Champion Racing underlined its motorsport pedigree when its two brand new Audi RS 6 "Competitions" successfully completed two-days of shakedown runs at Moroso in Florida.
Having laid the foundations over the past 10 years of competing in various categories of motorsport, the roll-out of the latest Audis begins a new chapter for the Pompano Beach (FL)-based Champion Racing team.
The maiden trials were a culmination of an intensive 15-week period of activity that saw Champion Racing completely build from scratch the RS 6 cars that will line-up for the opening round of the SPEED series at Sebring on 14 March.
Mike Peters, the Race Director of Champion Racing, commented: "The team has been literally working night and day in recent weeks to get the Audis ready. Both RS 6 'Competitions' ran well straight out of the box which was a major credit to my team.
"Although we've developed, prepared and raced GT, sportscars and touring cars, the RS 6 programme has seen Champion take delivery of a roadcar shell for us to transform into a racecar. Our RS 6 'Competition' is unique - it's the only one of its kind racing worldwide."
Reigning SPEED World Challenge GT champion Michael Galati and his new team-mate Randy Pobst completed at total of almost 100 laps on Tuesday and 75 laps today (WED) around the 2.4-mile track in warm and sunny conditions.
Galati, from North Olmsted (OH), will be bidding for his third consecutive World Challenge GT title after steering Audi's previous all-wheel-drive racer, the S4 "Competition", to title success in 2001 and '02.
"It's fantastic," confirmed Galati. "I've been highly impressed considering the car is brand new. It immediately felt well-balanced through the corners and I feel confident it's going to be a good car."
Gainsville (GA)-based Pobst, who joins the Champion outfit for this season, remarked: "Champion Racing have done a marvellous job in a short space of time. I was impressed with the quattro drivetrain and the balance which is obviously very different from what I'm used to."
Audi Sport North America's Motorsport Manager Rod Bymaster, also present for the test, added: "The Sebring race will mark the world motorsport debut of the four-wheel-drive Audi RS 6 and with more testing scheduled before the season-opener, I'm confident we'll be in good shape."
Derek Bell also sampled the Audi RS 6 "Competition", Britain's five-times Le Mans 24 Hour race winner having partnered Galati for the past three SPEED seasons in the Audi S4 "Competition".
The RS 6 team were joined by its Team ADT Champion Racing crew at Moroso today (WED). Stefan Johansson and JJ Lehto drove the updated 2002-spec Audi R8 although Emanuele Pirro, winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours for the past three years, had to leave for Italy due to a prior commitment shortly before testing commenced.
A smiling JJ remarked after his first-ever R8 run: "It's got just so much grip - you can take an amazing amount of speed in to a corner. It's not just an aerodynamic thing - the mechanical grip is awesome. This is one unbelievably good car."
Stefan, who had previously driven 2000 and 2001 spec R8s added: "We had the 2002 aero package for the last ALMS race in Atlanta last October but our car has now been fully 'updated' to the 2002 specification featuring a different steering rack and gear shifting pattern while the engine offers greater torque and power delivery."