RASELTON, Ga. - American Le Mans Series champion Frank Biela will lead an assault on the March 17-20 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring by a newly-formed British-based Audi sports car team.
A two-time winner of America's oldest sports car race, the 39-year-old Biela will drive an Audi R8 Prototype with fellow German Pierre Kaffer and England's Jamie Davies for Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx. Biela will also drive for the team later this year in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in search of his fourth win in the famed French endurance racing classic.
Biela's two wins at Sebring have been with two different race teams but both have been in the Audi R8, one of the most successful Prototype sports cars ever designed. In 2000, he was driving for the factory Audi team and co-drove with Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro to victory in the 12-hour race on the Florida racing circuit. In 2003, he joined Marco Werner and Philipp Peter with Infineon Team Joest and scored his second Sebring win.
Biela and Werner went on to win four more times in the 2003 American Le Mans Series and collected the driving championship in the Prototype 900 class, the first championship in the series for both.
"For Audi UK to give me the opportunity of winning Le Mans again is fantastic," said Biela, who will spend most of the 2004 season racing in Germany. "I also wanted to keep in touch with sports cars, so driving the Audi R8 again at Sebring and Le Mans is an ideal situation for me."
Though Biela has driven Audi R8s since the car was introduced in 2000, Kaffer and Davies will be racing the car for the first time when they compete on the 3.7-mile Sebring International Raceway in March.
Davies, 29, raced at Sebring in 2003, driving for the Veloqx Prodrive team in the GTS class in a Ferrari 550 Maranello. Though the team encountered mechanical problems at Sebring, Davies joined Tomas Enge and Peter Kox as the team won the GTS class later in the year at Le Mans. He was the GTO class champion in the British GT Series in 2002.
Kaffer, 27, has been in recent motorsports news as he did some try-out testing for teams in the CART Champ Car Series. In his 13-year career, he has gained experience in both single-seater race cars and GT cars. He will make his debut in American Le Mans Series competition at Sebring.
"I'm delighted that we have been able to put this team together," said David Ingram, Audi UK's Motorsport Manager. "I am particularly pleased that Frank will be driving for us again. 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 lineup, I'm confident that Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx will be a formidable force in 2004."
The 52nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will get the green flag at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 20, and will be televised live from flag-to-flag by the Speed Channel. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.
Ticket information is available online at www.sebringraceway.com or by calling (863) 655-1442 (toll-free 800-626-RACE).