World Endurance C/Ship & Le Mans beckon for Audi motorsport
|| In the forthcoming World Endurance Championship (WEC) and 80th running of the classic Le Mans 24-hour, perennial ‘Le Mans’ Champions Audi motorsport will enter two hybrid LMP1 cars, as well as two R18 TDIs in selected WEC races and the 24-hour Le Mans. Audi, of course, has won ten Le Mans titles since 2000.
Audi will compete the 24-hour Le Mans slated for 16 – 17 June with four LMP1s. Two of the four cars in action will be equipped with hybrid drive for the first time. Audi Sport Team Joest also follows a two-pronged approach in the newly created WEC in 2012 as a precursor to the legendary endurance event. The team would compete in the WEC with two LMP1s in selected WEC races such as, 12-hour Sebring in the U.S.A. and 6-hour Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Le Mans 24-hr gets full squad participation from Audi, the R18 LMP1s are designated with numbers 1 and 2 for the hybrids, and 3 and 4 for the TDIs. As stipulated by the regulations one driver per car is now nominated. The drivers piloting the designated LMP1 cars are André Lotterer, Allan McNish, Timo Bernhard and Oliver Jarvis.
Following the first win for a TFSI engine (2001) and the historical first triumph for a diesel powered car in 2006, the brand from Inglostadt, Deutschland (Germany) targets further victories at the mid-year ‘classic’ endurance racing venue.
According to Audi motorsport, the Audi R18 TDIs have proven to be reliable and fast, but the R18s with hybrid technology are still in an uncharted territory for the time being. “The first test results are very encouraging and we are intrigued to see just how this technology performs in combination with our ultra lightweight technology on the race track at Le Mans,” Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi motorsport, explained.
The new Audi sports prototype with hybrid drive will be presented at the end of February. The first competitive outing follows in the 6-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps on 5 May. For the WEC’s first race at Sebring on 17 March, Audi Sport Team Joest relies once again on the R18 TDI that proved victorious at Le Mans last year.