POMPANO BEACH, FL. (August 15, 2005) – The points battle in the American Le Mans Series LMP1 prototype category is tightening up with only four races left in the 2005 schedule. This weekend’s Generac 500 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 19-21, will play a pivotal role for Team ADT Champion Racing as the two car Audi R8 team continues their quest for the Driver’s, Team and Manufacturer’s Championship.
Team ADT Champion Racing drivers Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela in the No. 2 Champion Audi R8 lead Andy Wallace from Dyson Racing by 11 points. Wallace’s teammate, Chris Dyson is 3 points back of Wallace in the No. 20 Lola. Champion Racing's sister car piloted by Marco Werner and JJ Lehto, defending ALMS Driver Champions in the No. 1 Audi, have 87 points and are followed by Dyson's James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger with 85 points.
In addition to victories in the last two ALMS rounds (Infineon and Portland), Pirro and Biela have finished on every podium this season. On the flip side is Lehto and Werner who have a class-high three victories but also posted a DNF at Portland while finishing off the podium at Mid-Ohio.
"Initially being behind the lead car and trying to catch up, we felt some pressure but not now," said Biela, who won the drivers title with Werner in 2002. "Emanuele and I have been in this situation before so we know to handle the pressure. We had pressure earlier in the year when we first returned and now it is not so much."
As the season has progressed, the entire crew of the No. 2 Champion Audi has grown in confidence. It ranges from the drivers to team managers and crewmen. Pirro is a strong believer in momentum, and it'd be tough to find a team that has more of it than Pirro and Biela's.
"Our target and aim this year was trying to win the Championship, and I know that you only win it by leading after the last race," Pirro said. "There are four races to go so we have to do a good job like we have been doing so far. I know by experience that the win only comes at the end of the season, not the beginning. So I feel we are in a more comfortable position as compared to when we were behind."
The performance of the No. 2 car has kept Team ADT Champion Racing first in the Team standings. Currently Champion Racing and Audi are 19 points ahead of Dyson Racing in the chassis and engine manufacturer Championship.
Nevertheless, Biela and Pirro still see the No. 1 car as the main challengers for the Drivers Championship lead. Pirro said it boils down to the experience Lehto and Werner possess, along with an Audi R8 that generally is considered the best sports car produced in the past 30 years.
"I do think at the end of the day, it's the No. 1 car that we have to ultimately fight against," Biela said. "We should never underestimate the Dyson cars. The team and drivers are very competitive but I still feel the threat is greater from the No. 1 car."
The Generac 500 at Road America, Round 7 of the 2005 American Le Mans Series, is set for 3:00 p.m. EDT Aug. 21 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel. Qualifying is scheduled for 2:55 p.m. EDT Aug. 20. American Le Mans Radio, and Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.
TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #1
JJ Lehto (Fin). Age: 39. Born: Espoo, Finland. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
“Road America is the best track in North America. It’s always enjoyable to go there because it’s a great atmosphere and there are lots of fans. It is a challenge to set up the car so we need to be good at that. The team has been working very hard since Portland. The car was re-built quite a lot so we will need to make sure it is running 100% at Road America. It’s going to be a very challenging and hard race. Overtaking is hard there because it is such a fast track. Tactics will be very important at Road America."
Marco Werner (D). Age: 38. Born: Dortmund, Germany. Lives: Ermatingen, Switzerland:
“Normally Road America is a good track for us. I got the pole there two years ago. We won the race and we won the Championship there last year. I like the track a lot, especially the kink and the carousel. I hope we have good luck and we finish in front of everybody.”
TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING AUDI R8 #2
Frank Biela (D). Age: 40. Born: Neuss, Germany. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
“I have very good memories of Road America. It’s a very nice circuit, very fast. We had a good race last time we were there. I enjoy racing there and am looking forward to returning. A lot of things can happen so even though we are leading now, we still have to try very hard. Points are very important right now.”
Emanuele Pirro (It). Age: 43. Born: Rome, Italy. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
“Road America is my favorite race track in North America. I’ve been waiting for this race all year. I hope we can continue our winning way and not be disappointed this weekend.”
1) Emanuele Pirro 104
Frank Biela 104
2) Andy Wallace 93
3) Chris Dyson 90
4) Marco Werner 87
JJ Lehto 87
5) James Weaver 85
Butch Leitzinger 85
LMP1 Chassis Manufacturer
1) Audi 119
2) Lola 100
3) Zytek 10
LMP1 Engine Manufacturer
1) Audi 119
2) AER 100
3) Zytek 10
For more information on Audi motorsports visit www.audiusa.com. For more information on Champion Racing, visit www.championracing.net.