A Good Start for the Audi R10 TDI at Sebring
Audi has managed a perfect start in this years American Le Mans Series (ALMS). During the first official practice day for the season opener at Sebring, the two 650 hp diesel sportscars set the fastest laps on the 5.954 kilometre circuit. The fastest time of the day was set by Audi driver Allan McNish in the #2 Audi R10 TDI during the morning session.
The starting grid for the 12-hour race will be decided in qualifying on Thursday. The organisers expect another record crowd of over 150,000 spectators during the weekend at the traditional season opener in the US state of Florida. The long-distance classic is the most important sportscar race in the USA and for Audi, the dress rehearsal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans where Audi bids to become the first manufacturer to claim overall victory with a diesel sportscar.
Quotes after the first practice day at Sebring
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “Like always its very difficult to adapt a new car to a tricky circuit like Sebring. Weve been here for testing but due to the higher ambient temperatures, we now have completely different circumstances. The team is working towards the race set-up for both cars and is making good progress.
Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #1): “We sorted out a few things during testing so that we arrived at Sebring with a good car. Now we have to adapt the Audi R10 TDI to the current conditions and have to deal with circumstances like changing wind direction and force for example. Reacting to these elements was of course much easier with our well known Audi R8. But after the experiences so far, Im quite optimistic that we will ultimately manage the same with the R10 TDI.
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): “It has been a good start. We have discovered a lot more things about the car and are satisfied with the steps weve already made. Im happy about the positive feedback our diesel project is experiencing in the USA. A lot of enthusiastic fans talked to me and said they couldnt believe that a diesel can be so fast.
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #1): “We are very satisfied because now we know that our car is competitive. The encouraging thing is that we have not suffered the slightest problem with our R10 TDI and so was able to work on our programme without interruption.
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #2): “Its nice to get back into the cockpit of a race car after such a long time of preparation. With the heavy traffic of the slower ALMS classes on the circuit, I feel at home already. We are still improving our R10 TDI and Im now looking forward to the qualifying.
Tom Kristensen (Audi R10 TDI #2): “I was looking forward very much to driving the new Audi R10 TDI with diesel power for the first time here at Sebring on Monday and it didnt disappoint me. Our new baby has excellent power and extremely good aerodynamics. So the guys in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm managed once again to put something very special on four wheels.
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #2): “Every day we learn more about our car. And now we already know how competitive we are. Our lap times look very good and we are definitely working in the right direction and so will have a well prepared car for the race on Saturday.
Ralf Juttner (Technical Director, Team Audi Sport North America): “We have worked through our programme without any problems so far. But we also learned that the competition will be very hard here at Sebring. Our competitors Porsche and Dyson are very fast so we can expect a very tough race.