Audi christened its brand-new R15 TDI with a thrilling debut victory Saturday in the 57th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The second-generation diesel-powered prototype co-driven by Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen crossed the line 22.3 seconds ahead of the second-placed No. 08 Team Peugeot Total 908 HDi-FAP of Stephane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny and Sebastien Bourdais.
The thrilling down-to-the-wire battle between the two diesel juggernauts ended up favoring the German prototype despite McNish having to make a splash-and-go for fuel with 15 minutes remaining. The team’s sister car of Marco Werner, Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller rounded out the podium in LMP1.
The two Audis also did an exciting job of swapping places with each other. You really couldn’t predict this one.
Lowe’s Fernandez Racing celebrated its maiden victory in the American Le Mans Series, taking the LMP2 class win, while the No. 3 Corvette Racing C6.R took home GT1 honors. Risi Competizione started its 2009 season on the right foot by claiming GT2 honors in the around-the-clock marathon with their Ferrari F430GT.
The story for me was the diesels. Four of the first five places were diesel-powered.
And I still can’t get a small or mid-sized pickup truck in the United States – with a diesel engine.