Road Atlanta: Audi preview

Audi R10 TDI with chance for double hat-trick o "Petit Le Mans" race at Road Atlanta (USA) o Premiere of "Green Challenge" o Audi TDI Technology for market launch in the USA Ingolstadt -- The Audi R10 TDI has already scored...

Audi R10 TDI with chance for double hat-trick

o "Petit Le Mans" race at Road Atlanta (USA)
o Premiere of "Green Challenge"
o Audi TDI Technology for market launch in the USA

Ingolstadt -- The Audi R10 TDI has already scored a hat-trick at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. On 4 October Audi now also targets the third consecutive victory with the 650 hp plus diesel-powered sportscar in the French long-distance classic's "little brother".

The 1000-mile race "Petit Le Mans" ("Little Le Mans") has been held since 1998 at the race track Road Atlanta in Georgia, USA. It was the foundation for the American Le Mans Series established in 1999 and brings the Le Mans feeling year-in-year-out to the USA.

Audi competed for the first time at Road Atlanta in 2000 and remains unbeaten in the "Petit Le Mans" event since then. Six Audi R8 wins were followed in the last two years by a brace of victories for the revolutionary R10 TDI, with which Audi prepared the diesel offensive in the USA. The world's most successful Efficiency-Technology will be available on U.S. markets from 2009.

In the meantime Audi has recorded 20 wins with the R10 TDI, 16 of them in the American Le Mans Series. "I was immediately impressed when I drove the car for the first time," remembers Lucas Luhr, who won the Drivers' Championship together with Marco Werner with two races still to run in the 2008 American Le Mans Series LM P1 class. "It's absolutely fascinating just how the TDI engine pushes."

Dindo Capello and Allan McNish have the enormous torque of over 1,100 Newton metres to thank for their "Petit Le Mans" victory last year. Romain Dumas was able to squeeze past the Audi during the exciting closing stages of last year's race. However, Capello repeatedly managed to overtake the lighter LM P2 Porsche thanks to the V12 TDI engine's torque. "That was one of the most exciting races that I've ever competed in, and a perfect demonstration of the performance of Audi TDI Power," enthuses the Italian who also drives a TDI at home.

Just how quiet the 650 hp plus engine is also impressed the Audi drivers. "At high speeds you only really hear the wind noise," explains Marco Werner. "It was extremely unusual right at the beginning, but during an endurance race like Petit Le Mans is actually very pleasant."

Audi was also ahead of its time with the low noise-levels, which earned the R10 TDI the nickname "whispering revolution" in the USA: The rule makers for the 24 Hours of Le Mans have just announced that quieter engines will be mandatory in the future. Audi already fulfils the stricter rules with the R10 TDI.

Audi has also pioneered the "Green Challenge", which, in cooperation with the environmental and energy departments of the American government, will be run for the first time in the "Petit Le Mans" race. In this special classification the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are, alongside speed, decisive.

"We are delighted that the organisers of the American Le Mans Series follow our example and support the use of alternative and more efficient engines," explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "The Green Challenge continues this ground breaking path -- even though it is very difficult to find a mathematical formula that really does each car class justice."

The TDI is regarded as the world's most efficient Efficiency-Technology which, in contrast to the fleet average of the more common petrol engines in the USA, achieves a consumption advantage of up to 40 per cent. Audi will demonstrate the advantages of TDI Technology in the USA also directly after the "Petit Le Mans" race. Between 5 and 20 October twenty-three TDI models with 184 drivers from around the world travel 7,700 kilometres across the USA from New York to Los Angeles in the "Audi Mileage Marathon". Audi "factory" drivers will participate in several of the stages.

Among them are last year's "Petit Le Mans" winners Dindo Capello and Allan McNish who, just like the Audi R10 TDI on 4 October, will have the chance of scoring a hat-trick: the third consecutive "Petit Le Mans" win.

A total of 40 cars are entered for the race, including eleven LM P1 cars. Four automobile manufacturers -- Acura/Honda, Audi, Peugeot and Porsche -- fight for the overall "Petit Le Mans" victory at Road Atlanta.

Facts & figures

The Audi driver line-up at Road Atlanta
No. 1 Dindo Capello/Allan McNish/Emanuele Pirro
No. 2 Lucas Luhr/Marco Werner

Lucas Luhr about Road Atlanta: "For me, Road Atlanta is one of the most challenging tracks in the world. There are many parts where you need to be brave. It goes up and downhill continuously. Every lap at Road Atlanta is a real pleasure -- especially with such a fantastic sportscar like the Audi R10 TDI, which is equally at home there as I am."

Interesting facts

Allan McNish competes in an American Le Mans Series race for the first time since the season opener at Sebring ... Audi has already clinched every title in the American Le Mans Series LM P1 class ... Audi also won every title in the European based Le Mans this year with the R10 TDI ... Marco Werner holds the qualifying record at Road Atlanta with a 1m 08.906s lap, Allan McNish the race lap record with 1m 09.195s (both were set in 2007) ... That there can also be a close finish after 1,000 miles of racing was demonstrated last year: Dindo Capello and Allan McNish won by a mere 0.923 seconds from the Porsche of Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard ... Dindo Capello is the most successful "Petit Le Mans" driver to date with four overall victories ... Four of the five Audi drivers have won the "Petit Le Mans" race at least once ... Emanuele Pirro had to sit-out last year's race after crashing in practice. Lucas Luhr replaced him at short notice -- indeed without having practiced beforehand.

-credit: audi

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Allan McNish , Lucas Luhr , Marco Werner , Romain Dumas , Dindo Capello , Emanuele Pirro