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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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  Pre-season Michelin Tire Testing at Sebring  
  SEBRING MICHELIN TIRE TEST NETS UNOFFICIAL RECORD  
 

TOM KRISTENSEN SHAVES NEARLY TWO SECONDS FROM SEBRING RECORD

 
     
 

Champion Racing's latest Audi R8 prototype had its first outing 15-17 January at the Michelin Tire tests at Sebring International Raceway. The car, which Champion took official delivery of following these tests, was piloted primarily by Audi Sport driver Tom Kristensen, who is well familiar with this R8 variant, having driven one throughout the 2001 ALMS season, and Audi Sport engineers were present to oversee the testing.

The tire testing involved many, many sets of various types of Michelin rubber being fitted for a large number of runs over the three days at Sebring. The first day started out quite dark and rainy, though clearing later in the day.
The second day was mostly clear and bright, and Kristensen took advantage of weather and tires to reel off a stunning 1:46.971 lap over Sebring's full 3.7-mile circuit to unofficially take nearly two full seconds off the existing track record, set by fellow Audi Sport driver Frank Biela in qualifying for the 2000 12 Hours. Much of the Sebring circuit has been repaved since last year's 12 Hours, which certainly contributed to the low lap times set by all cars present for these tests.

Three-time Sebring winner Andy Wallace, who drove Champion's previous-generation R8 throughout the 2001 ALMS season partnered by Johnny Herbert, did stints in the new car on both the second and third days, including several long runs on the third day. Asked how this R8 compared to his 2001 ride, Andy commented that the new car - which outwardly looks quite similar to the previous car - is actually a very different experience to drive.

Michelin testing complete, our new Audi R8 will be painted Champion white, and given its colorful trademark Dave Schnorr livery, while being thoroughly prepared for the 2002 American Le Mans Series season-opener at the 50th-Anniversary Sebring 12 Hours.

 
     
 
Michelin and Audi Sport Engineers oversaw the Sebring tests, where Champion's crew got their first taste of our latest R8
   
Tom Kristensen, who has vast experience in this car, did the bulk of the driving during the tests
 
   
Who says telemetry isn't fun?
   
This Certified Pre-Owned Audi R8 was only driven on weekends...
   
Tom prepares for another grueling day's testing
   
Just part of one morning's inventory of Michelin rubber, ready for testing
   
This innocent bystander was pressed into car cleaning duty...
   
Andy drove several extended runs to complete the Sebring tests
   
Andy Wallace takes a turn in Champion's latest R8
   
Kristensen spares a wave while negotiating the Hairpin
 
     
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