Audi Investigates Glitch on Le Mans-Winning Hybrid Racing Car

Audi AG’s racing team is investigating a computer glitch that affected its winning hybrid car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The etron-Quattro’s software dropped out of a setting that distributes energy from braking in the most effective way for the 8.5-mile circuit in central France, Audi’s head of motorsports Wolfgang Ullrich said.

After twice trying to correct the fault at pit stops, Audi gave up and stuck with a default mode, Ullrich said. The part-electric engine still operated in the same way.

“We have not yet found out why the computer was not able to go into the optimal mode when we rebooted,” Ullrich said in a telephone interview.

The car -- driven by Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer -- still went on to win the endurance race on June 17, beating Audi’s other e-tron Quattro by a lap. Toyota Motor Corp.’s two hybrids didn’t finish because of a crash and a mechanical fault.

Audi didn’t disclose the error publicly after the race because it didn’t want to give inside information that might help the team’s rivals, Ullrich said. He declined to say at what point during the 24 hours it occurred.

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