Audi UK bids for motorsport glory with new team
Team Veloqx to run Audi R8 at Le Mans and in four-race LMES
Audi UK, the British importer of the German prestige car manufacturer, will contest the Le Mans 24 Hours and the inaugural Le Mans Endurance Series next year with an Audi R8 sportscar.
Regarded as the best "open top" sportscar of the modern era, the 2002-specification Audi R8 will be prepared by Audi UK's new motorsport partner, Veloqx Motorsport.
The Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx R8 will also contest the Sebring 12 Hour sportscar endurance race in Florida, USA (20 Mar) following a winter in which the Brackley, Northamptonshire, based Veloqx squad will familiarize themselves with the LMP900 class Audi.
David Ingram, Audi UK's Motorsport Manager, commented: "The 2004 Le Mans race will mark the third occasion an Audi entered by Audi Sport UK has contested the famous French race and I'm eagerly looking forward to next June.
"Apex Motorsport ran the Audi R8C in 1999 while this year Arena Motorsport prepared the Audi R8 that we [Audi UK] bought from Audi Sport almost 12 months ago. Both teams did a fantastic job for us and we are very much looking forward to our new partnership with Veloqx Motorsport.
"Our sportscar programme will consist of six races in 2004 and Veloqx are totally focussed towards the Audi programme in these races and are hungry for success. Sam Li's team has already made its mark in motorsport but he now wants to build a long-term relationship with a manufacturer in the prototype class which Audi feels is very important."
The Veloqx team, under the direction of Sam Li, has enjoyed great success this year with class wins in the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Le Mans 1,000-kilometre race. They also proved themselves in the highly-competitive FIA GT Championship.
Li commented: "All involved with professional motorsport today recognise that there is no better technical partner than Audi. Consequently, Veloqx Motorsport is honoured to have been chosen by Audi Sport and Audi UK to represent their brand on the motor racing circuits of Europe.
"No other team will be more committed to winning the 2004 Le Mans Endurance Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans itself than Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx - that I can be certain. Veloqx Motorsport captured class honours in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the recent Le Mans 1,000km race and we aim to return to La Sarthe next June with Audi UK and claim overall glory.
"The competition will be strong, especially from our fellow Audi competitors who know the R8 extremely well but we are confident that our winter test programme will ensure our success."
The Audi "factory" team scored three successive victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours (2000-02) while a "customer" team entered R8 recorded a fifth consecutive rostrum finish for Audi in this year's round-the-clock encounter.
The Audi R8 remains the most successful sports prototype of the modern era having won a fourth consecutive American Le Mans Series (ALMS) title plus 1,000km races at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans this year.
Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx -- 2004 Programme
20 Mar - Sebring 12 Hours, FL, USA (American Le Mans Series, Rd1)
25 Apr - Le Mans 24 Hours -- Official Test Day
09 May - Monza 1000km, Italy (Le Mans Endurance Series, Rd1)
12-13 Jun - Le Mans 24 Hours, France
11 Jul - Nurburgring, Germany (Le Mans Endurance Series, Rd2)
15 Aug - Silverstone, UK (Le Mans Endurance Series, Rd3)
12 Sep - Spa-Francorchamps, Bel (Le Mans Endurance Series, Rd4)