Audi aim to conquer America with the R10 TDI - Friday, July 7, 2006 at 10:23

Ingolstadt, 7 July 2006

Audi aim to conquer America with the R10 TDI

  • Diesel sportscar starts in the American Le Mans Series
  • Two races within 7 days
  • Premiere for new circuit close to Salt Lake City
    Following the historical début victory for a diesel car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi now aims to conquer America with the revolutionary R10 TDI: Starting with the race at Salt Lake City (US state of Utah) on 15 July, Team Audi Sport North America will enter a pair of Audi R10 TDI prototypes, driven by Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro and Dindo Capello/Allan McNish, in the world’s most popular sportscar series.
    The two Audi R10 TDI prototypes were completely stripped and rebuilt after the 24-hour race at Le Mans before being flown to the USA after a short function test. The cars were collected by Team Audi Sport North America and taken directly to Salt Lake City. The brace of R10 TDI prototypes will be prepared between US races at Champion, the world’s largest Audi dealer in Pompano Beach (Florida). The nucleus of the team originates from Champion Racing. Dave Maraj’s team receives support from the successful Le Mans race team, which knows the Audi R10 TDI inside and out.
    For the Audi R10 TDI, which was developed specifically for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the significantly shorter race tracks of the American Le Mans Series bring a new challenge; particularly as the character of the North American circuits differ completely from Le Mans.
    The Audi Sport technicians expect that the R10 TDI, which produces about 650 hp, will be able to exploit the advantages of TDI Technology – superior efficiency, lower fuel consumption, enormous torque and exceptional power – also on the majority of the US circuits. The suspension and aerodynamics of the modern R10 TDI are also superior to its predecessor the R8, which celebrated its 50th overall victory in the American Le Mans Series at its final race at Lime Rock.
    The Audi R10 TDI prototype’s first race after Le Mans takes place at Miller Motorsports Park – a completely new race track which was built about 30 miles west of Salt Lake City and on which the fifth round of the American Le Mans Series, and first international motor race, will be held. At a length of 4.5 miles (7.242 kilometres) it is the longest permanent race track in North America. The start-finish straight alone is one kilometre long.
    Only one week after the race at Salt Lake City the next round of American Le Mans Series (US state of Oregon) is staged. Some of the Audi drivers are planning to drive with motorbikes from Salt Lake City to Portland.
    Both races will be started on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. local time (Sunday 2 a.m. German local time) and last 2:45 hours. Dindo Capello and Allan McNish lead the LM P1 class in the American Le Mans Series after collecting maximum points from four wins in as many races. The defending Champions Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro concentrated solely on development of the Audi R10 TDI during the run up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and start for the first time in the American Le Mans Series since Sebring’s season opener.
    Quotes before the races at Salt Lake City and Portland
    Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
    "After the successful conclusion of the Audi R8 era, we now attempt to conquer America with the R10 TDI. We start on a completely new race circuit, on which everybody starts afresh. We are well prepared and are intrigued to see just how the R10 TDI, which was built specifically for Le Mans, performs on other types of race track. Our target is that the R10 TDI is competitive on every type of circuit – exactly like the R8 was. The entire team is working towards this.”
    Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #1): "I’m delighted to be driving in the American Le Mans Series again – and especially with the Audi R10 TDI. It’s always something special to drive a new car. Since we sat out three races Emanuele and I are able to drive completely without pressure: We are not title contenders, so we are looking to score some good individual results. I’m really looking forward to the new circuit at Salt Lake City. Everything that I’ve seen and heard about it up till now has been very promising. We won at Portland last year, which was an important step towards winning the championship. The circuit looks relatively simple, but, for me as a driver is a huge amount of fun.”
    Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): "It’s great to be returning to the American Le Mans Series. I can hardly wait to show our Audi R10 TDI to the American fans. I’m particularly looking forward to the race at Salt Lake City. I was at the new circuit last year for the presentation. The facility is incredible and the interest shown by the people in the city for the race is enormous. Frank and I won at Portland in 2005. This year it’s rather more a question of helping Allan and Dindo in the title fight and to do our bit so that we also win the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championship.”
    Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Salt Lake City is a new circuit – the longest in the whole of America. None of us know it yet. I think it’s a fantastic location for the first race of our R10 TDI after the win at Le Mans. It should be very hot there – which I prefer to races in the cold. The long start-finish straight and the fast corners should suit the R10 TDI extremely well. Portland is a great circuit of which I have good memories. I like the town and the track. It is one of the most picturesque races that I know in America.”
    Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Everybody in the team is excited about the race it Salt Lake City because the R10 TDI returns to North America. We’ve had a lot of success since Sebring with the ‘old’ R8. However, that’s all history now, the future lies in the R10 TDI. When I look at the circuit layout, the R10 TDI should really exploit the advantages of the diesel engine at Salt Lake City. But we’ll only really know when we drive there. It should be incredibly hot – similar to Dallas in 2000. At that time Audi coped with the heat better than our competitors. Portland is one of my favourite places in North America, which I also have fond memories of: In 2000, Dindo and I celebrated an important win there on the way to the championship title – including pole position and fastest race lap. I hope we can repeat everything exactly to the final detail.”
    Dave Maraj (Team Director Team Audi Sport North America): "It was fantastic to end the R8s incredible career with a victory. Now we have to familiarise ourselves with the R10 TDI, which will be a huge change and hard work. A new era starts for us. We didn’t have a lot of time between Lime Rock and Salt Lake City to swap the entire stock of R8 spare parts for R10 TDI components in the trucks and to collect the cars and take them to Salt Lake City. But that’s racing. We are looking forward to the new challenge.”
    The schedule at Salt Lake City
    Thursday, 13 July
    18:30 – 20:30 Test
    Friday, 14 July
    11:00 – 12:00 Free Practice
    15:00 – 16:00 Free Practice
    16:10 – 16:30 Qualifying (GT1 / GT2)
    16:40 – 17:00 Qualifying (LM P1 / LM P2)
    Saturday, 15 July
    11:00 – 11:30 Warm-up
    18:00 – 20:45 Race

    The schedule at Portland
    Thursday, 20 July
    12:30 – 14:30 Test
    Friday, 21 July
    10:00 – 11:00 Free Practice
    14:25 – 15:25 Free Practice
    15:35 – 15:55 Qualifying (GT1 / GT2)
    16:05 – 16:25 Qualifying (LM P1 / LM P2)
    Saturday, 22 July
    12:15 – 12:40 Warm-up
    18:00 – 20:45 Race