Audi goes crocodile for Adelaide

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- At the final of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in Adelaide, Australia, on Dec. 31, some motorsport fans may not believe their eyes: In the land of "Crocodile Dundee," Audi drivers Allan McNish and ...

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- At the final of the American Le Mans Series      
(ALMS) in Adelaide, Australia, on Dec. 31, some motorsport fans may     
not believe their eyes: In the land of "Crocodile Dundee," Audi         
drivers Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello will defend their lead         
in the overall classification at the wheel of an Audi R8 sporting       
a crocodile design. "Australia is a country with a strong growth        
potential. Therefore it is an important market for Audi," explains      
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport. "This unusual crocodile       
costume is a greeting to our Australian hosts."                         


<small>The Audi "Crocodile Edition" will be driven by Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello in the final round of the American Le Mans Series in Adelaide, Australia on December 31st.

</small>
The car is a real work of art. "The idea was born in the AUDI AG design center, under the leadership of Audi designer Frank Lamberty, who converted the exterior of the R8 into a crocodile in the middle of its natural habit.

Although Audi has already won the manufacturer and driver's titles in this year's ALMS before the season finale on Dec. 31, the Team Audi Sport North America is taking the Audi R8's first race on a city circuit very seriously. "Our aim is to win this race as well," declares team director Reinhold Joest. "It would be the crowning of a unique season."

Of the four Audi drivers, only Emanuele Pirro is familiar with the former Grand Prix circuit. The man from Rome describes the Adelaide track from his experience as a Formula One driver: "The circuit is really beautiful, but for the driver and the brakes, it's very taxing. There are many 90-degree corners which make traction and torque deciding factors. For this reason, Panoz should be strong there."

Allan McNish anticipates temperatures of over 86 degrees (Fahrenheit) in the shade. "I'm flying to Australia a little earlier so I can acclimatize myself to the Australian heat," explains the current leader of the American Le Mans Series. In contrast, Frank Biela prepares himself for the 1000 kilometer race in Adelaide in a totally different way: "I use a computer game to familiarize myself with a city circuit. In the past, this has helped me learn race tracks that I did not know."

In Adelaide, only Rinaldo Capello has a theoretical chance to challenge teammate Allan McNish for the title. "But it's very unlikely, and apart from that, Allan really deserves this title," concedes the Italian. "Crocodile Dindo," as he was christened by his teammates, shares the "crocodile cockpit" of the R8 with Allan McNish. <pre> ALMS Drivers Point Standings: 1. Allan McNish (Audi R8) 249 2. Rinaldo Capello (Audi R8) 238 3. Emanuele Pirro (Audi R8) 226 4. Frank Biela (Audi R8) 225 5. Jorg Muller (BMW) 221 6. JJ Lehto (BMW) 220 7. Jan Magnussen (Panoz) 203 8. David Brabham (Panoz) 197 9. Bill Auberlen (BMW) 161 10. Hiroki Katoh (Panoz) 154

ALMS Manufacturers Point Standings 1. Audi 253 2. BMW 217 3. Panoz 198 4. Reynard 136 5. Lola 132 6. Cadillac 97

Adelaide's RACE OF A THOUSAND YEARS will be televised same day on a     
tape-delay basis on NBC from 2 to 4 p.m. on December 31st.              

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Jan Magnussen , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Jorg Muller , Bill Auberlen , Reinhold Joest , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto , Hiroki Katoh