Audi's legacy at Le Mans is unparalleled. Sure, their corporate siblings at Porsche have won the legendary 24-hour race 19 times to Audi's 13, but while Porsche took 48 years to amass those victories, Audi did it in 15—a span that included the first-ever wins for diesel and hybrid-powered cars, two technologies that changed LMP1 racing forever. Those achievements give Audi a powerful name in sports-car racing, four years after the automaker's racing program officially shut its doors. A mix of technology and prestige means the race cars of Audi's recent past are rarely seen outside of the company—it's hard to imagine a private hobby racer being able to support such a cutting-edge machine.
That's what makes this listing, a 2011 Audi R18 TDi Ultra priced at "Please Inquire" at Art & Revs, such a rarity. The R18 line competed for six years, but the E-Tron Quattro hybrid variant that ran alongside Audi's non-hybrid models in 2012 and became exclusive to the line starting in 2013 means the more straightforward non-hybrid R18s were only produced in small numbers. Eight were built, and six remain. Only one of those six has been restored and sold as a running car.
In other words, this is one-of-a-kind.
In a way, this 2011 R18 is perhaps the most exciting vintage racer available in the world right now. The car is being sold as an operational, track-ready machine. This example was a former test car, meaning it never competed in an actual race, so any track time added by the next owner won't diminish the car's value the way it would on a former race-winner.
And yes, a 10-year-old Le Mans prototype counts as a "vintage" racer. Sporting guidelines for the Masters Endurance Legends USA series leave room for any car that competed at Le Mans before 2016, so an American buyer could theoretically race this Audi nine times this year in that series alone.
While the non-hybrid R18s are significantly less complex than the hybrid models that replaced them starting in 2012, this is still an ultra-rare, purpose-built racing car with a turbodiesel powerplant that was the absolute cutting edge of motorsport not all that long ago. As a result, the listing notes that "an ex-Audi Sport engineer would be pleased to accompany the car and support its new owner in racing it."
The current engine and gearbox are expected to last 6200 miles and 4300 miles, respectively, before rebuilds are due. That would clear the gearbox for 500 laps of Le Mans, 150 more than this R18's race-winning twin ran in the 2011 race.
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