Sebring, March 7, 2002
Audi contests the Le Mans 24 Hour race on 15/16 June with three "works"
cars run by Audi Sport Team Joest and Audi Sport North America. The three
silver Infineon Audi R8s will fly the extra colours of black, red and yellow
taken from the German flag, like at the triple victory of 2000.
The Le Mans countdown begins for Audi on 16 March with the 12 Hours of
Sebring. The season-opening round of the American Le Mans Series
(ALMS) is at the same time the first serious test for the 2002-spec Infineon
Audi R8, which despite undergoing minor changes to detail, looks exactly
the same as last year´s car at first glance. The bodywork features only
subtle changes which are barely visible to an expert. However, under the
bodywork the most successful contemporary racing sportscar was refined
in many details. With success: "The tests with the modified R8 have shown
that we have uncovered potential, and now we just have to use it in the
race," explains Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.
The 12 Hours of Sebring is for Audi an important indicator of where it
stands prior to the season highlight at Le Mans. "We´ll see at Sebring how
well the cars work and where we stand compared to our competitors," says
Dr Ullrich. Competition in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is stronger
than ever: 60 sportscars contest the race in Sebring, 29 of which are Le
Mans prototypes (LMP). The fact that the field for the season-opener is
larger than at Le Mans - and on a circuit not even half the length - makes
the challenge for the drivers even more delicate.
Frank Biela, Tom Kristensen, Emanuele Pirro and Rinaldo Capello, Johnny
Herbert, Christian Pescatori compete at Sebring with the two works cars of
Audi Sport North America. The Audi R8 run by the American Champion
Team also features a strong driver line-up: Stefan Johansson and Andy
Wallace have already won the 12 hour classic twice. Jan Lammers looks
back on wins at Le Mans and Daytona and is keen to secure his third long-
distance classic at his debut race in an Audi R8.