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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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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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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GRID GIRLS: AN ENDANGERED SPECIES?

GRID GIRLS: AN ENDANGERED SPECIES?

Stephen Cox blogs about auto racing’s long-standing tradition of grid girls being the next casualty in the war for political correctness.

GRID GIRLS: AN ENDANGERED SPECIES?GRID GIRLS: AN ENDANGERED SPECIES?It was early 2015 when the World Endurance Championships (WEC) got rid of them, and Formula 1 may be next. Director Ross Brawn of Liberty Media, the new controlling group of Formula 1, recently said that the tradition of grid girls is being reconsidered. For the uninitiated, “grid girls” are the pretty women who stand beside the racecars prior to many events to hold grid markers and sponsor signs, and, well… look pretty.

Traditionally, grid girls have dressed to look attractive and feminine. That’s all well and good. Recent years have seen (some of) them dressing more and more scantily. In my opinion that’s not so good. But if I don’t like it, I’m still free to stay home. And that’s good.

This is precisely why I don’t attend boxing matches and MMA fights, by the way. The ring girls aren’t just dressed attractively. Some of them are downright indecent. So I stay home, shut up and mind my own business. The girls can keep their jobs, the fight promoters can put on the show they like and everyone is happy.

What, precisely, is being accomplished if Formula 1 decides to defend women around the world by firing hundreds of women around the world? The girls that needed these jobs will no longer have them. The girls who aspire to be models, spokeswomen, media personalities or actresses will have one less avenue available to enter their chosen field. The grid girls are not being well served by getting fired. The only people satisfied by their unemployment are people who demand that their agenda be dismissed no matter what the cost may be to anyone else.

GRID GIRLS: AN ENDANGERED SPECIES?Have you see auto-racing enthusiasts protesting and rioting against grid girls at the last race you attended? Me neither. Motorsports series are not firing grid girls in response to an overwhelming mandate from fans.

They’re doing this to please people who have little or no interest in motor racing, who may never attend an auto race, and who, in some cases, oppose the very existence of the sport. By definition, these are not people who are willing to live and let live. If they were, they would refuse to have grid girls at their book burnings and witch hunts, but leave you free to have them at your auto races.

Racing officials need to understand one point very clearly – these people will not become fans once you fire the grid girls. Auto racing is a loud, dangerous, fatality causing, fossil fuel burning; cut throat competition that does not award trophies for participation. These people hate you. They are not suddenly going to embrace you as a forward thinking intellectual simply because you caved in to their demands and kicked a few recently unemployed women to the curb.

If this artificially manufactured non-issue needs to be revisited at all, it should be revisited solely on the basis of what the teams, their fans and the grid girls want rather than on political pressure to conform to the demands of outside groups who don’t care one whit about the sport. Make your own decision and listen to your own fans and we’ll be happy no matter what the outcome may be.

If I don’t like it, I’m free to stay home.

Stephen Cox is Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions Driver, Super Cup Stock Car Series & EGT Championship, and Co-Host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN. Sponsored by http://www.mcgunegillengines.com/

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