Dress rehearsal before Le Mans
The 1000km of Spa-Francorchamps, which this season unites both the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) and Le Mans Series (LMS) grids, will serve as a competitive test for BenoÃ®t TrÃ©luyer and Audiâ€™s R18 TDI ahead of next monthâ€™s Le Mans 24 Hours.
Belgiumâ€™s classic sportscar race will be the only ILMC event other than Le Mans for the Frenchman, who last weekend won 2011â€™s opening Super GT championship race at Fuji, Japan.
â€œAbove all, the race is a dress rehearsal ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours where we intend to shake the car down and continue preparations within the team. The most important area will be slipping back into well honed habits and reacquainting ourselves with the engineers and mechanics. Communication, pit stops and on-track traffic management; these 1000km are going to be the first and only opportunity to conduct a competitive test before Le Mans.â€
Of course, should the opportunity arise, BenoÃ®t and his team-mates Marcel FÃ¤ssler and AndrÃ© Lotterer will challenge for victory even if this is not the overall objective set out by Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
â€œSpaâ€™s combination of fast and tight curves offers a good layout on which to fine tune our set-ups and preparation. While the La Source hairpin and final chicane are quite tight, the rest are perfect.â€
The Ardennes event will also play host to the first confrontation under race conditions between the trio of new Audi R18 TDIs, which made a strong impression at the Le Mans 24 Hours Test Day on April 24, and Peugeotâ€™s 908. But BenoÃ®t is keen to stress that the rivalryâ€™s resumption will not interfere with the teamâ€™s principle objectives.
â€œWe have a plan to follow and wonâ€™t be looking at what others are doing. Obviously, like all fellow drivers, I will be checking the lap times when I climb out of the car to see where we are. But I know the team will not get distracted!â€
Itâ€™s an Audi team that Benoit has come to increasingly admire the more time he spends in its company.
â€œThe team never drops its level of performance and is not prepared to rest on its laurels. One gets the impression that it fights for its reputation every time it joins the track! In addition, this yearâ€™s Audi R18 TDI programme carries with it a lot of ambition. Last season the team won the Le Mans 24 Hours but not the ILMC as, intrinsically, the competition was faster. With the R18 TDI, Audi wants to win in style.â€
-source: BenoÃ®t TrÃ©luyer