Drivetribe’s Jethro Bovingdon jumps on-board a 1000bhp 2016 Audi R18 LMP1 Le Mans prototype for a few hot laps at Audi’s Neuberg testing facility. Git!
The pangs of jealousy were difficult to contain with this one, as Jethro Bovingdon – formerly of EVO Magazine and now a prime shaker at DriveTribe – gets to test drive the last Audi prototype to have competed at Le Mans following its farewell race at the 6Hrs of Bahrain.
Sportscar and WEC fans should know how big a deal this is, given what Audi’s hopefully temporary disappearance from the World Endurance Championship means to the series. Since its arrival in 1999 with the R8R and open-top R8C (the former of which scored a podium on its debut), Audi has captured 13 victories in 17 years, a record even Porsche – the most successful manufacturer at La Sarthe to-date – cannot boast. Ingolstadt may have failed to achieve a fairy-tale win in 2016, but since ’99 Ingolstadt has whitewashed the Le Mans podium five times, scored historic first wins for both diesel and hybrid cars against the likes of Toyota, Peugeot, Porsche and Bentley among others, and never – repeat, NEVER – failed to get a car, factory or privateer, onto the podium since 1999. Getting to drive the latest of that illustrious lineage is no mean feat. Speaking of which…
Part of me does feel ever so slightly sorry for Bovingdon though, given that the 4-litre turbo diesel V6 under that sub-900kg carbon fibre body (the ‘super insect that’s evolved to thrive in a weird hidden ecosystem’) packs 1000bhp. Understandably, the boy tries his best to overcome ‘the fear’ before climbing on-board the 2016 Audi R18 for four laps of Audi’s testing facility at Neuberg. Still, he is one lucky bastard!