Frank Biela bids for a fourth Le Mans 24 Hour race victory next June with a newly-formed British-based Audi team.
Biela, winner of the world-famous sportscar endurance race in 2000-3, fellow German Pierre Kaffer and Britain's Jamie Davies are confirmed in the Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx line-up.
The Brackley-based team will campaign a 2002-specification Audi R8 sportscar at Le Mans (12-13 June) and in the four-race inaugural Le Mans Endurance Series. The team, supported by Milton Keynes-based Audi UK, will also contest the Sebring 12 Hour sportscar race in Florida, USA (20 Mar).
Reigning American Le Mans Series champion Biela (39), who will race a full season in the Deutsche Touring Car Masters (DTM) for Audi in 2004, will compete at Sebring and Le Mans for Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx.
"For Audi UK to give me the opportunity of winning Le Mans again is fantastic," commented Monaco-based Biela who won the 1996 British Touring Car Championship with Audi. "I'm very excited about racing regularly again in Germany in the DTM next year but I also wanted to keep in touch with sportscars. So by driving the Audi R8 again at Sebring and Le Mans is an ideal situation for me."
While Biela lines-up for his sixth round-the-clock Le Mans race having contested over 40 races in an Audi R8, Kaffer (27) and Davies (29), will have their maiden runs in an R8 - considered the greatest sportscar of the modern day era - early next year.
Davies, from Yeovil, graduates to the prototype category along with the Veloqx team who the Somerset driver has raced with since its formation at the beginning of last year.
"This will be my fourth Le Mans 24 Hours and I'm already excited about driving an Audi - a car that has finished in the top-three for the past four years," confirmed Davies who won the GTO class in the 2002 British GT Championship and the GTS class in this year's Le Mans event.
"I've raced for Veloqx since the formation of the team and have sampled class wins in the Le Mans 24 Hour and Le Mans 1,000km races this year. The team is very ambitious and has been victorious in every category it has competed in.
"I don't see any reason why that should change in the prototype category especially considering the Audi R8 has scored nearly 40 race wins during the past four seasons. I'm looking forward to earning Veloqx an outright Le Mans victory!"
Kaffer, who has gained single-seater and GT experience during his 13-year motorsport career, will be making his Le Mans debut. He said: "It's a dream for me to race the Audi R8. To get an opportunity to make my Le Mans 24 Hour race debut and to race the R8 at some of the great, historic circuits in Europe, including my 'home' Nurburgring race, is fantastic.
"I've driven a variety of racing cars, from single-seaters - including tests in Champ cars this year - and GT cars and this is a big step in my career. I'm also looking forward to working as a 'team' with my co-drivers in these long-distance races."
David Ingram, Audi UK's Motorsport Manager, commented: "I am delighted that we have been able to put this team together. I am particularly pleased that Frank [Biela] will be driving for us again. He has been very much part of Audi UK's motorsport activities since joining us for the 1996 BTCC.
"As reigning ALMS champion and with a hat-trick of Le Mans 24 Hour race victories, there is no one I'd rather have in the team. Jamie's track record speaks for itself and with Pierre's considerable ability completing the line-up, I am confident that Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx will be a formidable force in 2004."
Sam Li, Principal of Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx, commented: "Jamie [Davies] has been an instrumental part of the development of Veloqx Motorsport. His commitment to the team is self-evident having won the 2002 British GT Championship combined with success in the 2003 FIA GT Championship and two class victories at Le Mans this year.
"The combination of Jamie's Formula 3000 and sportscar experience with Pierre's talent and skills along with one of the world's best current prototype sportscar drivers in Frank [Biela] in the same team bodes well for 2004."