LE MANS, France. (April 25,
2004) - Team ADT Champion Racing (Pompano Beach, FL) took full
advantage of today's 8-hour Le Mans pre-test session on the
8.625-mile Circuit de La Sarthe in Le Mans, France. Marco Werner set
the third fastest time of the day with a time of 3:34.176. Today's
experience will go a long way as the team prepares for the ultimate
test and challenge, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
The newly acquired #2 Audi
R8 (previously a test car for Audi AG) underwent significant changes
when the ACO revised the aerodynamics for last year's LMP900 and
LMP675 cars. This year's Le Mans rules required an aerodynamic
change narrowing the wing from 2 meters wide to 1.8 meters wide.
Another significant change mandated by the ACO was in the reduction
of the fuel capacity from 90 liters to 80 liters.
"We really learned a lot
today, especially about the new aerodynamic package," commented Brad
Kettler, Technical Director for ADT Champion Racing. "My goal all
along was to learn as much as possible. We tried many different
set-ups and at least 9 different tire compounds. I'm quite pleased
with the data we acquired and I'm quite optimistic about the race."
The only mechanical repair
to the Audi R8 came early in the morning session when JJ Lehto was
shoved off the course by a competing LMP900 car. The mishap required
the crew to replace the gear box, something that is not allowed
during the 24 hour race in June.
JJ Lehto (Finland,
38 years, competing for his 9th time): "The car was good out of the
box, especially since this is the first time we have driven this
car. I couldn't really tell much difference from last year's car.
You need to be lucky to get a good time and I've never been lucky
here at Le Mans so I'm not discouraged. It's the same for me every
(Italy, 42 years, competing for his 7th time): "We had a really good
day because we were able to find a really great set-up. We couldn't
get a good time today because of the traffic but that's true for
everyone out there. The car was great all day as were the tires."
(Germany, 37 years, competing for his 3rd time): "I was happy with
my time until the end of today's session when we suddenly found
ourselves 1.5 seconds down. The car was really good though, and I
think we will be fine for the race in June."
Motorsports Manager, Audi of America: "The biggest improvement this
year was with the tires. Michelin really was the star today with
these new tires. That's why the car is faster this year even with
the new aerodynamic package. It's going to be a real dog fight
amongst the 4 Audi's in June.
The 72nd running of the 24
Hours of Le Mans, the world's most famous endurance race, will be
run June 12-13 at the Circuit de La Sarthe in Le Mans, France.
1. (8) McNish A./Biela F./Kaffer
P. Audi 3:32:615
2. (88) Davies J./Herbert
J./Smith G. Audi 3:32:627
3. (2) Lehto JJ/Werner M./Pirro
E. Audi 3:34:176
4. (5) Ara S./Capello R./Kristensen
T. Audi 3:34:347
5. (22) Wallace A./Brabham D.