Audi says R15 aero confirmed as legal

While Team Peugeot has lodged a protest with ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest, the organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans) against the front wing design of the Audi R15 (see separate story), the response from the German manufacturer is clear: the car is legal, and this is an issue to be resolved solely by Peugeot and ACO.

Audi R15 front wing detail.
Photo by Audi Motorsport.

"Basically it's an issue between Peugeot and the ACO, as our car was homologated the way it is (today)," said Thomas Voigt, press officer for Audi. "The car was homologated before Sebring, and again about two weeks ago."

The principles of Le Mans-style racing are clear: the cars must be homologated in advance -- at least 30 days in advance of any race -- and the on-track scrutineering process verifies that the cars, as brought to an event, match the homologation documents and specifications. Any changes to the car design require a new set of homologation documents to be completed.

"On Monday in scrutineering, the car was verified, and declared to be exactly as homologated," Voigt confirmed.

After the Sebring American Le Mans Series race in March, Aston Martin, ORECA and Peugeot requested a rule clarification from the ACO. According to Voigt, the ACO did provide the clarification, and confirmed that the design was legal. At the second homologation (required due to the ACO rule changes for diesel-engined prototype cars) the car was again cleared and confirmed legal.

"That's really all we can say," Voigt summed things up. "With the regulations, we can only homologate the car, and that tells us it's within the regulations."

Now the ball is clearly in the ACO's court; it remains to be seen when a decision will be issued on the protest.