Veloqx Audi Aims For LMES "Hat-Trick" at Home
Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx makes the short journey to Silverstone aiming to continue its domination of the Le Mans Endurance Series. Based just six miles away in Brackley, Northamptonshire, the Audi team that has claimed one-two results in both the previous two races (Monza & Nürburgring), bids for a third consecutive triumph in Saturday's (14 Aug) 1,000km race to consolidate its grip on the LM P1 Drivers' championship standings.
Veloqx Audi drivers Pierre Kaffer and Allan McNish (#8) plus Jamie Davies and Johnny Herbert (#88) start the 620-mile British race tied on 18-points after sharing a win and second place apiece. The Silverstone race will run to a maximum of six hours and marks the first time Audi's legendary R8 sportscar has raced at Silverstone and only the second time the R8 has competitively raced in Britain (Donington Park, ALMS, 14 Apr 2001) since its race début in March 2000.
Practice around the 3.194-mile Silverstone Grand Prix circuit is staged on Thursday (1700-1815) and Friday (0900-0945) with qualifying for grid positions also that day at 1305-1350 & 1745-1830. Saturday's 195-lap race is scheduled to start at 1400.
* Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx is raising money for British charity BEN with donations in exchange for driver autographs. Founded in 1905, BEN is the occupational benevolent fund for employees, past and present (and their dependants), from the motor, cycle, motorcycle, commercial vehicle and agricultural engineering industries, plus associated trades, organisations and industries.
* The Club des Pilotes will present the Eric Thompson Trophy to Jamie Davies and Johnny Herbert at Silverstone. The award which will be presented by Sir Malcolm Guthrie, goes to the highest-placed British driver(s) in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Davies, Herbert and Guy Smith, who cannot attend the event, finished second two months ago having started from pole-position and led for the opening 15 hours.
* The last Silverstone 1,000km (a round of the FIA Sports-Prototype World Championship) was staged on 8 May 1988 and won by Martin Brundle/Eddie Cheever (Jaguar XJR-9) in a time of 4hr 50m 48.59s, an average speed of 128.63 mph around the then 2.969-mile track. An American Le Mans Series race was run at Silverstone in 2000 and won by JJ Lehto/Jörg Müller (BMW V12 LMR) in 2hr 55m 6.379s (107.27mph) with the track in its present 3.194-mile configuration. Pole-position went to Mimmo Schiattarella (Lola B2K) with a 1:37.030 (118.504mph). Fastest race lap was set by his co-driver Didier de Radigues on 1:39.748 (115.27mph).
* The last Audi victory achieved at Silverstone was claimed by Frank Biela driving an Audi Sport UK A4 quattro in the 1996 British Touring Car Championship (19 May). Biela, who won the championship that year, drove for Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx at Sebring and Le Mans this year.
Audi R8 - #8
Pierre Kaffer (D)
"I have only raced at Silverstone on one previous occasion and that was in a Porsche Super Cup race last year. England is famous for its bad weather, even in the summer time, so it could be a little like our last race at the Nürburgring. Many rain showers made driving conditions difficult. But our tyre partner Michelin have already played a major role in our success this year and I'm certain they will be ready for whatever the challenge. For me, the Nürburgring race was very important as it was my 'home' race so obviously Silverstone is a big event for not only Allan but Jamie and Johnny too and of course the Veloqx Audi team."
Allan McNish (GB)
"I drove an Audi R8R - the R8's predecessor - in an American Le Mans Series race at Silverstone in 2000. It was an evening of mixed emotions. Co-driver Rinaldo Capello and I shared the lead for over half the race but finished third after late pit-stops for fuel and another when the rear suspension broke on the last lap. My first race at Silverstone was in 1987 (FF1600) and I won there in Formulae Three (1989) and 3000 (1990) while my last race was in the 2002 British Grand Prix. That only lasted 20 yards so I'm hoping this one goes the full 620-miles for me! Having won at the Nürburgring, it's important to keep up the momentum."
Audi R8 - #88
Jamie Davies (GB)
"I scored my maiden race victory at Silverstone (1991) and went on to win in Formula Vauxhall Junior (1992), Formula Opel Lotus EuroSeries (1994) and Formula Three (1996). I last raced there two years ago finishing second for Veloqx in a British GT race. I like the circuit, it features a nice selection of fast and slow corners and of course it's always good to take a victory at 'home'. The championship points from a second victory would also be very important with just the Spa race after this one."
Johnny Herbert (GB)
"I made my Silverstone début 20 years ago, winning a FF1600 race, and went on to win there in Formula Three (1987). My last Silverstone victory was in the 1995 British Grand Prix while my last race was in the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hour race winning Jaguar D-Type last month. I've clocked up 30 races at this track - including 10 Grands Prix. Jamie and I need to quickly get back to winning ways and where better to start than at Silverstone."
Sam Li, Team Principal:
"After a busy period of racing, Team Veloqx took a short summer break to both absorb the successes achieved so far and also to plan ahead for the remaining two critical races of the LMES season. No venue is better than Silverstone to kick-start Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx's campaign for the LMES double crown. The whole team and our tyre partner Michelin is ready to produce the strongest show to repeat all the successful results we've already achieved this season. It will definitely be an emotional home race for the team."
David Ingram, Audi UK Motorsport Manager:
"It's really exciting to be racing at Silverstone again - the first time for Audi UK since our enjoyable and successful time in the BTCC (1996-98). It's great for our local supporters as well, people who have been unable to make the trip overseas to see us in action up to now. They will get the chance at Silverstone to see the excitement and drama of the sportscars in the LMES. We're hoping for a good result, and a great weekend for everyone."