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Old And New, These Are The Track Stars We Love

We like fast machines around here, and that means we're drawn to racecars past and present. Here's a list of our favorites.

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The 82nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is on.

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When we saw the picture above yesterday, our first thought went to driver Loic Duval. After hearing that he, miraculously, walked away from the annihilated heap that had been the number one Audi R18 e-tron Quattro, our next thought went Audi's hopes in this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. With the race kicking off on Saturday, we couldn't be sure if the team would run a two-car effort (that would put them on even footing with the two-car teams of Porsche and Toyota), attempt to rebuild the decimated

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Loic Duval, driver of the #1 Audi R18 E-tron Quattro, suffered a massive crash today during free practice for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Duval's car reportedly went off track backwards at high speed near the Porsche Curves and flew into the retaining fence. There is no video of the actual crash at the moment, but a video of the aftermath (viewable below) shows significant damage to the Audi and to the fence. The wall nearby the car appears unaffected.

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One of the best ways of learning a new track, aside from driving it, is to hear someone that's intimately familiar with it give you a good walkthrough. That's just what you'll get here, as the winningest driver in 24 Hours of Le Mans history, Tom Kristensen, walks you through the Circuit de la Sarthe's high-speed, 8.5-mile strip of pavement.

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Ah, sibling rivalry. It really is a beautiful thing. It's even more beautiful when said siblings are automakers with very, very well-known racing histories. That's how you get videos like this, which is Audi's way of welcoming Porsche back to the top flight of Le Mans racing.

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The 24 Hours of Le Mans is still months away, but Audi Sport apparently can't wait to get started. It has just debuted the new livery for its 2014 R18 E-tron Quattro with a public drive through the streets of the town of Le Mans, while simultaneously announcing that it has a new, larger engine.

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This is the new Audi R18. It looks like the Bond villain of race cars (it has red running lamps), and if Audi's past is any indication, it'll prove difficult to beat in the LMP1 class of the 2014 World Endurance Championship.

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You can't debate Audi's record in endurance racing. With 12 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it comes second only to Porsche in the history books of the famous endurance race – only in Audi's case, all of those victories have come in the last 14 years, losing only twice: once to its partner team Bentley in 2003 and once to rival Peugeot in 2009. It's won the FIA World Endurance Championship in both of the seasons it's run so far, and has won championships in the European and American

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Forza Motorsport 5 is set to come out on November 22 alongside the all-new Xbox One. As part of the launch lineup for a big new system, it shouldn't be a shock that Turn 10 Studios, the maker of the Forza series is going all out in promoting its new game. That's meant making interesting partnerships, like the one it enjoys with Top Gear.

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Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish took the No. 2 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro to victory at this weekend's Six Hours of Austin at the Circuit of the Americas, marking the 12th victory for the R18 body and the 100th LMP overall victory for Audi since 2000. The milestone victory also saw a second R18, driven by Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer, take third place.

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We'd be just as happy to casually walk back to an RS6 Avant as anybody, but Audi's commercial for its fastest ass-hauling wagon takes casual to another level. The RS6 isn't even seen until more than two-thirds of the way through the 46-second German commercial, but Audi seduces us long before that with the R18 E-tron Quattro diesel-hybrid endurance racer juxtaposed into scenes of everyday life. Since when can you be picked up at the airport or drive peacefully to a riverbed in a racecar?

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This car is the master link between what Audi does on the race track and sells on the road.

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According to a report by Autocar, all we thought we knew of the in-development Audi supercar we might not actually know. A piece in Car and Driver, not even a month old, said the diesel-hybrid halo car was in the design stages, would get the engine from the R18 E-Tron Quattro and its carbon fiber tub. Now we get word that that while the coupe is indeed being designed, it hasn't yet been signed off and there's no business case for it yet. Said business case, whenever it is built, is also dubious

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Audi has used its racing program to trickle technology down to its passenger cars, but how about some racing design making its way into your living room? The Audi R18 Ultra Chair will be on display at Design Miami until December 9, and it was developed in a similar fashion as the R18 racecar, including optimal comfort and weight savings, constructed using carbon fiber and aluminum.

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When a major automaker shuts down its racing program like Peugeot did at Le Mans, it leaves a big gaping hole for everyone involved. The French automaker's departure from endurance racing left the series organizers scrambling for another team to take its place just as it was preparing to inaugurate the new FIA World Endurance Championship. It left Audi – the Diane Sawyer of Le Mans racing, to borrow an analogy from Talladega Nights – without its Katie Couric. And arguably most of all

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The top class of endurance racing like what we see at Le Mans tends to follow trends. Open cockpits gave way to closed ones in LMP1 racers, but while diesel engines continue to dominate, we're now entering the age of hybrid prototypes.

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The top class of endurance racing like what we see at Le Mans tends to follow trends. Open cockpits gave way to closed ones in LMP1 racers, but while diesel engines continue to dominate, we're now entering the age of hybrid prototypes.

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When we hear names like TFSI and Quattro, we automatically think of Audi. But while these technologies have proliferated across the company's production model range, they weren't initially developed for the road – they were developed for racing. So sit up straight and pay attention to Audi's cutting edge new Le Mans prototype, because it's jam-packed with new technologies that will likely end up in showrooms sooner or later.

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When we hear names like TFSI and Quattro, we automatically think of Audi. But while these technologies have proliferated across the company's production model range, they weren't initially developed for the road – they were developed for racing. So sit up straight and pay attention to Audi's cutting edge new Le Mans prototype, because it's jam-packed with new technologies that will likely end up in showrooms sooner or later.

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The diesel era at Le Mans may not be over yet, but already we're seeing the emergence of a new propulsion trend: hybrids. Toyota recently announced the TS030 Hybrid LMP1, Peugeot was working on a hybrid version of its 908 prototype before it killed the race program, and now Audi has confirmed a hybrid version of the R18 TDI.

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