|May 27, 2009
Last year’s winning trio again forms a team
No changes to driver squads that ran at Sebring
Newcomers Bernhard and Dumas in third Audi R15 TDI
Source: Audi Communications Motorsports
Ingolstadt – The three driver teams with which Audi Sport Team Joest will tackle the 77th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 13/14 have been confirmed.
The Audi R15 TDI designated as car number “1” will be driven by last year’s winners Dindo Capello (Italy), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland), the same squad that already won the 12-hour race at Sebring (USA).
The Audi R15 TDI designated as car number “2” also features the same lineup that ran at Sebring: The three Germans Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner will take turns at the wheel of this car.
The cockpit of the Audi R15 TDI – car number “3” – will be shared by the German Timo Bernhard and the two Frenchmen Romain Dumas and Alexandre Prémat.
“The 12-hour race at Sebring was a successful dress rehearsal for us,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “That’s why we didn’t make any changes to the driver teams that competed at Sebring. The squad for the third car automatically resulted from this decision. I’m convinced that we’ve filled the cockpits of all three R15 TDI cars at Le Mans with outstanding racers – also thanks to the two drivers Porsche is providing to us.”
The new additions to the team, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, have meanwhile thoroughly familiarized themselves with the Audi R15 TDI in test runs. The first second-generation diesel-powered race sports car has undergone further development since its victorious debut at Sebring, with an aerodynamics package optimized for the Le Mans high-speed track. Because the organizer decided on short notice to increase the minimum weight for diesel vehicles by 30 kilograms, several components of the R15 TDI had to be adapted and evaluated by additional track testing.
For Audi Sport Team Joest, the 77th edition of the endurance classic will start at 2:30 pm on Monday, June 8, with scrutineering in downtown Le Mans. On Wednesday night, a 6-hour free practice session is on the agenda. Qualifying will be held on Thursday night from 7 pm to 9 pm and 10 pm to 12 pm, the race will start at 3 pm on Saturday.
Audi has the chance of clinching its ninth overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, then equaling Ferrari as the runner-up on the perpetual list of the best contenders.