Audi R8 #3 – Minichamps

R8 #3
2005 Audi R8
Pilots: J. J. Lehto, M. Werner, T. Kristensen
Team: Champion Racing
Race: 1st overall (LMP1 class) at Le Mans in 2005
Minichamps - 400051303 (diecast) 

Published 07/29/19

The Audi R8 debuted in 2000, at the 12 Hours of Sebring, and started out winning. After that it was a multitude of podiums, worldwide. At Le Mans, in 2000, it came in first, second and third. In 2001 it finished first and second. And in 2002, it came once again in the first three positions. But in 2003, Bentley’s Speed 8 got in the way, and the R8 “only” managed a third place overall and a class win. Interestingly, the Speed 8 was basically a closed-cockpit R8, with both cars having more in common than Bentley does like to admit. However, in the following year things got back to normal again, with the R8 finishing 1-2-3.

R8 #3
Such a lively livery compared to the black and grays that Audi currently uses.

Therefore, saying that Audi dominated La Sarthe was an understatement. Well, don’t forget that at the time Audi was the only Big Dog in LMP1/LMP900. Back then, the competition was from MUCH smaller teams, like Panoz, Pescarolo or ORECA. Still, it was the beginning of the “Audi Era” at Le Mans. For 2005 Audi was back, but with a smaller presence. There were three R8s in the race, from Champion Racing (R8 #3 and #2) and Sté. ORECA / Audi Playstation (#4).

The last of the R8s to win at La Sarthe…

The cars were basically the same affair used on previous years, with a full carbon fiber body and chassis. However, from year to year the aerodynamic package received adjustments. The engine was also the same previously used mid-engine and longitudinally mounted V8. Displacing 3596 cm³, with DOHC and two turbochargers from Garrett, it delivered 520 hp. Up to 2002 the engine produced 610 hp, but that changed for 2003. For safety reasons ACO determined a 10% decrease in engine output to all classes. Weaker engine or not, the R8 did it again. R8 #3 came in first place in 2005, while car #2 came in third.

In scale you get a lot of model for the price.

In conclusion, the R8 was a heckuva car, but 2005 was its last year. For the next season Audi decided to go with alternative fuels, and the R10 took its place. So this #3 is the last R8 to win at Le Mans. Therefor, a must buy for me. Not much to say about the model but that it’s a “typical Minichamps R8 affair”. In other words, an honest model that can be had for cheap. And, if I may add, nice to have just because it’s not in the regular silver and red. So, now that the last one is here I n-e-e-d to get the first one…

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