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  Archive of Audi R8 Race Reports/News/Photos 2004  

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


ADT/Champion Racing - Infineon Raceway Preview


(including photos from Friday testing)

Sonoma, CA. (July 14, 2004) - Team ADT Champion Racing is on a winning streak after having won the last two races in the American Le Mans Series. This weekend will test Team ADT Champion Racing's "winning ways" as the crew and drivers prepare for the Grand Prix of Sonoma Presented by Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa at Infineon Raceway, July 16-18.

Last year, Finland's Lehto and Germany's Werner were driving for different teams in the ALMS, but both were behind the wheel of an Audi R8 Prototype, one of the most successful sports cars ever built. Their separate cars spent the entire event at Sonoma chasing and then ultimately being beaten by James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger in the Dyson Racing Lola-MG. The win ranks as one of the greatest upsets in sports car racing history and was the first time that a car from the second Prototype class had taken an overall race win in the ALMS.

This year, Lehto and Werner are teammates with ADT Champion Racing, again driving an Audi R8. They finished second in the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and then scored back-to-back wins in the two most recent ALMS events at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Lime Rock Park. They are now racing head-to-head for overall race wins with the Dyson team as off-season rule changes moved the Lola into the top LMP1 class

Infineon Raceway's 2.52-mile, twisting circuit suits the smaller Lola very well, but after last week's win at a similar track [Lime Rock Park] the team and drivers feel they can win again. In addition to the regular #38 Audi R8 being run on the track, the team will also test an additional Audi R8. The #2 R8 is the car Team ADT Champion Racing competed with during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The goal of testing this car is to make sure it's ready for competition if and when needed.

Also different this weekend will be a new form of qualifying, "single-car" qualifying versus cars in similar classes qualifying during twenty-minute sessions.

The new qualifying format, which is in a one-race trial at Sonoma, is designed to increase the drama of competition for the New Century Mortgage FastQual Award by giving drivers more of an opportunity to post their best lap times on a track clear of traffic.

However, unlike single-car qualifying formats used in many other racing series, the format for the American Le Mans Series will have multiple cars on the track at the same time, dispatched individually at specific intervals timed to maximize the opportunity for each car to have clear track.

The cars will be lined up for qualifying in reverse order of the fastest lap achieved by each car in the practice session immediately prior to qualifying. The fastest cars will therefore be placed at the end of the line, building drama during the qualifying session while drivers compete for the overall pole as well as individual class poles. Each car will get a total of four laps on the track during the qualifying session, including its out lap, two flying laps and its in lap.

The Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma will get the green flag at 11:00 a.m. (PDT) on Sunday, July 18, and will be televised live in North America by CBS Sports from 3-5 (EDT). In Europe, MotorsTV will have live coverage as well. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

Marco Werner (Germany). "This is another Dyson track and they had the win there last year. It's going to be another tough track for us but since we are testing two cars this weekend, I hope we are more prepared for the race. We saw that teamwork was important to us [at Lime Rock] so I'm happy to be part of a team like Champion because they have such excellent teamwork."

JJ Lehto (Finland). "This weekend will be just like the one at Lime Rock-the Dyson cars have the advantage because they are lighter and therefore better in the corners. Infineon Raceway is very windy and hilly which is better for them than for us. But we prevailed at Lime Rock so I think we can do it again."

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