Audi preliminary testing notes

Three Audi R8's test at Le Mans LE MANS, France. (May 4, 2003) -- The three Audi privateer teams performed magnificently during the preliminary test session for the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans race in June. All agree the competition will be...

Three Audi R8's test at Le Mans

LE MANS, France. (May 4, 2003) -- The three Audi privateer teams performed magnificently during the preliminary test session for the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans race in June. All agree the competition will be very tough during this historic endurance race. Not only between Bentley and Audi but also amongst the three Audi R8 sportscars.

Jan Magnussen set the fastest lap for Audi Sport Japan Team Goh with a time of 3:38:385. Following closely was Frank Biela driving for Audi Sport UK who lapped the 8.62 mile track in 3:39:016 seconds. The experienced driver for Team ADT Champion Racing, Emanuele Pirro, turned the track in 3:39:306 seconds.

Rod Bymaster, Motorsports Manager for Audi Sport North America, commented, "I think the test session went quite well. All three teams seemed to learn a lot today. We anticipated the Bentley cars to be fast but now the real race comes. This was just practice. And most importantly, we've got the fuel mileage advantage and the repairability factor of the Audi R8's."

Mr. Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Technology, agreed. "Our used cars are fast, really fast. The drivers are experienced and the crews are experienced. It was a very good performance throughout the day. The overall speed of the cars is good. These cars will be very competitive."

Driver quotes:

TEAM ADT CHAMPION RACING

Stefan Johansson: "Mission accomplished! We had a very productive day, went through many evaluations concerning fuel and tires which should bode well for us in the race."

JJ Lehto: "We followed a specific program that we needed to accomplish during the day. All the drivers are happy with our car. We can return in June with a very good car for the race."

Emanuele Pirro: "I am quite happy. The track was never clear for us to set a really fast lap. Importantly, we have gathered important information for the race."

AUDI SPORT UK

Frank Biela: "I hit oil in the Porsche Curves and went off. I tried to 'catch' the slide but went on to the grass and the car's right rear impacted with the wall. I'm very sorry for the team - I just hope we can fix the car. Up until that point the test had gone very well."

Perry McCarthy: "Before Frank's incident, our performance today had shown that we'll be in contention for race honors -- as a team, we've been greatly encouraged by our performance. I made a mistake going into the first chicane during the afternoon session. My front brakes locked up causing me to run wide into the gravel."

Mika Salo: "Today was the first time I had driven at Le Mans and it's a very beautiful circuit. I was pleased because with every lap I was quicker so that's very encouraging for me. We managed to accomplish everything we wanted to do during the day -- the team did a great job."

AUDI SPORT JAPAN TEAM GOH

Jan Magnussen: "I am very happy about our result. We made a big progress on our set-up today and I should say this is my best Le Mans! For the race I think I can do even better."

Seiji Ara: "This year we had a good program since Paul Ricard tested the car in February. So I think that we are prepared and it shows in today's result."

Marco Werner: "Of course I am very happy about our result. All of the drivers worked on the set-up and finally Jan did a great job! The team also did a great job today."

The 24 Hours of Le Mans celebrates its 80th anniversary June 14-15 in Le Mans, France. For more information on the race, please visit www.lemans.org.

-audi-

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Jan Magnussen , Frank Biela , Seiji Ara , Mika Salo , Marco Werner , Perry McCarthy , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto