Audi factory driver Marco Werner in profile - Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 12:09

Audi factory driver Marco Werner in profile

  • Comeback with the Audi R10 TDI in the USA
  • Two Le Mans victories and two ALMS titles with Audi
  • At home on Lake Constance in Switzerland
    The Americans were quite astounded when Marco Werner won his first ever American Le Mans Series race he contested in March 2003. "Marco who?” was the question on everybody’s lips. At that time hardly anybody had heard of the then 36-year old German.
    Werner now returns to the American Le Mans Series with the Audi R10 TDI, and the Audi factory driver is certainly no longer a ‘nobody’ in the USA. After all, he is the only driver to date to win the LM P1 class title two years in succession – and this as a rookie driver on circuits that he only knew from hearsay.
    The German is particularly keen on the race tracks in the USA. "Mosport, Elkhart Lake, Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca – these are fantastic circuits that sort the men from the boys,” enthuses Werner. "You feel at home immediately if you come from the Nürburgring-Nordschleife as I do.”
    In the meantime, Marco Werner is also at home in the cockpits of the powerful 650-hp Le Mans prototypes. When Audi gave Werner the opportunity to compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2002, he was racing in the Porsche Supercup. "Switching from a production based 911 to the Audi R8 was like jumping from a Cessna to an F-16,” remembers the Dortmund born racer. "At the first test at Magny-Cours I spent most of the time gazing into the sky under acceleration because I couldn’t keep my head down.”
    However, Marco Werner quickly got a handle on the Audi R8. A few weeks later, at his Le Mans, début he stood on the podium – goose bumps and all: "There are more people attending the podium ceremony at Le Mans than there is at the Grand Prix at Monza – the hairs on your arms stand on end,” explains Werner, who has won the Le Mans 24 Hours twice since, and now tackles his fifth complete season as Audi factory driver. "Audi was the biggest break I’ve had,” he stresses. "In the previous years of my career it was always a question of money or politics. At Audi it’s only about performance.”
    The qualified mechanic Marco Werner, whose grandfather forged a successful motorsport career on two-wheels in the 1930s and whose father competed in touring car races in the 1960s, has always delivered the goods. He even defeated a certain Michael Schumacher at a "star of tomorrow” driving assessment. He came within an ace of concluding a Formula 1 deal after winning the prestigious Formula 3 Grand Prix in Monaco in convincing style in 1992. However, due to a lack of funds he landed in the endurance cup held on the Nürburgring – a racing series for private drivers and the championship in which he contested his first ever race.
    Marco Werner has had to take such setbacks and disappointments on the chin time and again. It speaks volumes that he has never given up and has nevertheless made it. "One of my strengths is that I’m very calm,” says Marco Werner. "It’s not that easy to ruffle my feathers.”
    Between races, tests and PR appointments Marco Werner finds time to relax in Ermatingen, a small village on the Swiss side of Lake Constance. He lives together with his partner Annett, and spends his time-off in the garden, cycling, playing golf and can be seen on his wakeboard regularly in summer. However, he prefers the seclusion of the Audi R10 TDI cockpit. "To be able to drive for Audi is, quite simply, a dream. I’m enjoying my time here.”

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