Luhr, Rockenfeller - ALMS spotlight

LUHR, ROCKENFELLER READY FOR AUDI PROTOTYPE DEBUT The first time in the Audi R10 TDI brought wide smiles to their faces and now Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller are ready for the real thing. Both young Germans return to Le Mans for...

LUHR, ROCKENFELLER READY FOR AUDI PROTOTYPE DEBUT

The first time in the Audi R10 TDI brought wide smiles to their faces and now Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller are ready for the real thing. Both young Germans return to Le Mans for the first time with Audi and its diesel- powered prototype.

The former Porsche works drivers will team with Frenchman Alexander Premat in one of three R10s, their entry being referred to as the "rookie" car. That's not completely accurate as both Luhr and Rockenfeller not only have been at Le Mans but they also are former class winners, as well. But they both admit that this marks a new era in their sports car careers.

"It's really a fantastic feeling," said Luhr, who won back-to-back GT2 wins in 2002-03 and shared last year's LMP2 championship in the American Le Mans Series for Porsche and Penske Motorsports. "You would rather be the one doing all the passing instead of not being passed by everyone. It's a fantastic chance that has been offered to me. The Porsche and the Audi are two different prototypes based on the regulations although at first glance they look alike. The Audi has much power. You touch the gas and you just go.

Rockenfeller didn't race last year after winning in GT2 in 2005. He was just 21 when he won for the BAM!/Alex Job Racing combination and also had a taste of prototype racing last year with Penske at Petit Le Mans where he was second with Luhr and Romain Dumas. Unlike Luhr, he did not believe the Porsche RS Spyder differed that much from the Audi, putting aside obvious differences like power, size and weight.

"Driving the car for the first time was very special," Rockenfeller said. "It just shot off like a rocket. It really brings a smile to your face and I'm very fortunate to have this opportunity at my age."

All three drivers completed a 30-hour test in April. The No. 3 Audi will start fifth overall on the Le Mans grid Saturday.

-credit: alms

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Lucas Luhr , Romain Dumas , Mike Rockenfeller , Alex Job
Teams Alex Job Racing