• Audi Sport Team Joest enters two Audi R10 TDI cars in LMS
• ALMS Champions Capello/McNish spearhead programme
• Double programme for DTM stars Prémat and Rockenfeller
Ingolstadt – AÚDI AG enters the 2008 motorsport season and Le Mans Series (LMS) wîth 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 l'Ouest (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 Úllrich. 'We are absolutely delighted that we have been able to create a base together wîth 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 Joest's 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 wîth 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 Úllrich. '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.Source - Audi
Facts about Audi's eighth victory at Le Mans
• Audi TDI Power remains unbeaten at Le Mans
• First Le Mans appearance wîth second-generation bio fuel
• Audi R10 TDI achieves new distance record
Ingolstadt/Le Mans – At one of the most exciting and fastest races in Le Mans history, AÚDI AG clinched another triumph at what is arguably the world's toughest motor race.
For Audi, this marked the eighth Le Mans triumph in just ten races. This puts Audi in third place – just one victory short of Ferrari – on the perpetual list of winners of the endurance classic which has been staged since 1923.
In its third running at Le Mans, the Audi R10 TDI again remained unbeaten. Audi continues to be the only manufacturer to have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans wîth a diesel-powered vehicle.
Le Mans 2008 marked the Audi R10 TDI's 29th race and the 16th victory of AÚDI AG's diesel-powered sportscar.
In 2008, the victorious Audi R10 TDI ran wîth second-generation bio fuel for the first time: In addition to the well-known GTL components, a small amount of BTL (Biomass-to-Liquids) was added to the Shell V-Power Diesel fuel. (concept carz)
5,192.649 kilometres (381 laps) were completed by Dindo Capello, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen in the victorious Audi R10 TDI (chassis number 204) in the race, setting a new record for the current circuit version.
With an average speed of 216.300 kph the 76th running of the 24 Hour of Le Mans was the fifth-quickest in the event's history and the fastest since the Hunaudières straight was slowed by adding two chicanes in 1990.
The fastest race lap of the Audi R10 TDI was set by Alexandre Prémat on Saturday afternoon on lap 75 wîth a time of 3m 23.939s (average: 240.584 kph), which was 3.237 seconds less than Allan McNish's fastest lap from last year.
The fastest lap an Audi R10 TDI has ever achieved at Le Mans so far was driven by Allan McNish in Saturday morning's warm-up at 3m 23.319s (average: 241.317 kph).
Only for the fifth time in the Le Mans 24 Hours' total history, and for the first time in 20 years, a vehicle marked as car #2 won the event.
During the race, four different cars were running at the front, wîth the lead changing 25 times altogether. The Audi R10 TDI that ultimately won the race led the field for 178 of the 381 laps – more than any other car.
Of the 55 vehicles that had started from the grid, 19 retired. Audi Sport Team Joest finished the race wîth all three Audi R10 TDI cars.
The victorious Audi R10 TDI spent just 31 minutes and 56 seconds in the pits. The vehicle pitted a total of 32 times – thanks to the fuel-efficient TDI engine, the number of pit stops was four lower than that of the second-placed Peugeot – and not a single one was an unscheduled stop. 20 times the tyres were changed. The winning car did not encounter a single technical problem.
One tank of Shell V-Power Diesel took the Audi drivers over a distance of twelve laps – one more than their rivals from the Peugeot camp. On average, the engine's fuel consumption was just 45.56 litres per 100 kilometres.
There were only eight driver changes wîth the winning car. The longest stint was driven by Allan McNish: from 6:11 to 9:31 a.m., the Scotsman was at the wheel of the Audi R10 TDI for a solid 3 hours and 20 minutes.
Tom Kristensen celebrated his eighth victory at Le Mans, thus extending his previous record. For Allan McNish, this was the second Le Mans triumph after 1998 and the first wîth Audi. Dindo Capello won for the third time. For the trio, this marked the first joint success achieved in their third joint race.
On race day, the average age of the victorious drivers' squad was 40.3 years. Dindo Capello celebrated his 44th birthday on the Tuesday following the Le Mans victory. Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen turns 41 on 7 July, Allan McNish 39 in December.
In summary, this was the 26th Le Mans appearance of a German car manufacturer, the 50th of an open cockpit sportscar and the 17th for Michelin, Audi's tyre partner, who has not been beaten at Le Mans since 1998.
For the team around Reinhold Joest, this was the tenth triumph at Le Mans, for Audi Sport Team Joest, the sixth.
Audi Technology was victorious at Le Mans for the ninth consecutive time. Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Úllrich was responsible for all nine victoriesSource - Audi
Commanding 1-2 victory for Audi at Mid-Ohio
Audi Sport North America's two Audi R10 TDI prototypes were in a class of their own in round six of the American Le Mans series at Mid-Ohio (Ú.S. state of Ohio). Lucas Luhr/Marco Werner and Dindo Capello/Emanuele Pirro achieved a comanding 1-2 victory for Audi – on a track which in the past favoured the lighter LM P2 cars and on which Audi last scored an overall victory in 2004.
Particularly impressive was the victory of the two Germans Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner. They led 107 of the 111 laps. After the start, Werner needed just five laps to pass the four Acura/Honda and Porsche cars which had started in front of him. The German set a new race lap record on lap seven and handed over the R10 TDI to team-mate Lucas Luhr in first position after 50 laps. Luhr defended the lead until the finish.
Four caution periods wiped out the advantage of the #2 Audi, but each time Luhr was able to pull away from the rest of the field after the re-start – and this despite the fact he completed lmost two hours on just one set of tyres.
Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro also showed a strong performance: Capello worked his way from seventh on the grid to second position in just 18 minutes giving Audi a early 1-2 lead. Despite contact whith a GT2 car, which he was not responsible for, and which resulted in a spin dropping him temporarily to third place, Capello handed the Audi R10 TDI over to Emanuele Pirro in second position.
The decision to change tyres a second time cost the #1 R10 TDI the second place. After the last caution period, however, Pirro had no problems to overtake Romain Dumas in the Porsche RS Spyder thus giving Audi a perfect double victory.
For the Audi R10 TDI it was the sixth 1-2 victory and the 17th overall success since its début in March 2006. Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner extended their lead in the LM P1 Drivers' Championship wîth their fifth victory in six races. With three overall victories, Audi is the most successful brand in the first half of the season. The second half of the American Le Mans Series begins on 9 August at Road America (the Ú.S. state of Wisconsin).
Quotes after the race at Mid-Ohio
Dr Wolfgang Úllrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): 'It was a perfect performance today, everything went so well. The key factor was that both cars had a good and consistent speed. We also had a good strategy regarding the fuel consumption – even if this was somewhat eased by the caution periods. I'm glad that my first visit to a race in the Ú.S. since quite a while was rewarded wîth a 1-2 victory. I promise, I'll come also to the next race ...'
Lucas Luhr (Audi R10 TDI #2): 'It was a perfect day for Audi! It looks like then, if the boss is there, everything goes well. He should come over to some more races ... Seriously: I'm super-happy. Our car engineer and the whole team did a great job. The strategy was perfect. First, I had a bit of doubt. But when I did not see any car behind me two laps after the first caution period I knew that nobody would catch us today. Marco (Werner) drove a fantastic first stint. My thanks go to Audi Sport North America, Team Champion and everybody at home in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.'
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): 'A fantastic Audi day and a fine double victory! I started to believe in it after yesterday's qualifying, when the gap to the front was quite small, which usually means we are well sorted for the race. This was really the case today. Lucas (Luhr) completed his stint on one set of tyres which is not easy. This means that the set-up of our R10 TDI was perfect. The timing of the pit stops was also good. Today, everything fitted together. We are happy – thanks to the whole Audi team.'
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): 'I think I did a very good stint recovering the gap we had. I was very confident. Únfortunately I was touched by a GT car and sent into a spin. This was really bad luck. The yellow flags helped quite a lot to recover again. Anyway: 1-2 is a great result for Audi, we deserved this already at Lime Rock, but fortunately we got it here.'
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): 'This was a good race for us. As always when the gap in qualifying is not so big we have a very good car for the race. We had a great 1-2 for Audi and played a good team strategy together over the radio. Of course sometimes it would be nice to have a 2-1 instead of a 1-2 ... But after the bad luck we had in the last races we can go home wîth a big smile.'
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): 'After yesterday's qualifying I did expect a podium finish, but not such a dominant performance. I want to congratulate the whole team and the drivers for a fantastic job. It was a great team effort!'Source - Audi
Jacques Villeneuve had made his first appearance at Le Mans in 2007 Unfortunately there was just no competing with the Audis However as he returned to the famous French classic the Canadian appeared...