There was a time when the very idea of using a diesel in motorsport was unheard of. Today though more and more diesels are appearing on track, with many of the advanced features powering our road cars coming directly from the racetrack.
To celebrate the achievements of diesels in motorsport, Diesel Car picks its top three derv-powered racers.
1. Peugeot 908 HDi
By the dawn of the millennium, Peugeot had pretty much won it all. Victories in rallying, touring cars and endurance racing gave the French firm a true motorsport pedigree. It might not have been the first diesel to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours, but between 2007 and 2011 it competed in 28 races and won 19 of them.
2. Audi R10 TDI
The Audi R10 TDI isn’t just a diesel racing car, it’s probably the diesel racing car. In 48 races it’s taken 36 wins, dominating Le Mans for almost three years. Like the Peugeot 908, it’s is powered by a 5.5 litre engine, though in the Audi it’s a V12, not a V8. It developed 640bhp and championed Audi’s TDI cause, starring in adverts on TV, in print and online. A true racetrack superstar.
3. SEAT Leon Touring Car
SEAT caused a stir when it opted to use diesel to power its Leon Touring car in 2008. Its decision was proved right, though, when Yvan Muller took the World title in 2008, followed by Gabriele Tarquini in 2009. The Leon TDI proved its pace on UK soil too, competing in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) with driver Jason Plato notching up eight wins during the 2008 season.