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  Archive of Audi R8 Race Reports/News/Photos 2001  

Audi R8  2001  -  2002  -  2003  -  2004  -  2005  -  2006

Champion Racing -  Le Mans
  Champion Audi begins race preps at le mans  

Saturday, 9 June - The Champion Racing Audi R8 team is on site at Le Mans for the 2001 running of the historic 24 Hours. Although the Build Team had been in Germany preparing our car for more than a week, the Support Team arrived in France on Thursday the 7th. After arriving at Paris' Charles de Gaule airport, the team traveled to Le Mans via TGV train. With the car and Build Team due to arrive late Friday, we set to work preparing our garage space; laying the floor, building the walls and work areas and setting up work lighting.

The garages at Le Mans are long and narrow - the front opens on pit lane, and the car transporters back up to the rear opening. Between each of the garages is a metal screen removable wall, and multi-car teams take down these walls to give more continuous workspace. Our single garage unit (fourth from Pit Out) is sufficient for our needs, and we've transformed it into a reasonably comfortable place to work for the next week. Right now we can work on parts of the car out in Pit Lane, but once the track action starts all of that must be moved inside. There is a white line just outside the front garage door, and this is considered the "pit wall". Only designated over-the-wall pit crew can cross the line and actually be in the pit lane. Because only four people are allowed to work on the car during pit stops, the car has been made very easy to maneuver into the garage, so that the whole crew can work on it when needed.

As of Saturday morning the entire R8 crew is on hand, and serious preparations have begun on the car. We need several sets of spare bodywork for this event, so our paint and body crew, along with graphics man Dave Schnorr have been hard at work preparing all the identical sets of bodywork in the trademark Champion livery. We want to look our best, because Champion is first-up for official Scrutineering on Monday, beginning at 2:30pm in downtown Le Mans. Scrutineering will continue on Tuesday till all of the teams have been passed, and the first track sessions begin late next Wednesday evening, running till midnight both Wednesday and Thursday.

Friday is a non-track day, and the annual "Pit Walk" is held, where the pit lane is opened, free to the general public, and masses of people turn out to meet the teams and get a close look at all the perfectly-prepared racing machines. On Friday evening there is a parade in downtown Le Mans, where the drivers for the 24 Hours are driven through the city center with much fanfare. We'll share it all with you right here. Meanwhile, enjoy the photos below, showing some of our early preparations for Le Mans 2001...

  Siggi, Brad and Mike brainstorm... Le Mans garage - getting started Le Mans garage signs in place... Plenty of spare parts for Le Mans  
  Dave Schnorr applies The Colors... Washing the trucks...      
  Setting up the fuel rig Craig Boone works on the fuel rig Now how'd we get this in here? Champion's hospitality area  
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