Ingolstadt - Audi aims for tenth “Petit Le
Mans” victory at Road Atlanta First overseas run of the diesel race
sports car Dindo Capello and Romain Dumas reinforce the Audi squad In
June Audi celebrated its tenth victory with the R18 TDI diesel race
sports car and ultra-lightweight technology in a dramatic race at the
famous Le Mans 24 Hours. Likewise, on October 1st, Audi Sport Team Joest
is aiming for the brand’s tenth triumph at the U.S. counterpart, the
“Petit Le Mans” at Road Atlanta in the state of Georgia.
Nine times Audi has won the event which
alongside the Daytona 24 Hours and the Sebring 12 Hours is the most
important endurance race in North America. From 2000 to 2005 the Audi R8
was unbeatable at the race that is run over 1000 miles or for a maximum
of ten hours. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 the Audi R10 TDI triumphed three
times in a row. After unfortunate defeats in the past two years with the
R15 TDI, Audi is set on returning to victory lane with the new R18 TDI
at Road Atlanta.
Audi Sport Team Joest is fielding
two vehicles at the first overseas event of the R18 TDI. Each
will car will have three drivers due to the length of the race.
Timo Bernhard and Marcel Fässler, who have been forming a driver
team in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) since the round
at Imola and have been on the podium twice, will be supported by
Romain Dumas. Joining Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen and
Allan McNish will be Dindo Capello - the most successful driver
of the American classic with a track record of five overall
victories (2000, 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2008).
Last year the Italian became the
victim of a strange incident. While he was leading the race an
insert in his helmet that is prescribed by the regulations came
loose and caused the fireproof balaclava to slip over his eyes.
The unscheduled pit stop cost Audi a possible victory.
Minute details could also be
crucial this year. At Le Mans Audi triumphed in June after 24
hours with an advantage of merely 13.854 seconds. At the 6-hour
race at Silverstone the fastest lap times of the top four
vehicles were within 202 thousandths of a second. And with 56
teams having submitted entries, the track at Road Atlanta will
be pretty packed, with numerous overtaking maneuvers posing a
permanent risk of body contact.
After third place at Imola and
second place at Silverstone there is just one goal for Audi at
the U.S. classic on October 1st: victory. Therefore, Audi Sport
Team Joest will already be testing on the weekend before the
race at Road Atlanta in order to set up the R18 TDI as perfectly
as possible for the special characteristics of the track and not
leave anything to chance.
Nothing was left to chance either by the
engineers from Audi Sport who developed the new diesel race sports car.
The Audi R18 TDI is packed with innovative technology - from the compact
3.7-liter V6 TDI engine with a mono-VTG charger, the full LED headlights
through to ultra-lightweight design that is becoming increasingly
important in production cars too.
Tens of thousands of spectators lining the
track at Road Atlanta will be watching the two R18 TDI cars with their
whispering V6 TDI engines. Since its inaugural round in 1998, “Petit Le
Mans” has evolved into one of North America’s biggest racing events that
is meanwhile attracting more than 100,000 fans.
Qualifying will take place on Friday
afternoon (September 30) from 15:30 to 15:45, local time; the race will
start on Saturday (October 1) at 11:30. Eurosport will broadcast the
starting phase from 17:30 to 18:30 and the final phase from 00:00 to
03:30 live. In the USA the race will be broadcast live on ESPN 3. ABC
will air a two-hour summary on Sunday (October 2) starting at 16:00