British Audi Team Upbeat After Le Mans Test Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx recorded the first and second fastest times in "Preliminary Practice" for the Le Mans 24 Hours today (25 April). Allan McNish (GB) driving the ...
British Audi Team Upbeat After Le Mans Test
Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx recorded the first and second fastest times in "Preliminary Practice" for the Le Mans 24 Hours today (25 April). Allan McNish (GB) driving the #8 Audi R8 stopped the clock at 3min 32.615secs, an average speed of 143.58mph around the 8.48-mile circuit. Meanwhile Johnny Herbert swept the #88 Veloqx Audi to a 3:32.627 (143.57mph) -- a mere 0.012secs slower than McNish. The times of Allan and Johnny were both faster than last year's pole-position time for the race (Kristensen [Bentley] 3:32.843) despite running with a narrower rear wing due to rule changes. Fifty-two cars contested the eight hour test in preparation for the 72nd running of the famous Le Mans race on 12-13 June.
The British Audi team, victorious in the Sebring 12 Hours last month, will be aiming to earn Audi its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory in the last five years. But prior to returning to France in June, Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx compete in the opening 1,000km race of the new Le Mans Endurance Series at Monza in Italy on 9 May. Allan McNish and Pierre Kaffer share one Audi R8 with Johnny Herbert now partnering Jamie Davies in the second Veloqx Audi.
Audi R8 - #8
Frank Biela (D). Age: 39. Born: Neuss, Germany. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
"Our car's only problem all day was when I ran wide in to the gravel when a backmarker almost forced me off the track but thankfully there was no damage to the car and soon afterwards I set my personal best time [3:35.206]. We are in good shape for the race."
Pierre Kaffer (D). Age 27. Born: Bad-Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Ger. Lives: Burgbrohl, Ger:
"This was my first experience of the circuit and it is very fast - it's amazing, I love it and cannot wait to race here - especially at night. I was content to drive steadily and let my experienced co-drivers fine-tune the Audi. Judging by our R8's time, this worked well."
Allan McNish (GB). Age: 34. Born: Dumfries, Scotland. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
"After a four year absence, it's good to be back at Le Mans! We worked through a tyre programme before lunch, collecting valuable data for the race. Prospects look encouraging but the competition, not just from the other Audi teams, will be tough. I got back on track with 70mins to run and managed to break the 3m34s barrier with 20-minutes to go then sub 33s with just six minutes left which turned out to be the fastest."
Audi R8 - #88
Jamie Davies (GB). Age 30. Born / Lives: Yeovil, England:
"I'm a little frustrated myself in that I could not find a 'clear' lap and always lost time due to slower cars on my quick laps but I was still getting used to driving an Audi R8 at Le Mans. The important thing is that our car is on the pace and we proved that today."
Johnny Herbert (GB). Age 39. Born: Brentwood, England. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:
"The car felt fairly good at the end of the morning when I did most of the driving although there was still too much understeer. I drove for the final 45mins in the afternoon and managed to achieve the second quickest time with five minutes to go."
Guy Smith (GB). Age 28. Born / Lives: Beverley, England:
"I made a number of changes to the car when I drove in the afternoon session which gradually improved the handling. We've all worked well together and Johnny's time ultimately underlined the progress that we have made today with our car."
Sami Li, Team Principal:
"Having finished first and third at Sebring and now claimed the two fastest times in the Le Mans Pre-Test, Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx are under pressure - but it's a nice sort of pressure! The competition will be tough here in June, that is certain but we must attempt to repeat this form at Monza and in the 24 Hour race. What is especially pleasing is that entire team is performing -- absolutely everyone."
David Ingram, Audi UK Motorsport Manager:
"We came here with high expectations after our Sebring victory, acknowledging that the competition, particularly the other Audis, was very strong. We had to wait until the last few laps of the session, but to finish up 1st and 2nd quickest gives us real confidence for the race in June. There is no doubt that this team is up there with the best."