November 1, 2005
Source: Champion Racing
POMPANO BEACH, FL. (November 1, 2005) Team ADT Champion Racing can now declare themselves as the best sports car team in the world. Why? Because this privateer, Pompano Beach, Florida based team can now boast that in one season, they have won the three most prestigious sports car races in the world: the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Petit Le Mans. In addition, Team ADT Champion Racing has won all three Championship titles in the 2005 American Le Mans Series season: the Team Championship (second for Champion Racing), the Drivers Championship (won by teammates Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela) and the Manufacturers Championship (Audis sixth consecutive Championship).
I dont think Team ADT Champion Racing will ever have a racing season like weve had this year, said Dave Maraj, Team Owner of Champion Racing. I am so proud of everyone on this team. We have been working hard for these victories and we finally achieved them all this year.
The success for Champion Racing started with the season opener at Sebring International Raceway. In the closest racing finish in the 53-year history of the 12 Hours of Sebring, only 6.365 seconds separated the 1st and 2nd place Audi R8s of Team ADT Champion Racing giving Dave Maraj and his team their first ever Sebring victory. Drivers of the No. 1 Audi R8, JJ Lehto (Finland), Marco Werner (Germany) and Tom Kristensen (Denmark) led most of the race while the No. 2 sister car piloted by Emanuele Pirro (Italy), Frank Biela (Germany), and Allan McNish (Scotland) stayed close behind. This dominating win by Team ADT Champion Racing marked the sixth consecutive victory for the Audi R8 at Sebring since its debut in 2000.
In June, Team ADT Champion Racing traveled to Le Sarthe, France to compete in the 73rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Once again the trio of Lehto, Werner and Kristensen crossed the finish line first and in doing so fulfilled a lifetime achievement for Dave Maraj. The fiercely contested win marked the first time in 38 years that an American team won the coveted 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy. For Audi, it was their fifth win out of six attempts having lost to Bentley in 2003.
For the drivers of the winning Audi R8, earning this checkered flag signified three very important accomplishments. JJ Lehto celebrated his second Le Mans win, the first having been achieved in 1995, Marco Werner celebrated his first Le Mans win and Tom Kristensen is now known as the most successful Le Mans driver ever. In only his ninth Le Mans appearance, Kristensen is now the first driver in history to claim a seventh victory besting Jacky Ickxs (Belgian) record of six wins.
At Petit Le Mans (Braselton, Georgia) teammates Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela wrapped up their second American Le Mans Series Driver Championship. Pirro won his first ALMS Driver Championship in 2001 and Biela earned his in 2003. Team ADT Champion Racing won their third consecutive Petit Le Mans and the Audi R8 remained unbeaten earning its sixth consecutive win.
Rod Bymaster, Motorsports Manager for Audi of America, comments, “On behalf of Audi of America I would like to thank Team ADT Champion Racing for all their hard work and long hours spent in 2005 to bring Audi the American Le Mans Series Championship and the win at Le Mans. Congratulations on a season of many great achievements.”
2005 marked the sixth and final season for the most successful Le Mans Prototype of all time, the Audi R8. In record setting fashion, the R8 has achieved 61 victories from 74 sports car starts since its debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 2000. From 2006 onwards, new technical regulations apply at the French endurance classic, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the American Le Mans Series.
World class drivers who have driven the Audi R8 include Stefan Johansson, Johnny Herbert, Ralf Kelleners, Andy Wallace, Didier Theys, Dorsey Schroeder, JJ Lehto, Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello, Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro, Allan McNish, Aiello Laurent, Michele Alboreto, Marco Werner, Pierre Kaffer, Christian Abt, Jamie Davies, Mika Salo, Stephane Ortelli, Perry McCarthy, Christian Pescatori, Michael Krumm, Philipp Peter, Seiji Ara, Yannick Dalmas, Hiroki Katoh, Johnny Kane, Patrick LeMarie, Jean-Marc Gounon, Franck Montagny, Stephane Ortelli, Jan Magnussen, and Tom Coronel.
For more information on Audi motorsports visit www.audiusa.com. For more information on Champion Racing, visit www.championracing.net.