Chapter 8 – Sport



Chapter 8 – Sport
The longest day
24 hours to establish a landmark in motor racing history:
how a diesel car became the first of its breed to win the classic
endurance race. Text Herbert Völker // Photos Bodo Kräling
s well as the starting numbers, the
all about sheer engine output and the durability
colours of the roll-over bars – seemingly
of the tyres. In the 1930s attention turned
mere elevations – help to differentiate
to exploiting compressor technology, and disc
the cars. Number 7, the yellow one, was proving
brakes made their first appearance at Le Mans
something of a headache, whereas Number 8,
in the 1950s. Aerodynamics began to play an
the red one, was running immaculately. So it
ever more prominent role from the 1960s on, and
came as something of a shock when Number 8
the emergence of monstrously large engines
pulled into the pit in the middle of the night,
prompted the introduction of clever rules which
making a horrible grumbling noise. A few mo-
sought to redress the balance in favour of social
ments of paralysed horror gave way to a lightning-
acceptability. Injection technology, engine man-
fast, clear-cut decision that triggered off a chor-
agement and new materials characterised the
eography executed with instinctive certainty.
next steps, and in the 1990s fuel consumption
Never before had it been necessary to perform a
acquired new significance.
delicate operation on this new car under the
The Le Mans organisers realised long before
pressure of a race situation. All the more amaz-
Formula 1 (which is now slowly beginning to
ing was the self-evidence with which the deci-
follow suit) that sooner or later it would be
sions, operations and hardware came together,
necessary to square the technical demands of
as if symbolising the component that lay at the
top-class motor racing with the ability to use fuel
heart of the matter: the gearbox’s gear train. No
efficiently. The appeal of the race was not to
hesitation, no unnecessary dialogue, no super-
be sacrificed in the process – but why should it,
fluous actions, no cumbersome parts – every-
thing happened as calmly as if in a theory lesson.
Only competitors who complete the 24-hour
After eight minutes, the red one was back in ac-
race with a minimum of refuelling stops will have
tion, engendering – according to Head of Sport
a chance of overall victory in a very tight field.
Wolfgang Ullrich – a “wonderful feeling of re-
Modest use of fuel coupled with maximum effi-
lease, as if the worst was already behind us. We
ciency for attacking the racetrack emerged as a
had that tremendous feeling of being perfectly
key issue for designers and race engineers.
Top right: Emanuele Pirro
pulls into the pit to
refuel. A good perspective
to savour the elongated
beauty of the R10.
Bottom right:
raring to go. Tom
Kristensen ready for his
next stint in Number 7,
the “yellow” one.
in control – everyone working as a team.”
The whole affair showed that there are no
And so, to Le Mans.
special rules or benefits for those who venture
How can the unique challenge of this race best
into virgin territory. The utterly new and highly
be explained? One could resort to talking about
revolutionary TDI racing car did not have even
its legendary character, were the term not so
the slightest period of grace and was expected
to bypass several decades of experience in conventional racing cars at a stroke.
Le Mans is a region, a city, a race and the experience of an incredible weekend. A quarter of a
Following on from the brand’s brilliant demon-
million spectators are spread across the country-
strations of the diesel principle’s acceptability in
side. The days are long, with the summer solstice
the guise of economical, refined, high-torque TDI
just a few days away.
engines, Audi now believed it was time to challenge the petrol engine in the racing domain,
too. There was a sense that history decreed that
it was only logical to become the first to venture
this step, in the form of works-backed activities
at the highest level.
Only the latest achievements in diesel technology have made it possible to stage a direct
contest, complying with that bare minimum of
technical requirements that is the norm in top
motor sport. For the occasion, Audi built a highperformance V12 biturbo TDI complying with
the displacement limit of 5.5 litres laid down by
the competition rules.
Destination “Le Mans” was no coincidence.
Le Mans has always served as a benchmark of
technical progress. In the very early days it was
The kiss of sunrise from
the east, refreshingly
early on this midsummer
morning. And a sign
that the race has reached
its half-way mark.
The rare sight of rain in
a blazing summer. The
drivers had to be prepared for everything during practice – and got
it. The weather remained
dry for the race itself.
Le Mans is also a motor racing event that
possesses one overriding quality: its enduring
ability to reinvent itself, while remaining a rock
of stability throughout. Amid all the various
directions that motor racing has taken, from the
pioneering to the misguided, the Le Mans 24
Hours stands out as a beacon of consistency.
Then there is its sheer length – that dinosaur
format of the 24-hour race. 24 hours – a notion
that used to be more reminiscent of the long,
measured pace of the marathon, the endurance
of clocking up lap after lap on the same circuit
and the rigours of extreme distance and incessant driving. Today, the endurance race in effect
consists of a large number of individual sprint
races adding up to almost 5,000 kilometres, the
Off duty, but not a hint of
easing up: Dindo Capello
(No. 7) and Emanuele Pirro
(No. 8) following events
on screen in the pit.
combined distance of over 15 Grand Prix races,
Left: the final step in a
perfectly choreographed
pit stop and handover.
Frank Biela jumps out,
having strapped Marco
Werner into his seat.
7,000 hard brake applications, 17,000 gear
among “endurance drivers with the hearts of
changes and eight million crankshaft revolu-
sprinters”, and all had previously driven for Audi:
tions – or thereabouts.
Number 7 with the Italian Dindo Capello, the
This is deadly serious motor sport, but it has
seven-times Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen from
taken the superstructure of the irrational to
Denmark, and the Scot Allan McNish. Number 8
make this such a glorious occasion. It is sheer
was manned by the two Germans Frank Biela and
madness, fuelled by the legends of the early
Marco Werner, and the Italian Emanuele Pirro.
years, readily available in all its modern guises.
Even if Tom Kristensen is the one dubbed “Mr Le
Le Mans is also about entertainment, an accre-
Mans”, there is so little to distinguish between
tion of show and rituals.
all six of them in terms of speed that the roles al-
Now that other endurance races have gradual-
located to each individual were easily carved up.
ly faded away, the Le Mans night comes across
In other words, who drives in qualifying, who the
as a rare, precious reminder of bygone years in
starting lap, and who crosses the finishing line?
the modern world of motor sport. The two Audi
R10 TDI cars were manned by the absolute elite
Of the team that emerged as the eventual
winners, Werner opted for the thrill of the
“hot lap” for qualifying, Biela for the adrenalin
rush of the starting lap and Pirro for the honour
of the final “stint”, as it is known in racing parlance. According to the dictionary definition, a
stint is an “allocated task” or “shift”. At Le Mans,
a stint lasts as long as a tankful of fuel (90 litres)
allows. That normally means 12 laps, or about
three-quarters of an hour.
But the extra economy of the diesel principle
the rev counter in the display. The positive thing
meant that the Audi cars managed to stay out on
is that the low noise level is very agreeable over
the track for 14 laps at a time, saving four pit stops
long distances, so more relaxing for the driver.”
over the whole distance. In the race’s closing
phase, when it was possible to step off the pace
Fortune in the marathon.
a little, Tom Kristensen even managed to coax 16
A single moment of contact when overtaking a
laps out of a single tank of fuel. A sensational
straggler, a tyre puncture or even a tiny fault can
achievement, and a new benchmark for the future.
put you out of the race, however well you may be
The top speed at Le Mans is now roughly the
doing. As fate would have it, the yellow car (Num-
same for all top cars (335 km/h). It is intentional-
ber 7) was stricken with a litany of misfortunes
ly capped by the rules’ safety requirements and
necessitating four lengthy pit stops, followed by
the two chicanes on the long straight, where
an exhilarating chase that was finally rewarded
someone clocked up a fearsome 406 km/h 15
with third place in the final classification. Mean-
years ago. Gone are the days when sheer top
while the red car, apart from that horrible
speed was the be-all-and-end-all of this race.
moment in the middle of the night, clocked up
It is now more a question of what speed is
its laps unperturbed by all perils. Emanuele
driveable in every situation, and in the ordi-
Pirro, traditionally the man for that climactic mo-
nary business of racing it transpired that TDI-
ment, steered the all-conquering, unassailable
powered cars clocked up laps an average of two
Audi R10 over the finishing line. By that point,
seconds faster than the fastest petrol engine. On
Biela, Pirro and Werner had put four laps be-
that basis, the race could already have been con-
tween themselves and their nearest challenger.
sidered to be won, were it not for the incredible
An outpouring of emotions, a rapturous wel-
imponderables of Le Mans which can come into
come and a place in the history books: the tri-
play right up until the final lap.
umph by the diesel-powered Audi R10 has
One striking aspect of the diesel racing car
earned a prominent place in the annals of motor
caught the attention of the spectators in the
sport. This was a triumph for the whole team and
course of the long race: its low noise level. Put
the technicians in the background, and also a
differently, the R10 TDI is astonishingly quiet for
ringing endorsement of one particular idea: how
a 650 bhp racing car. The gears (there are only
to demonstrate trailblazing technology aptly at
five of them) are always changed at less than
major sporting events.
Left: Marco Werner fully
wired up – acoustically,
visually and above all
emotionally, while his
colleague out on the
track clinches victory.
Top: still time for a stylistic study of functional
beauty, putting the
air stream in its place at
330 km/h.
5,000 rpm, with the result that from moderate
speeds upwards the drivers hear nothing at all of
the engine, because the wind noise is louder.
Herbert Völker, who for many years has been
Frank Biela remarked: “That means you have to
editor-in-chief of the Austrian magazine
concentrate even more than usual when braking
Autorevue, loves the Le Mans 24 Hours for
from a very high speed. You used to be able to
its incredibly successful blend of sport and
gauge when to shift down by the noise, but now
show: “The old lady of motor racing is now in finer
it was absent. You have to concentrate more on
fettle than ever”.
Right: the result permitting, the teams love to
cross the finishing line in
pairs at Le Mans. Biela,
Pirro and Werner (No. 8)
are the winners, Capello,
Kristensen and McNish
are third. Then it’s time
for the fans to take over.
of a
The Lamborghini
“Murciélago” owes its
name to a particularly
brave Andalusian fighting
bull. He helped the
Miura family of breeders
to secure the fame from
which the car manufacturer, too, subsequently
benefited. Time for
an encounter between
bestial and mechanical
primeval power in the
land of the bull.
An encounter described
in the book “Lamborghini.
A tempo furioso”.
Text Stephan Grühsem/Dirk Maxeiner //
Photos Peter Vann
Common heritage:
Andalusian Miura bulls and their first
encounter with the Lamborghini Murciélago
LP640 Coupé*.
* fuel consumption figures at the end of the Annual Report
he Lamborghini Murciélago carries us along old country roads
towards Córdoba. The river brings life to
Andalusia’s expansive, arid landscape.
Traffic trickles along like the final few
drops in a bottle of Osborne sherry. The
twelve-cylinder engine booms out its
symphony for our ears only. Every gear
change sets the skin tingling.
The sheer bestial power of the
Lamborghini seems appropriate in this
harsh country. The Murciélago owes its
name to a particularly brave fighting
bull that wrote history in the bullfighting world on October 5, 1879. After the
noble and courageous beast had engaged the torero in a drawn-out struggle, the crowd in Córdoba asked for
the animal’s life to be spared – a rare
gesture indeed. After the fight, the bull
passed into the ownership of the bull
breeder Antonio Miura, who made it the
progenitor of a legendary breed of fighting bulls.
Sun-bleached bull’s skulls leading
the way
The gateway to the realm of the Miuras
is to be found on a lonely road, a couple
of kilometres from Lora del Río. It consists of simple wooden posts supporting two sun-bleached bull’s skulls and
the name “Miura” spelled out in sticks.
A weathered milestone displays the
letter “A”, adorned with two symbolic
horns – the Miuras’ coat of arms.
“Zahariche” is the name of the estate
Three generations of a legendary family of
breeders: (from left) Eduardo Miura, his son
Eduardo and brother Antonio, with the
painted tiles above them depicting grandfather Antonio in the saddle.
hidden well behind it. The Miuras, a dynasty of bull breeders, have been living
here since 1842 and have earned a place
Spanish riding boots with jangling
breeding, warning us not even to think
in the heart of every Spaniard. The name
spurs. Saddled horses are tethered to a
of getting out: “You should be under no
Miura is uttered with immense respect.
fig tree. The brothers have regularly
illusions, a three year old novillo can
Only once before has a Lamborghini
been riding since the age of five. The
already be very dangerous to a man.”
visited here – and that time, it was
sound of hooves thunders over from a
We pass a small arena (“tentadero”) in
driven by the boss himself. Ferruccio
group of riders dashing across the vast
which tests for selected animals are be-
Lamborghini called in on Eduardo Miura
meadow at a gallop.
ing held. One particular iron rule applies
Fernández in the 1960s. The outcome of
“Vaqueros” is the name given to these
here: a man should never approach a
his visit was a legendary name in the
Andalusian cowboys. They sit proud
designated fighting bull on foot (as the
motoring world: Lamborghini Miura.
and upright in their saddles, bearing
torero will subsequently do), with a
wooden lances. In such surroundings,
capa or muleta. “A bull,” explains Miura,
Zahariche is run by his sons Eduardo
our Murciélago LP640 Coupé* really does
“learns more in 20 minutes than a man
and Antonio Miura. There are many
look like a visitor from another planet.
does in his entire life”. A bull that has
hundreds of adolescent bulls, oxen,
Eduardo Miura invites us to climb into
already worked out the rules of engage-
cows and calves grazing more than
his battered old off-road vehicle and
ment would trample any torero into the
600 hectares of land. The Miuras wear
join him on a beginner’s course in bull-
ground straight away. At the age of four,
Discreetly understated: the Lamborghini waiting patiently for its next drive.
“A bull learns more in 20 minutes
than a man does in his entire life.”
the fighting bulls are fully mature and
tip the scales at between 600 and 700
kilograms of unbridled fighting spirit.
Eduardo Miura carefully eyes up a
group of four year old bulls standing
some distance away on a hill. Motionless and with their heads slightly
raised, they stare down at us. “One of
them doesn’t like my car,” explains
Miura. “It nearly pushed it over once
before and knows how to do it.” Miura,
however, seems more concerned about
The Miura family, based
at the “Zahariche” estate,
built its success in bullbreeding on the fighting
bull Murciélago.
* fuel consumption figures at the end of the Annual Report
his bull than about his pick-up truck.
Anything happening to the former
would be far more costly than just damaged bodywork. Even the slight-
“The truly brave bull gives no warning before it attacks.” Ernest Hemingway
The Andalusian bull-rearing dynasty meets its aristocratic offshoot:
the Miuras and the Murciélago.
“Aficion” in the air –
everything here is imbued with
a passion for bull-breeding.
Vaquero meets high-tech:
a clash of worlds.
est changes to the accustomed surroundings, noises, smells and movements could trigger off certain reflexes
and motor responses that this particular visitor is not keen on witnessing.
“The truly brave bull gives no warning
“Faced with a choice
between existence
and non-existence,
the bull would choose
to remain precisely
what it is.”
Picasso, another famous Andalusian,
used this world to portray eternal
topics such as love, war and death.
Countless artists and authors have felt
the irresistible pull of aficion. Without
bull-breeding, the Andalusia of natural,
uncultivated meadowlands would dis-
before it attacks,” wrote Ernest Heming-
appear along with the culture of the
way, “except that it keeps its eyes firmly
fixed on its foe, the ridge of muscles in
are clear: nobody is to move or make a
vaqueros. “I venture to assert that if
the neck swells up, one ear twitches and
sound, or even so much as sneeze. Then
faced with a choice between existence
it lifts its tail while it attacks.”
brother Antonio Miura rides with his
and non-existence the bull, such a won-
vaqueros towards the herd, to edge the
derful emblem of vital energy ever since
“Toro sentido” and the spirit of evil
animals very carefully into the photo-
the days of ancient Crete, would choose
The worst are the “toro sentido” or
grapher’s field of view. Antonio Miura
to remain precisely what it is,” writes
“Barrabás”, which are believed to be the
is a talented horseman and exudes a
the author Mario Vargas Llosa.
embodiment of evil. These four- or five-
casualness that evidently calms even
year-old animals have gained experi-
the bulls. The bulls evidently do not take
ence of fighting other bulls, and have
the Murciélago to be one of their kind,
become mistrusting and sly. “A ‘manso
sparing us the most expensive turf war
de sentido’, such as is often encountered
of all time.
at Miura, is the most dangerous animal
We are welcomed back to the house
imaginable,” states the book “Aficion”,
with an Andalusian meal prepared by
The appeal of the
which means literally “affection” – in the
the wives Christina Miura and Maria del
Lamborghini brand is
narrower sense, “for bulls”.
Mar Miura. The stuffed heads of famous
evoked in the book
For our photo shoots we drive the
bulls stare down at us from the walls of
Murciélago LP640 Coupé* into the
the large hall. Certificates, posters of
A tempo furioso” by
middle of the meadow (Eduardo Miura’s
fighting bulls, paintings, photos and
Stephan Grühsem
enquiry as to the Lamborghini’s price
artefacts tell the fascinating story of the
seeming to extend his concern beyond
Miura dynasty. “This isn’t a museum,”
177-page illustrated book is published by
his bulls). The Lamborghini is first
explains Christina Miura, “It’s our life.“
Motorsport Verlag, ISBN-13: 978-3613025547.
parked on the meadow, then we all have
Aficion permeates the very air that you
It contains extensive articles on the history
to retreat behind a fence. The directives
breathe here.
and philosophy of the brand with the bull.
* fuel consumption figures at the end of the Annual Report
and Peter Vann. This
in brief:
Island Race
Australia’s Whitsunday Islands offered
the perfect surroundings for duels on
both land and sea in August 2006.
Steering a successful course in the
Audi Q7: Uli Hoeneß
More than 150 yachts steered a course
for a regatta win in the Hamilton Island
Bayern Munich on ice
Race, now in its 23rd year. As the offi-
Bayern Munich’s players found themselves on unaccustomed terrain in the
competitors at the airport venue en-
run-up to the 66th Hahnenkamm Race in January 2006 in Kitzbühel. At the
joyed a race-course atmosphere and
Audi Driving Experience, they were given an opportunity to put the Audi range
also supplied the Regatta’s top prize:
of models with quattro permanent four-wheel drive to the test under expert
an Audi A4 Avant. The keys to the vehi-
guidance. Together with General Manager Uli Hoeneß, players Oliver Kahn,
cle were presented to Australian Dave
Michael Ballack, Roy Makaay and their team colleagues first accomplished
Short, who secured a victory in both
a slalom course and dexterity road tests. Then Le Mans record-breaker Tom
the yacht race and the “Audi Final Chal-
Kristensen and 2004 DTM Champion Mattias Ekström showed the football
lenge” on the road. Audi will attend the
stars how to drive Audi cars both safely and sportily.
Hamilton Island Race for the first time
cial car partner, Audi ensured that
as main sponsor in 2007.
Football stars
driving the Audi Q7
Audi motor
sport legends at
They are among the best on the pitch, and
now there’s no stopping them on the
roads! The stars of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were handed the
keys to their new Audi cars in 2006. The
Above: A sporty partnership: Audi and FC Barcelona.
Below: Javier Saviola with his Audi Q7.
favourite was the new Audi Q7, in which all
Audi focused on the
the Spanish players now arrive for train-
sports expertise of the
ing. Bayern Munich captain Oliver Kahn
brand with the four rings
and seven of his team colleagues also
at last year’s “Festival
opted for the sporty SUV. Audi and the
of Speed” at Goodwood,
current holders of the Champions League
England, one of the
title, Barcelona, forged a new partner-
world’s leading classic car
ship involving the provision of cars for the
events. Spectators were
players for a period of at least two years. A
not only able to view the
close partnership has already existed with
current Le Mans cham-
Germany’s record-breaking champions
pion, the Audi R10 – the
since summer 2002. Real Madrid’s players,
first diesel-powered car
officials and coach have likewise been
to win this classic race –
driving Audi cars since 2004.
but also such models
as the Auto Union Grand
Prix Type C racing car
S3 – pure driving pleasure
from 1936, which ran out
Audi introduced a highly sporty product, the new Audi S3*, in the premium
European Championship
compact segment in September 2006. It redefines the standards of its
at Goodwood exactly
class – at the level of a sports car. The 195 kW (265 bhp), 350 Nm TFSI
70 years ago.
supreme winner of the
engine with petrol direct injection and turbocharger and the quattro permanent four-wheel drive catapult the driver from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds. With this sparkling performance, the Audi S3 pursues the ideal of
pure driving pleasure coupled with excellent everyday practicality – like
all Audi S models.
The Audi S3
redefines the
of its class.
Polo Challenge
A sporting event of particular calibre again took
place at Ascot last year:
the Audi Polo Challenge
2006. This prestigious
event in the British
polo season saw Prince
William follow in his
father’s footsteps and
captain his team in a
match against the team
from Audi UK. Numerous
VIP guests, including
musician Vanessa Mae
and actor Kris Marshall,
took up the invitation
to attend.
* fuel consumption figures at the end of the Annual Report