Audi to return to Le Mans in 2001

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- Audi will continue its successful motorsport involvement in the 2001 season, competing at the Le Mans 24 Hour race and in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), with two modified Audi R8 racing sportscars. "I am...

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- Audi will continue its successful motorsport involvement in the 2001 season, competing at the Le Mans 24 Hour race and in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), with two modified Audi R8 racing sportscars.

"I am delighted that we will tackle Le Mans and the ALMS again next year," declares Audi Sport head, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "The Le Mans classic is a very special challenge, which becomes even bigger once you have already won it."

The Audi R8 secured a clear triple victory at the Le Mans 24 Hour race this year and won the American Le Mans Series. Readers of a German specialist magazine voted the R8 "Sportscar of the Year." In Britain this past weekend, Audi received an award for its technical excellence in motor racing over the past decades.

The Audi R8 will undergo detail modifications for next season. "This year's vehicle concept still has a lot of potential that we will capitalize on by intensive fine tuning," says Dr. Ullrich. "We will endeavor to continue the winning performances of the Audi R8 next year."

At the Le Mans 24 Hours, June 16-17, 2001, the two Audi R8s will again be run by Audi Sport Team Joest. With Laurent Aiello, Michele Alboreto, Frank Biela, Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen, and Emanuele Pirro, a line-up of experienced sportscar drivers, who are members of this year's victorious Le Mans squad, will again drive for Audi.

In the American Le Mans Series, Biela, Capello, Kristensen, and Pirro will man the Audi cockpits. For the long distance classics in Sebring and Road Atlanta, Aiello and Alboreto will join forces with Team Audi Sport North America.

"We are enjoying a great deal of success in the ALMS series that is translating to excitement in our new car showrooms," said Len Hunt, head of Audi Sport North America. "We are excited to complete the 2000 season in Adelaide on New Year's Eve and to get started on the 2001 season and defend our title."

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Series LEMANS