This week, a team of three drivers will set out to tackle a 23,000 km (14,291 mile) drive from Melbourne, Australia to its sister city of St Petersburg in Russia. The Challenge4 crew will be attempting to set a world record time of 16 days by driving their Volkswagen Touareg TDI in five-hour shifts for 24 hours a day. Carrying enough provisions for the entire trip, the only time the vehicle will be at standstill will be when refueling or when being transported across water.
We first saw Volkswagen's plug-in petrol-electric hybrid Cross Coupé concept
at the Tokyo Motor Show. Now there's a new Cross Coupé concept to be shown at the Geneva Motor Show this week that use a turbodiesel direct injection engine (TDI) and two electric motors to achieve 1.8 liters per 100 km (around 157 mpg) with CO2 emissions of just 46 g/km.
The Arab world has a new sporting superstar following the success of Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah in winning the 2011 Dakar Rally – the longest and toughest motor race in the world. Al Attiyah headed a 1-2-3 finish for Volkswagen’s TDI diesel Touareg 3 race cars, while the usual suspects fought a tooth-and-nail battle on KTMs for the laurels – Depres and Coma battled throughout the event on times with Coma besting last year's winner at the end. In the truck section, Kamaz's Vladimir Chagin repeated last year's win while Red Bull sponsored the three major category winners for the third year in a row – we're not sure what that means but it's quite some feat.
Since its first attempt in 1999, Audi
has won the Le Mans 24 hour race nine times with the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI, equaling Ferrari’s all-time win record. Last Friday it unveiled the new R18, a closed carbon fiber monocoque coupe specifically developed for Le Mans with a 3.7-liter V6 TDI engine and another first for endurance racing – all-LED headlights.
Not all that long ago, the mere thought of running a diesel in any form of motorsport would have had you laughed at. Diesel victories are now commonplace in long distance races thanks to the excellent power characteristics, reliability, the low fuel consumption of diesel engines and a battle between the two main TDI-engined cars in the form of the Peugeot 908 and Audi's R15. Audi Sport Team Joest added to the diesel legend on the weekend with a 1-2-3 victory using newly developed Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG) turbo-chargers on the R15's 440 kW V10 engine. The Peugeot 908s locked out the first two rows in qualifying and led the race until the 16 hour mark, but one by one, they suffered engine failure, and after 24 hours, Audi took all three steps on the podium. It wasn't exactly a rerun of the hare and the tortoise though, as the winning R15 racked up more 5,410 kilometers - more distance than has ever been achieved in 78 prior runnings of the French endurance classic. This was all the more remarkable in that it eclipsed a record set in 1971 by a Porsche 917 when the Hunaudières straight had no speed-slowing chicanes. Well done Audi!
’s turbo diesel technology completed a comprehensively successful title defence in the 2010 Dakar Rally
, finishing 1-2-3 with WRC legend Carlos Sainz (bottom right) finally winning the most prestigious “raid” in the world at his fourth attempt. In the motorcycles, Cyril Depres (top left) won his third Dakar Rally, after 9000 km across Argentina and Chile. He rode in triumph into Buenos Aires to complete his third Dakar victory and the tenth consecutive victory for Austrian brand KTM
. Indeed, apart from Sainz and Quad bike winner Marcos Patronelli who finished second last year, all the winners were old hands. Yamaha dominated the Quads as usual with a 1-2-3, the “tsar” (Russia’s Vladimir Chagin) won the truck category for the sixth time, driving a Kamaz (bottom left). The rugged Russian Kamaz truck
won EVERY stage in the 2010 event, finished 1-2 and picked up a ninth Dakar win.
June 16, 2006 The Le Mans 24 Hour race will be held this weekend and as we’ve been suggesting for some time, there’s a big chance that the brutally fast Audi R10 TDI will create history becoming the first diesel to win the legendary event and marking a changing of the guard in motor-racing. We've previously reported on the development of the world's fastest diesel car
and the R10's first big win at Sebring in March
, but Just to make Le Mans even more worthwhile following, both 650-hp diesel Audi R10 TDI cars will start from the front row on Saturday at 1700 hrs French time, having qualified a whopping two seconds faster than any of the petrol-engined competitors. The race can be followed live on the internet
July 18, 2005 Our recent articles on The coming of the electric motorcycle
and the Electric superbike
brought a flurry of response from our readers pointing out that the diesel motorcycle was a far more viable alternative to the petrol-engined motorcycle than the electric bike at this point in time. indeed, our readers were quick to point to a number of prototype diesel sports motorcycles that look awesomely promising: bikes such as the Neander 1400 turbodiesel, the TrackDiesel One Litre TurbuDiesel, the Dieselfighter, the AVL Boost and the Dutch ThunderStar 1200 TDI diesel motorcycle - all of them motorcycles of immense potential and all of them readying themselves for market. In this the first of a series of articles on diesel motorcycles, we take a close look at the ThunderStar 1200 TDI - a sports motorcycle with a stronger midrange than Triumph's 2.3 litre Rocket III.