Audi’s FIA World Endurance Championship title hopes have taken a serious blow, following news that the German manufacturer has been hit with penalties for an engine seal violation from last month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The No. 7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler was found to have had its electronic engine seals tampered with, having been discovered by scrutineers following the warmup session.
As a result, the FIA has handed out a 50,000 Euro ($55,000) fine for the infringement, but most importantly, counted an additional engine used towards the new-for-2015 limit of five engines per car over the course of the season.
While having effectively gone through four different engines in the first three events of 2015, the No. 7 car will be allowed to use only one new engine for the remaining five races of the season without facing additional penalties.
Should Lotterer, Treluyer and Fassler be forced to use an additional powerplant, they’ll be handed a three-minute in-race stop-and-go-penalty, which would effectively count them out of contention for that race.
The trio currently lead the Drivers’ World Championship by 20 points over Porsche’s Nick Tandy, who will complete the remainder of the season in the LMP2 class KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan.
Porsche, meanwhile, holds control of the Manufacturers’ World Championship, thanks to its 1-2 finish at Le Mans, with the German manufacturer 16 points ahead of Audi heading into next month’s Six Hours of the Nurburgring.