Audi Starts with Diesel Sportscars in Europe
Ingolstadt AUDI AG enters the 2008 motorsport season and Le Mans Series (LMS) with a high-calibre driving squad and the most successful Le Mans team ever. Audi Sport Team Joest enters two of the latest generation Audi R10 TDI for Dindo Capello (Italy) and Allan McNish (Scotland) and Alexandre Prémat (France) and Mike Rockenfeller (Germany) in every race of the Automobile Club de lOuest (ACO) organised endurance championship.
For the first time since entering endurance racing exactly ten years ago Audi now contests a European based sportscar series as a factory team. “Previously the European fans have only been able to see the R10 TDI in action at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. “We are absolutely delighted that we have been able to create a base together with the ACO over the last few months which will see our diesel sportscars on the grids in the classical European 1000-kilometre races. The Le Mans Series already boasted an extremely attractive field last year. The Audi factory involvement surely will further increase the value of the championship.
Every round of the European based Le Mans Series is between five and six hours in length and are therefore genuine endurance races in which speed, reliability and low fuel consumption are decisive all criteria that are of particular importance for Audi.
Audi Sport Team Joest enters two third-generation Audi R10 TDI prototypes in the Le Mans Series which will also compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 14/15 June 2008. Reinhold Joests team has been a reliable partner of Audi Sport for than ten years and has already scored five Le Mans wins and four American Le Mans Series titles together with Audi.
High-calibre drivers on the grid
Audi fields defending ALMS Champions Dindo Capello (43) and Allan McNish (38) in the fight for the championship title in Europe. With nine overall victories and two championship titles in succession, the two seasoned campaigners formed the most successful driver pairing in the ALMS over the previous two years. A strong duo also occupies the second cockpit: Alexandre Prémat (25) and Mike Rockenfeller (24) contest the Le Mans Series parallel to their DTM programme. The youngsters impressed at the wheel of the R10 TDI in testing in 2007.
“With Audi Sport Team Joest and our mix of seasoned campaigners and young drivers we should be well prepared for the tough task awaiting us in the Le Mans Series, says Dr Ullrich. “Our target is clear: We want to take the title to Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm and show who designs and builds the best sportscar and the best diesel engines.
The season opener is held on 6 April at Barcelona (Spain). A total of five races are scheduled, including the endurance classics at Monza (Italy), Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Silverstone (Great Britain) and at the Nürburgring (Germany). The venue of a possible sixth race is still to be confirmed.