Sebring: Audi Motorsport preview

Audi contests the Le Mans 24 Hour race on 15/16 June with three "works: cars run by Audi Sport Team Joest and Audi Sport North America. The three silver Infineon Audi R8s will fly the extra colours of black, red and yellow taken from the German ...

Audi contests the Le Mans 24 Hour race on 15/16 June with three "works: cars run by Audi Sport Team Joest and Audi Sport North America. The three silver Infineon Audi R8s will fly the extra colours of black, red and yellow taken from the German flag, like at the triple victory of 2000.

The Le Mans countdown begins for Audi on 16 March with the 12 Hours of Sebring. The season-opening round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is at the same time the first serious test for the 2002-spec Infineon Audi R8, which despite undergoing minor changes to detail, looks exactly the same as last year's car at first glance. The bodywork features only subtle changes which are barely visible to an expert. However, under the bodywork the most successful contemporary racing sportscar was refined in many details. With success: "The tests with the modified R8 have shown that we have uncovered potential, and now we just have to use it in the race," explains Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.

The 12 Hours of Sebring is for Audi an important indicator of where it stands prior to the season highlight at Le Mans. "We'll see at Sebring how well the cars work and where we stand compared to our competitors," says Dr Ullrich. Competition in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is stronger than ever: 60 sportscars contest the race in Sebring, 29 of which are Le Mans prototypes (LMP). The fact that the field for the season-opener is larger than at Le Mans - and on a circuit not even half the length - makes the challenge for the drivers even more delicate.

Frank Biela/Tom Kristensen/Emanuele Pirro and Rinaldo Capello/Johnny Herbert/Christian Pescatori compete at Sebring with the two works cars of Audi Sport North America. The Audi R8 run by the American Champion Team also features a strong driver line-up: Stefan Johansson and Andy Wallace have already won the 12 hour classic twice. Jan Lammers looks back on wins at Le Mans and Daytona and is keen to secure his third long-distance classic at his debut race in an Audi R8.

<pre> The schedule at Sebring Wednesday, 13 March 09:20 - 10:20 hrs Free Practice 14:35 - 15:35 hrs Free Practice

Thursday, 14 March 09:30 - 10:30 hrs Free Practice 14:30 - 14:55 hrs Qualifying (prototypes) 20:00 - 21:00 hrs Night Practice

Friday, 15 March 09:35 - 10:35 hrs Free Practice

Saturday, 16 March 07:30 - 07:50 hrs Warm-up 10:30 hrs Start

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Jan Lammers , Stefan Johansson , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Frank Biela , Christian Pescatori , Emanuele Pirro
Teams Audi Sport Team Joest