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  Archive of Audi R8 Race Reports/News/Photos 2002  
   
 

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

 
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  ALMS Miami  
     
 

Race Day News and Photos

 
     
 

Miami, Florida (6 Oct, 2002) - The long-delayed (from April) 'Grand Prix Americas' in Downtown Miami was not quite what the ADT/Champion Audi R8 team had hoped for in their "home" race, as a pitstop gone bad destroyed any chance of the solid finish that had looked to be on the cards early on. Johnny Herbert, who qualified and started third in the two-hour, 45-minute American Le Mans Series race, managed to work his way up to the race lead, but a black flag penalty cost the team several positions, leading ultimately to a fifth-place finish. Joest Racing's #1 Audi R8 of Frank Biela and Emanuelle Pirro took the race win, simultaneously clinching the 2002 LMP-900 Manufacturers' title for Audi.

The Miami race weekend was an abbreviated one, as the support status of the ALMS race (CART headlined) meant all practice and qualifying were held on Friday, with the race itself late on Saturday. Though Miami's skies were clear and blue, the weather was oppressively hot and humid, which made for difficult working conditions for the teams. The weather was hard on the track itself too, causing a section of newly-laid asphalt to start coming up after just half a day's practice.

Fast in early practice, the ADT/Champion Audi was not surprisingly bested by both factory Audi R8's in final qualifying, which was delayed while the track underwent repairs. But the team were optimistic for race day, Crew Chief Brad Kettler and Team Strategist Ed Wheeler having planned a single pit stop strategy, in which Herbert would stay out as long as possible before pitting for the mandatory driver change and enough fuel to finish the race.

All worked out well, as most of the leaders chose to pit during an early-race full-course caution period. Herbert stayed out, taking the lead and stretching out a 20-second lead, before finally pitting at the one hour, 23-minute point when another opportune caution period presented itself. Herbert out, Johansson in, enough fuel to last the distance and fresh Michelin rubber on the front only, and it looked to be a quick stop and back out to fight back to the lead.

But during the stop the left side wheel gun's air hose had come undone from the overhead boom, and as Johansson blasted out of the pits the left side of the rear wing caught the dangling air hose, ripping it from the overhead boom as the car departed. Nobody hurt and the wheel gun quickly replaced, but the incident was a violation of IMSA regulations, and so Johansson (unaware of the entire incident at the time) was black-flagged. The stop-and-go penalty and time lost on track meant Johansson - instead of challenging for the lead - was lucky to hold on to fifth place as the checkers fell.

Although the ADT/Champion team won the IMSA Cup as highest-finishing privateer, the fifth-place finish dropped Johnny Herbert from third to fifth in LMP-900 Drivers' points with just one race remaining.

 
     
 
Stefan Johansson swimming with the dolphins at Miami's Seaquarium

Photo Courtesy Rick Dole/ALMS

   
Stefan Johansson and Panoz's David Brabham with the Miami Seaquarium dolphin trainers

Photo Courtesy Rick Dole/ALMS

   
The Red Bull girls sure came to the right place...

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Ricky and Sigi with "Bobble-head" Johnny

Eric Nielson Photo

   
Getting ready for first practice in Miami's palm tree-lined pit lane

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Miami's Bayfront Park fountain forms a centerpiece for the downtown street circuit

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Johansson heads through the park enroute to pit lane, as a black flag stops practice

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Final pre-qualifying practice complete

Timothy Crete Photo

   
The R8 crew tows 505 through Miami city streets to the Qualifying pre-grid

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Johnny Herbert enroute to third-fastest qualifying time

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Herbert described this car-park as having been "polished" to ice-like smoothness...

Timothy Crete Photo

   
In celebration of Miami Race Week, ADT and Champion hosted a reception at the famous Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Vizcaya's famous "barge" breakwater on Biscayne Bay makes a scenic backdrop for Cigarette boats and Audi cars

Timothy Crete Photo

   
The ALMS drivers were paraded around the Miami circuit before Saturday's race

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Herbert's Audi keeps the LMP-900 field at bay as the race begins

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Herbert follows the lead duo through the narrow confines of Turn 3

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Johnny put the ADT/Champion Audi in the lead and pulled out a 20-second gap on the field prior to the team's single pit stop

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Herbert stopped under yellow for Johansson, who got fuel and fresh front Michelins...but then it all went wrong...

Timothy Crete Photo

   
After serving a black flag penalty for contact with the wheel gun air hose, Johansson tries to make up ground from fifth place as the race winds down

Timothy Crete Photo

   
Hardly content with fifth place, the R8 crew musters some good cheer as they win their eighth IMSA Cup of the season

Timothy Crete Photo

 
     
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