Compared to last year, the Infineon Audi R8 has been modified in
detail. When making even minor modifications, the Audi engineers
always had to have in their minds the very special demands of Le
Mans. No modification could affect the reliability for which the Audi
sportscar is known since 1999.
Six drivers are lined up by Audi, including newcomer Christian
Pescatori. “Christian has a lot of experience and has also achieved a
lot of successes in sportscar racing”, says Dr Ullrich. Last year, the the
29-year-old Italian won the Sportscar World Cup, and Le Mans will not
be new to him: In 1997 and 1999, Pescatori raced at the circuit located
south-west from Paris. “Also decisive for the driver choice was
Christian´s height, which compares perfectly to his team mates”,
declares Dr Ullrich. “Especially when driving endurance races, this is
an important factor.”
Pescatori will share the cockpit of the No.2 Infineon Audi R8 with
Laurent Aiello and Rinaldo Capello. Defending champions Frank
Biela, Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro will drive the No.1 sister
The two Audi customer teams, Champion and Johansson, have also
combined strong driver line-ups. Despite entering last year´s Audi R8
sportscars, both teams proved to be real contenders for the Le Mans
victory during May´s pre-testing session. Johnny Herbert, Ralf
Kelleners and Didier Theys will drive the No.3 Champion Audi R8. The
No.4 Audi R8 entered by the Johansson team, will be shared by Tom
Coronel, Stefan Johansson and Patrick Lemarie.
For the Audi customer teams, the race week at Le Mans starts off with
the technical scrutineering on Monday in the town centre of Le Mans.
The two Infineon Audi R8 sportscars will be examined by the technical
commissioners of the ACO on Tuesday, 0830 hrs.
The action on the track starts on Wednesday and Thursday, with two 4-
hour qualifying sessions deciding who will start from pole position.
Shortly before the start on Saturday at 1600 hrs, Dr Franz Josef
Paefgen, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, will hand
the Le Mans challenge cup over to the Automobile Club de l´Ouest
(ACO) - hoping, to take it back to Ingolstadt about 24 hours later. In
between, however, there are about 3000 extremely hard miles -
matching almost the distance of a complete Formula One season.