Season finale for the Audi R10 TDI
Diesel sportscar unbeaten in 20 races Final round of the American Le Mans Series at Laguna Seca Emanuele Pirro hopes to make comeback The last race of the season in the American Le Mans Series is staged at Laguna Seca (US state of California) one week after the DTM finale at Hockenheim. In contrast to the DTM, the titles in the US Sportscar series have already awarded: Audi won the Manufacturers', Team and Drivers' Championships in the LM P1 class for the eighth time in succession.
The Audi Sport North America team will nevertheless try everything to clinch yet another victory on one of the most picturesque and challenging circuits in the USA. It would be the 21st consecutive win for the revolutionary Audi R10 TDI, which remains unbeaten in the LM P1 class since its debut in March 2006.
At Laguna Seca last year Audi celebrated a one-two in the overall classification, even though the significantly lighter LM P2 Sportscars are at a clear advantage around the tight and twisting circuit. Dindo Capello (Italy) and Allan McNish (Scotland), who secured the Drivers' Championship at the penultimate round at Road Atlanta, won in 2006 from their team mates Frank Biela (Germany) and Emanuele Pirro (Italy).
Pirro hopes to be able to return to the cockpit after his heavy accident in practice at Road Atlanta. It will be decided during the race week if the five-time Le Mans winner is fit enough.
Testing starts at Laguna Seca on Thursday afternoon. The race starts in Saturday at 2:43 p.m. local time (11:43 p.m. in Germany) and runs for four hours.
Quotes before the race at Laguna Seca
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "We've been very unlucky in the American Le Mans Series this year, which is why winning at Road Atlanta did us the world of good. It would be a fitting end to close the 2007 season with another win at Laguna Seca. However, we are well aware just how difficult it will be for us at this track against the significantly lighter LM P2 sportscars."
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "Laguna Seca has a fantastic layout. It's my favourite circuit in the American Le Mans Series. The 'Cork Screw' is world famous, but there are also some other interesting corners which are even more difficult. Now that we've won the Drivers' Championship we can approach the finale in a more relaxed frame of mind. The computer simulations indicate that the LM P2 cars will be quicker than the LM P1 cars around this track as a consequence of their weight advantage. We'll nevertheless be gunning for another win for Audi."
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #1): "I've always loved racing at Laguna Seca. The circuit is fast and undulating. Laguna Seca is a good hunting ground for Dindo (Capello) and I. We won there in 2000 and 2006. Now that we've tied up the Drivers' Championship we don't actually have anything to lose at Laguna Seca. We can drive at maximum attack; however, I think we'll have to anyway, since the circuit is ideal for the lighter LM P2 cars. There aren't any long straights on which we can exploit the power advantage of our Audi R10 TDI. We'll have to take a few risks."
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Laguna Seca is one of my favourite circuits on the American Le Mans Series calendar. At the same time the season finale is a particularly special event. I hope that I'll be fit again after my accident at Road Atlanta and can hardly wait to get back in the cockpit -- particularly after the disappointment of having to sit-out Petit Le Mans. It would be fantastic to finish the season with a good result."
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Unfortunately the championship positions have already been decided. For us it's all about getting a good result. As always we'll be trying to do the best possible job for Audi. After Petit Le Mans it would also be good to finish a shorter race in front of the lighter Porsches."
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): "I'm certain that it's going to be another very tough race for us. The Porsches are going to be very fast especially since fuel consumption will also play a major part in who takes the race honours. At least with all of the LM P1 titles decided in our favour, we can race aggressively and hard. I know that the drivers and entire team will give it their best shot so as to finish the season off in style."