A significant milestone was reached in last weekend’s FIA WEC Six Hours of the Circuit of The Americas, as Audi celebrated its 100th LMP overall victory. The German manufacturer’s No. 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval edged out rival Toyota for their third victory of the season.
The victory, coming at the one-and-only round of the WEC on U.S. soil, was extra special for Kristensen, as the nine-time Le Mans winner was part of Audi’s maiden prototype win at the Twelve Hours of Sebring some 13 years ago.
On March 18, 2000, Kristensen, Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela scored top honors at the famed Florida airfield circuit, piloting an Audi R8 run by Audi Sport Team Joest, the same team that won Sunday’s first-ever trip to COTA.
“The 100th [LMP] victory, it’s not 100 years ago that the first one was [won] but I’m also a little humbled to say that I was part of that,” Kristensen said. “This is something amazing. It’s a testament to all of the people back home at our factories of what they have achieved over the years. Both of these victories have been done in this great land [of America].”
Audi scored 63 overall victories with the venerable R8, before launching its diesel-powered R10 TDI in 2006, which racked up 22 additional overall wins. The majority its success with these two prototypes came in the American Le Mans Series, which included a memorable fight with Porsche and Acura in the 2007-08 seasons.
While Audi withdrew its full-season ALMS entries in 2009, the focus shifted to European and other international competition with the R15 TDI, and later, the R18, with various iterations, including the most recent e-tron quattro, which became the first hybrid to win Le Mans.
Audi will debut a new evolution of the R18 next year, designed to the ACO’s new 2014 LMP1 regulations, which will also see the return of Porsche to the top prototype ranks, as well as a continued presence from Toyota.