In December 2005, Audi announced the creation of a new race car to wage war at the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car was called the R10 TDI.
It was developed to continue Audi's unprecedented roll at the historic endurance race where the company has dominated since 1999, when it first started racing the R8 race car. Audi drivers stood on the podium seven years in a row, and Audi claimed the overall championship every year in that time spam except 2003. But what made Audi's announcement in late 2005 so special was that its new race car would be powered by a diesel engine, marking the first diesel-powered racer to participate at Le Mans.
The freshly-developed twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V12 TDI engine produced 650 HP and 811.5 ft-lb of torque. The diesel had some disadvantages when compared to gasoline engines, namely weight and high heat emissions, but its exceptionally high fuel economy and large amount of torque made it well-suited for an endurance race such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The power band was between 3000 and 5000 rpm, quite low in the rpm spectrum when compared to its gasoline counterparts, but this enables less shifting through the course.
On race day in June 2006, the R10 TDI started the race in the front row. Thanks to the car's incredible fuel economy and consistent performance, the No. 8 car, driven by Frank Biela, Emanuele Piero, and Marco Werner, took the overall win with 380 laps. It was a historic occasion as it marked the first time a diesel-powered car won Le Mans. The car ended up winning three years in a row, in both 2007 and 2008.