Audi demonstrated clearly last year that a diesel-powered race car could take on defeat gas-powered cars at the 24 Hours of LeMans and in the ALMS and they are preparing to fend off a new diesel challenger from Peugeot later this month in France. The Audi R8 sports car that debuted in production earlier this year was inspired by Audi's original LeMans car and now looks set for an update based on the latest endurance racer.

A diesel powered version of the R8 may hit the street as soon as 2009, according to Car and Driver. Although the R10 inspired 5.9L V-12 that was shown in the Q7 V-12 at the Detroit Auto Show might seem the obvious choice, it may well be too large and to heavy for the R8 engine bay. The 4.2L V-8 TDI available now in the European Q7 gives up some power but gains 77 percent in torque compared to the gas engine currently used in the R8 and could increase fuel economy by over twenty percent. Whether or not the R8 TDI ever makes it US shores will probably depend on fuel prices and how well the other new Audi diesels are received over the next two years.

[Source: Car and Driver]

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