December 6, 2000

Audi Returns to Le Mans in 2001

AUDI AG will continue its successful motorsport involvement in the 2001 season, competing at the Le Mans 24 Hour race and in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with two modified Audi R8 racing sportscars.

"I am delighted that we will tackle Le Mans and the ALMS again next year," declares Head of Audi Sport, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "The Le Mans classic is a very special challenge which becomes even bigger any time you go there."

The Audi R8 secured a clear triple victory at the Le Mans 24 Hour race this year and won the American Le Mans Series. Readers of a German specialist magazine voted the R8 "Sportscar of the Year". In the UK, Audi received an award this weekend for its technical excellence in motor racing in the past decades. The Audi R8 will undergo detail modifications for the next season. "This year's vehicle concept still has a lot of potential that we will capitalise on by intensive fine tuning," says Dr Ullrich. "We will endeavour to continue the winning performances of the Audi R8 next year."

At the Le Mans 24 Hours on the 16/17 June, 2001, the two Audi R8s will again be run by Audi Sport Team Joest. With Laurent Aiello, Michele Alboreto, Frank Biela, Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen, and Emanuelle Pirro, a line-up of experienced sportscar drivers, who belonged to the victorious Audi Le Mans squad this year, will again drive for Audi.

In the American Le Mans Series Biela, Capello, Kristensen, and Pirro will man the Audi cockpits. For the long distance classics in Sebring and Road Atlanta, Aiello and Alboreto will join forces with the Team Audi Sport North America.

"The US market is especially important for Audi," explains Dr Ullrich. "The feedback after our successes in the ALMS is extremely positive. Therefore, it is logical for Audi of America to continue their engagement by trying to defend the title." The season-opener of the ALMS takes place on 4 March at Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.