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Audi Quattro S1 driven at the 2007 Rallye Deutschland

In 1984, Audi launched the short-wheelbase In 1984, Audi launched the short-wheelbase Sport Quattro which dominated rally races in Monte Carlo and Sweden, with Audi taking all podium places, but succumbed to problems further into WRC contention. In 1985, after another season mired in mediocre finishes, Walter Röhrl finished the season in his Sport Quattro S1, and helped place Audi second in the manufacturers' points. Audi also received rally honours in the Hong Kong to Beijing rally in that same year. Michèle Mouton, the only female driver to win a round of the World Rally Championship and a driver for Audi, took the Sport Quattro S1, now simply called the "S1", and raced in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The 1,439-metre (4,721 ft) climb race pits a driver and car to drive to the summit of the 4,302-metre (14,114 ft) Pikes Peak mountain in Colorado, and in 1985, Michèle Mouton set a new record of 11:25.39, and being the first woman to set a Pikes Peak record. In 1986, Audi formally left international rally racing following an accident in Portugal involving driver Joaquim Santos in his Ford RS200. Santos swerved to avoid hitting spectators in the road, and left the track into the crowd of spectators on the side, killing three and injuring 30. Bobby Unser used an Audi in that same year to claim a new record for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb at 11:09.22.

In 1987, Walter Röhrl claimed the title for Audi setting a new Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record of 10:47.85 in his Audi S1, which he had retired from the WRC two years earlier. The Audi S1 employed Audi's time-tested inline-five-cylinder turbocharged engine, with the final version generating 441 kW (600 PS; 591 bhp).[93] The engine was mated to a six-speed gearbox and ran on Audi's famous four-wheel drive system. All of Audi's top drivers drove this car; Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist, Walter Röhrl and Michèle Mouton. This Audi S1 started the range of Audi 'S' cars, which now represents an increased level of sports-performance equipment within the mainstream Audi model range.

In the United States

As Audi moved away from rallying and into circuit racing, they chose to move first into America with the

In 1987, Walter Röhrl claimed the title for Audi setting a new Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record of 10:47.85 in his Audi S1, which he had retired from the WRC two years earlier. The Audi S1 employed Audi's time-tested inline-five-cylinder turbocharged engine, with the final version generating 441 kW (600 PS; 591 bhp).[93] The engine was mated to a six-speed gearbox and ran on Audi's famous four-wheel drive system. All of Audi's top drivers drove this car; Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist, Walter Röhrl and Michèle Mouton. This Audi S1 started the range of Audi 'S' cars, which now represents an increased level of sports-performance equipment within the mainstream Audi model range.

As Audi moved away from rallying and into circuit racing, they chose to move first into America with the Trans-Am in 1988.

In 1989, Audi moved to International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) GTO with the Audi 90, however as they avoided the two major endurance events (Daytona and Sebring) despite winning on a regular basis, they would lose out on the title.

In 1990, having completed their objective to market cars in North America, Audi returned to Europe, turning first to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) series with the Audi V8, and then in 1993, being unwilling to build cars for the new formula, they turned their attention to the fast-growing Super Touring series, which are a series of national championships. Audi first entered in the French Supertourisme and Italian Superturismo. In the following year, Audi would switch to the German Super Tourenwagen Cup (known as STW), and then to British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) the year after that.

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), having difficulty regulating the quattro four-wheel drive system, and the impact it had on the competitors, would eventually ban all four-wheel drive cars from competing in 1998,[94] but by then, Audi switched all their works efforts to sports car racing.

By 2000, Audi would still compete in the US with their RS4 for the SCCA Speed World GT Challenge, through dealer/team Champion Racing competing against Corvettes, Vipers, and smaller BMWs (where it is one of the few series to permit 4WD cars). In 2003, Champion Racing entered an RS6. Once again, the quattro four-wheel drive was superior, and Champion Audi won the championship. They returned in 2004 to defend their title, but a newcomer, Cadillac with the new Omega Chassis CTS-V, gave them a run for their money. After four victories in a row, the Audis were sanctioned with several negative changes that deeply affected the car's performance. Namely, added ballast weights, and Champion Audi deciding to go with different tyres, and reducing the boost pressure of the turbocharger.

In 2004, after years of competing with the TT-R in the revitalised DTM series, with privateer team Abt Racing/Christian Abt taking the 2002 title with Laurent Aïello, Audi returned as a full factory effort to touring car racing by entering two factory supported Joest Racing A4 DTM cars.

Audi began racing prototype sportscars in 1999, debuting at the Le Mans 24 hour. Two car concepts were developed and raced in their first season - the Audi R8R (open-cockpit 'roadster' prototype) and the Audi R8C (closed-cockpit 'coupé' GT-prototype). The R8R scored a credible podium on its racing debut at Le Mans and was the concept which Audi continued to develop into the 2000 season due to favourable rules for open-cockpit prototypes.

However, most of the competitors (such as BMW, Toyota, Mercedes and Nissan) retired at the end of 1999. The factory-supported Joest Racing team won at Le Mans three times in a row with the Audi R8 (2000–2002), as well as winning every race in the American Le Mans Series in its first year. Audi also sold the car to customer teams such as Champion Racing.

In 2003, two Bentley Speed 8s, with engines designed by Audi, and driven by Joest drivers loaned to the fellow Volkswagen Group company, competed in the GTP class, and finished the race in the top two positions, while the Champion Racing R8 finished third overall, and first in the LMP900 class. Audi returned to the winner's podium at the 2004 race, with the top three finis

However, most of the competitors (such as BMW, Toyota, Mercedes and Nissan) retired at the end of 1999. The factory-supported Joest Racing team won at Le Mans three times in a row with the Audi R8 (2000–2002), as well as winning every race in the American Le Mans Series in its first year. Audi also sold the car to customer teams such as Champion Racing.

In 2003, two Bentley Speed 8s, with engines designed by Audi, and driven by Joest drivers loaned to the fellow Volkswagen Group company, competed in the GTP class, and finished the race in the top two positions, while the Champion Racing R8 finished third overall, and first in the LMP900 class. Audi returned to the winner's podium at the 2004 race, with the top three finishers all driving R8s: Audi Sport Japan Team Goh finished first, Audi Sport UK Veloqx second, and Champion Racing third.

At the 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans, Champion Racing entered two R8s, along with an R8 from the Audi PlayStation Team Oreca. The R8s (which were built to old LMP900 regulations) received a narrower air inlet restrictor, reducing power, and an additional 50 kg (110 lb) of weight compared to the newer LMP1 chassis. On average, the R8s were about 2–3 seconds off pace compared to the PescaroloJudd. But with a team of excellent drivers and experience, both Champion R8s were able to take first and third, while the Oreca team took fourth. The Champion team was also the first American team to win Le Mans since the Gulf Ford GTs in 1967. This also ends the long era of the R8; however, its replacement for 2006, called the Audi R10 TDI, was unveiled on 13 December 2005.

The R10 TDI employed many new and innovative features, the most notable being the twin-turbocharged direct injection diesel engine. It was first raced in the 2006 12 Hours of Sebring as a race-test in preparation for the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, which it later went on to win. Audi had a win in the first diesel sports car at 12 Hours of Sebring (the car was developed with a Diesel engine due to ACO regulations that favor diesel engines). As well as winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2006, the R10 TDI beat the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP in 2007, and in 2008, (however Peugeot won the 24h in 2009) with a podium clean-sweep (all four 908 entries retired) while breaking a distance record (set by the Porsche 917K of Martini Racing in 1971), in 2010 with the R15 TDI Plus.[95]

Audi's sports car racing success would continue with the Audi R18's victory at the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans. Audi Sport Team Joest's Benoît Tréluyer earned Audi their first pole position in five years while the team's sister car locked out the front row.[96] Early accidents eliminated two of Audi's three entries, but the sole remaining Audi R18 TDI of Tréluyer, Marcel Fässler, and André Lotterer held off the trio of Peugeot 908s to claim victory by a margin of 13.8 seconds.

Audi entered a factory racing team run by Joest Racing into the American Le Mans Series under the Audi Sport North America name in 2000. This was a successful operation with the team winning on its debut in the series at the 2000 12 Hours of Sebring. Factory backed Audi R8s were the dominant car in ALMS taking 25 victories between 2000 and the end of the 2002 season. In 2003 Audi sold customer cars to Champion Racing as well as continuing to race the factory Audi Sport North America team. Champion Racing won many races as a private team running Audi R8s and eventually replaced Team Joest as the Audi Sport North America between 2006 and 2008. Since 2009 Audi has not taken part in full American Le Mans Series Championships, but has competed in the series opening races at Sebring, using the 12-hour race as a test for Le Mans, and also as part of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship season calendar.

Results

Year Manufacturer Chassis Team Rd1 Rd2 Rd3 Rd4 Rd5 Rd6 Rd7 Rd8 Rd9 Rd10 Rd11 Rd12
2000 Germany Audi R8
United States Audi Sport North America 2 20 3 Ret 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1
1 6 4 3 2 Ret 1 4 2 2 1 15
2001 Germany Audi R8 United States Audi Sport North America 1 1 1 1 1 5 Ret