I’ve always been irritated by that – now very – old adage ‘win on Sunday, sell on a Monday’. Even if it applied in the days of the Mini Cooper and Ford Cortina 1600E, I can’t believe that it applies today.
Formula 1’s turbocharged era did, though, do much to popularise forced induction for production cars. And the glorious Group B rally cars made all-wheel drive so popular that you could get 4x4 versions of everything from a Citroën AX to the Alfa Romeo 164.
So, what happened to the diesel supercar? Diesel power has won Le Mans every year since 2006, when the Audi R10 TDi first took the chequered flag. Indeed, after Peugeot’s 908 HDi won the race in 2009, Audi took the title in 2012 and ’13 with hybridised diesel in the form of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
Anyone would have thought that such an amazing run of victories would have changed minds about the suitability of diesel engines as performance powertrains. If winning on the ultimate Sunday doesn’t trigger a case for a diesel supercar, what will?
Perhaps production oil-burning engines were still not good enough. Not refined enough, too slow to rev, too quick to lose boost and unlikely to tempt the sort of enthusiast who buys an Audi R8.