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  Archive of Audi R8 Race Reports/News/Photos 2005  

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

  Team ADT Champion Racing scores first victory at the 12 hours of Sebring race  

SEBRING, Fl.  (March 19, 2005) – Team ADT Champion Racing led, dominated and succeeded in winning one of the most prestigious sports car races in the world, the 12 Hours of Sebring.  The “privateer” team from Pompano Beach, Florida has been second the last three years and was 3rd in 2001, their inaugural year.  This year the team commanded the win from start to finish and in doing so continued the winning streak for the Audi R8 at Sebring.  This dominating win by Team ADT Champion Racing marks the sixth consecutive victory for the Audi R8 at Sebring as well as the closest racing finish in the history of the 53-year old race with a 6.365 second finish between the 1st and 2nd place cars.           


“I’m very proud of the whole team, the drivers, the crew, even the caterers,” said Dave Maraj, Owner of Champion Racing.  “The cars are unbelievable.  Even if they are six years old they are still unbelievable.  Thank you Audi.” 

Pole sitter JJ Lehto led the field of 39 cars today at the season opener of the 10 race American Le Mans Series.  When the green flag was dropped at 10:45 am both Audi R8 cars charged into Turn 1 with Pirro edging out Lehto for the lead.  Pirro held the lead until he had contact with a slower car, not once but twice during his first stint.  “It was an eventful first stint as a lot of things happened,” commented Pirro.  “I got two black flags which honestly, I did not deserve, especially the first time.  The guy was very wide and really left me a lot of room and then for some reason he shut the door on me.  He was off-line and therefore you have to go for it.”  Pirro was black flagged and served a “stop and go” penalty for each instance.          

Throughout the 12 hour race the Audi R8s performed flawlessly leaving it up to the drivers and pit crews to decide who would be victorious.  Hour after hour the two teams jockeyed for position often pitting at the same time.  “I think this is indicative of how the season will go,” said Rod Bymaster, Manager Audi Sport North America.  “Those two cars are going to go at each other for 10 races and it’s going to be a real interesting season from that perspective because the drivers in both cars are extremely competitive and they are going to want to win.”  


In the last 1˝ hours of the race, the Audis were a scant 6 seconds to 24 seconds apart.  Again, any changes in order were either going to be determined by the driver or the pit stop.  Both teams performed their pit stops well and the order remained the same.  Tom Kristensen with teammates JJ Lehto and Marco Werner would cross the finish line just seconds ahead of the sister car.  Dave Maraj and Team ADT Champion Racing finally achieved the coveted top tier of the podium.  Let the celebrations begin…

The second round of the American Le Mans Series takes place April 15-17 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.  The two-hour, 45-minute timed race will be televised live by CBS Sports.  The American Le Mans Series Radio Web, www.radiolemans.com, will also supply flag to flag coverage. 



JJ Lehto (Fin). Age: 39. Born: Espoo, Finland. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:

2-time 12 Hours of Sebring winner (1999 and 2005)

“I’m so glad that I was able to give Dave Maraj his first Sebring win.  I’ve been with them now for two years, this year going on three, and we have been close many, many times here so it was just so perfect.  The team has grown so much since I joined them in 2003.  They are getting bigger, better, more professional.  It’s just so nice to see the whole progress they have been able to make and they really proved that they can be factory level.  They brought two highly competitive cars here and they ran perfectly.  They were so professional.  Just what you would expect from this team.”


Marco Werner (D). Age: 38. Born: Dortmund, Germany. Lives: Kreuzlingen, Switzerland:

2-time 12 Hours of Sebring winner (2003 and 2005)

“The first win was important for me but this second win is important for the team.  I’m very happy that we did it for Champion Racing and for Audi again.  Everybody was great today and the car and tires were perfect.  I think we did everything in the right way and that’s the way you win.”


Tom Kristensen (Den). Age: 37. Born: Hobro, Denmark. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:

3-time 12 Hours of Sebring winner (1999, 2000, 2005)

“It’s Champion’s first win.  That’s all that matters.  We had a sterling battle and the No. 2 car can be just as proud for being 2nd as we are for winning it.  It was really tough and in the end the battle I had with Allan McNish was really good.  I just stayed focused and we got the win.”




Frank Biela (D). Age: 40. Born: Neuss, Germany. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco: 

12 Hours of Sebring – seventh career appearance including 2005

“I think it’s a very good and important result for the team.  It was a great race, very competitive and good for the fans.  At the end of the day there is only one car that can win and that’s it.  Maybe we have another go next year.  The performance of the guys was great.  There were no problems.  It should be a very exciting season.”


Emanuele Pirro (It). Age: 43. Born: Rome, Italy. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:

12 Hours of Sebring – seventh career appearance including 2005

“I’m very happy for ADT Champion Racing for their 1-2 finish at their home race.  I’m happy because we produced an incredibly competitive race.  And I’m happy because the car No.2 car with new crew and new driver formation proved to be as competitive as the established car No. 1.  It looks very good for the future.”   


Allan McNish (GB). Age: 35. Born: Dumfries, Scotland. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:

12 Hours of Sebring – third career appearance including 2005

“It was a fantastic result for Champion Racing, a 1-2 finish.  It’s Champion’s first Sebring victory and I’m proud to be a part of it.  It was a hard fight between the two cars for all 12 hours and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”


Brad Kettler, Technical Director, Team ADT Champion Racing.  “The way that the cars finished as well as they did is a testament to what Dave Maraj has done.  They ran flawlessly all day long.  Those two cars came out of Champion Racing and that just goes to show you the level of cars that we can build there and the way we can run them.  This two-car team could have beaten any team in the world today.  They were incredible.  It was just a little bit of tactic and a little bit of experience that made the difference.  . ”


Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport.  “This was a big achievement today.  It was a very special race today because it was very tough to the very end.  I’m very happy for Champion Racing.  They’ve been fighting for it for so long and they deserved this victory for sure.” 


       DRIVERS                                       CLASS         TEAM                                  DIFF.

1)  J.Lehto/M.Werner/T.Kristensen       LMP1        ADT Champion Racing                  

2)  E.Pirro/F.Biela/A.McNish                 LMP1        ADT Champion Racing           6.365

3) J.Weaver/A.Wallace/B.Leitzinger         LMP1         Dyson Racing                         20 laps

4) D.Brabham/D.Turner/S.Ortelli                GT1         Aston Martin                            23 laps

5)  R.Fellows/J.O’Connell/J.Magnussen     GT1         Corvette Racing                        24 laps


Margin of victory:  6.365

Time of Race:  12:01:49.211

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