instead of having just one serious competitor, like Peugeot or Toyota, the Four Rings would have faced marques like Ferrari, Cadillac, and corporate cousins Porsche, which would have been a joy to watch.

Given the popularity of Formula 1, and the relative obscurity of the WEC, the move might make sense from a publicity standpoint. But limited budgets mean Audi fans will just have to wonder what could have been…

Photos: Audi

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You may think that you know everything about GT40s, but this just-published book – FORD GT40 ANTHOLOGY – is true to its sub-title, ‘A unique compilation of stories about these most iconic cars.’ 


Since Hollywood took incredible liberties entertaining us with its blockbuster version of Ford beating Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966 – FORD v FERRARI – there has been a renewed interest in the Ford GT40 and the company’s program which created cars that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for four straight years. There’s no shortage of GT40-related books – published both before and after the film broke cover. Some focus on engine and car specifications and chassis numbers, others on race records, driver profiles, etc. Pretty dry reading unless you’re restoring a car, own one, or want to impress someone at a cocktail party by rattling off numbers and who won what!

But, FORD GT40 ANTHOLOGY, A unique compilation of stories about these most iconic cars is different. And, what makes it different, also makes it worth buying, even at $90. Publisher Veloce is no stranger to books on this subject, having offered a trio of related titles in their portfolio that were published before this tome. It provides insights to the GT40’s design and racing achievements, starting with the first-built GTs, below, and some well-kept secrets about its development and financial aspects.

Authors John Allen and Graham Endeacott, both Brits, have immersed themselves for years in everything Ford GT/GT40. Allen is a published author and photographer; Endeacott has owned a replica GT40 since the mid-1990s. Allen also co-authored THE FORD THAT BEAT FERRARI, A Racing History of the GT40 with Gordon Jones in 2019. When it comes to Ford GT/GT40 history, these guys are experts.

FORD GT40 ANTHOLOGYGT40 ANTHOLOGY, is highly recommended for serious GT40 nerds who never seem to get enough words and photos about their favorite marque, as well as “newbies” who discovered GT40s watching FORD v FERRARI. That goes for me as well, a veteran enthusiast automotive journalist and magazine editor. What I truly appreciate is the way Allen and Endeacott handled the ever-popular conspiracy theory about Ken Miles being robbed, by Ford, of what could have been his win at Le Mans in 1966, when three Ford Mark IIs crossed the line for an unprecedented 1-2-3 victory. They devote 9 pages, a complete chapter (13) titled DEAD HEAT, to debunking that myth that surfaces every time a new book or film on the subject surfaces.

“… it was claimed by some that when the planned dead heat was announced, somebody from Ford (recollections vary as to who it was) had – allegedly – been sent to ACO to try and get a lap taken off Miles’ car, thus ensuring a win for McLaren and Amon. There’s no evidence in the ACO’s IBM timing records for P/1015 to suggest that any such lap had been removed, and it is difficult to see how it could have been done.”

They finish off the chapter with, “Whatever one’s view of the subject, the fact is that P/1046 and its drivers won according to the race rules, rules that applied to everybody, and nothing what so ever can, or should attempt to, take that victory from them. So … the congratulations rightly went to Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and GT40P/1046 for winning the 34th Grand Prix d’Endurance -les 24 Heures du Mans!”

FORD GT40 ANTHOLOGYDuring the development of the Ford GT and subsequent GT40 and Mark II, even later when the Mark II was replaced by the Mark IV, Ford’s Roy Lunn who headed up the Le Mans program, was enamored with Ford’s Indy engines. First it was the 1963 aluminum small-block used in Ford’s first Indy car; later with the sophisticated purpose-built four-cam race engine that replaced it in 1964 and went on to dominate Indy 500 racing. The first GTs were powered by the single-cam, two-valve Fairlane based Indy engine, later replaced with 289s.

Ford’s Engine and Foundry Division supplied Lunn with a total of 10 Indy engines, 5 of each version. The authors do a great job of following the applications and use of the engines, supported by photos of the four-cam motor in Bill Wonder’s GT/103, above. Wonder had actually installed it himself. The injected Gen II Indy motor was also considered for use in a modified sports car built around the Mark IV platform. While the Mark IV chassis # J-9 was being built by Lunn’s team at Kar-Kraft, below, it was fitted with one of the four-cam motors. There’s a great photo of that chassis with Indy engine installed, a photo that I’ve never seen before.

GT40 ANTHOLOGY is packed with interesting chapters tracking the history of important cars and their owners, a broad selection of examples of GT40 road and racecar advertising, and the most coverage I’ve yet seen on Safir Engineering, its owner Peter Thorp and the company’s Mark V continuation GT40s. And, how they ended up with rights to “GT40” and Ford not using it for its 2005-2006 modern variant of the GT40. As a genuine GT40 “nerd” and the owner of an ’06 Ford GT, I found the final chapter (32, MARK V) of great personal interest.

I already own just about every book written on the Ford GT/GT40, Mark II & Mark IV road and racecars, and if Allen and Endeacott decide to write another, it will end up in my library! Be aware, FORD GT40 ANTHOLOGY, A unique compilation of stories about these most iconic cars, is a true coffee table book, not the kind you take along to read on an airplane flight. It measures 12 x10.5 inches, is packed with around 500 photos over 320 pages and weighs approximately 5 pounds. It’s a heavyweight read, highly recommended; well worth the $90 tariff.

Check out FORD GT40 ANTHOLOGY, A unique compilation of stories about these most iconic cars @


’22 FORD GT: HOLMAN MOODY HERITAGE EDITION Supercar honors Ford’s historic 1-2-3 sweep at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.


In a special nod to the debut of the original Ford GT40 prototype at the 1964 New York Auto Show, Ford is returning to the Big Apple for the first public appearance of its new ’22 FORD GT: HOLMAN MOODY HERITAGE EDITION. It pays tribute to the company’s 1966 Le Mans sweep and the race team that innovated the capability of the GT40 MK II to deliver a brake setup matching the racecar’s 200 mph-plus speeds. This marks the final 2022 Heritage Edition paying tribute to the GT40 MK II race car that completed the famous 1-2-3 sweep at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

“Of all the Ford GT Heritage Edition liveries we’ve done, the Holman Moody Heritage Edition’s can’t-miss signature gold and red theme is an epic tribute to our 1966 Le Mans finish,” said Mike Severson, Ford GT program manager. “Inspired by one of the most well-known Ford GT40 race cars, this latest Ford GT honors the Holman Moody race team’s knowhow and ability to out-innovate global competitors.”

The Holman Moody team played a critical role in the GT40’s race success. Following the 1965 Le Mans race, Ford’s newly formed Le Mans committee tasked Holman Moody (and Shelby American) to rework the GT40 MK II. Driven more than 265 laps over eight days in January 1966, chassis No. P/1016 became a laboratory on wheels as the teams worked to redesign brakes, suspension and tire setups to be more competitive, even trying an experimental automatic transmission. They had one goal – to win at the 1966 Le Mans race.

This spirit of innovation continues today, with the 2022 Ford GT’s track-capable hardware, paddle-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and carbon fiber body. The ultra-limited-production GT Holman Moody Edition Supercar will be on display at the 2022 New York International Auto Show side-by-side with the podium-placing Holman Moody Ford GT40 MK II, chassis No. P/1016.

The unique gold and red livery of the limited-edition GT includes signature Oxford White roundels with No. 5 stamped on the doors, hood and rear wing – all matching the appearance of the ‘66 Ford GT40 raced by Holman Moody. Exposed gloss carbon fiber components are prominent, including on the 20-inch wheels, front splitter, side sills, mirrors, engine louvers and rear diffuser. Brembo® brake calipers lacquered in black with silver graphics, plus black lug nuts further modernize the aesthetic.

Carbon fiber carries into the cabin, appearing on door sills, console and registers, and even features a cleaver matte No. 5 roundel on the door panels. Ebony Alcantara®-wrapped carbon fiber seats feature gold accent stitching, while embossed seating surfaces and head restraints carry a debossed GT logo. The instrument panel is wrapped in Ebony leather and Alcantara; pillars and headliner are wrapped exclusively in Ebony Alcantara.

’22 FORD GT: HOLMAN MOODY HERITAGE EDITIONGold appliqués on the instrument panel, door register bezels and seat X-brace are paired with the matte carbon fiber on the registers, door sills, lower A-pillars and console. The steering wheel is finished in Ebony Alcantara with black stitching, while dual-clutch paddle shifters are finished in exterior-matching Holman Moody Gold.


The Ford GT Heritage Edition Series celebrates the Supercar’s landmark moments in motorsports history, including, of course, its Le Mans titles. In all, the series includes nine ultra-limited-edition supercars, with two still in production. These include:

‘22 Ford GT Alan Mann Heritage Edition honoring the No. 16 Alan Mann Ford GT MK I lightweight experimental prototype that helped pave the way for the 1-2-3 sweep at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans; currently in production

‘22 Ford GT ’64 Prototype Heritage Edition honoring Ford GT’s roots and the earliest five original Ford GT prototypes; currently in production

‘21 Ford GT ’66 Daytona Heritage Edition honoring the Ford GT MK II No. 98 race car that gave Ford a 1-2-3-5 domination at Daytona in 1966, kicking off a magical season for the Ford GT40 MK II; only 50 built

‘20 Ford GT ’69 Gulf Livery Heritage Edition honoring the Ford GT40 MK I No. 6 race car that was victorious at Le Mans in 1969; only 50 built

‘19 Ford GT ’68 Gulf Livery Heritage Edition honoring Ford GT40 MK I No. 9 race car that was victorious at Le Mans in 1968; only 50 built

‘18 Ford GT ’67 Heritage Edition honoring Ford GT40 MK IV No. 1 race car that was victorious at Le Mans in 1967; only 39 built

‘17 Ford GT ’66 Heritage Edition honoring Ford GT40 MK II No. 2 that won 1966 Le Mans race; only 27 built

‘06 Ford GT Gulf Livery Heritage Edition commemorating GT40’s back-to-back 24 Hours of Le Mans titles in 1968 and 1969; only 343 built. In 2006 Ford also built 541 Tungsten Grey GTs to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the 1-2-3 win at Le Mans.

The ’22 FORD GT: HOLMAN MOODY HERITAGE EDITION breaks cover at the 2022 New York International Auto Show, April 15-24, and is available for approved Ford GT customers, with first deliveries taking place this spring. For more Ford GT information, please visit

Check out details about the 2022 New York International Auto Show @


Among the many makes and models eligible for the SALOON GROUP: 2022 ROLEX MONTEREY HISTORICS is this ‘67 Alfa Romeo GTA, which Brandon Adrian drove at the 2018 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.


Visitors to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion August 17-20 will see a decidedly European staple rev to life. The historic Saloon (or Touring) car race group is an exciting class that always produces an interesting variety of cars when they race at equally legendary tracks like Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans. Now they’re setting their sights on America and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

“The Advisory Council has been discussing new classes of racing for a while to keep each Rolex Reunion fresh for both drivers and visitors,” explained Bruce Canepa, co-chair of the Advisory Council, which also oversees car selection. “The Saloon group perfectly complements the four Le Mans-focused groups, as well as our signature groups like Historic Trans-Am and Formula One. It is going to be a spectacular experience.”

Eligible cars range from the Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce and Lotus Cortina to the MG Magnette and Wolseley Hornet. “The variety of cars that are being submitted for entry consideration is impressive and entertaining,” Canepa added.

Saloon cars are road-going close-bodied models that have been heavily modified for racing. The purpose of adding this group is to begin establishing it as a regular attraction that can be rotated with others from year to year.

The 2022 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion celebrates the start of a yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of the world’s most famous sports car race – the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Of the 12 race groups, four are dedicated to cars that raced at Le Mans or were eligible to race in period. The groups span from 1923 all the way through the blindingly fast Le Mans Prototypes seen between 1981 and 2005.

Visitors to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion can expect to see the world’s best authentic and historic cars with period-correct livery in the paddock and on track. The four-day celebration, which begins on Wednesday, August 17, and concludes on Saturday, August 20, is preceded by two days of the Monterey Pre-Reunion, August. 13 and 14, where many of the same cars compete.

For more information on SALOON GROUP: 2022 ROLEX MONTEREY HISTORICS and other events for 2022, please visit

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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