DTM: Audi DTM works teams test at Estoril While the 2004 season already begins for the Audi sports car teams next weekend at Sebring, the Audi works teams Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest face the competition for...
Audi DTM works teams test at Estoril
While the 2004 season already begins for the Audi sports car teams next weekend at Sebring, the Audi works teams Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest face the competition for the first time with their new Audi A4 DTM cars at the official DTM test at Estoril (Portugal). Each team tests with a single A4 from Monday to Thursday. Nevertheless all six Audi drivers get behind the wheel. Because Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro travel on Wednesday to Sebring, Tom Kristensen is "loaned out" to Joest by Abt for the final two test days. "I don't actually believe that everybody will show their true hand at Estoril, but we'll get an initial impression of our position there," says Audi Motorsport chief Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, who travels from Estoril to Sebring together with Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro on Wednesday.
The opening race of the DTM season is in Hockenheim on April 18. An additional official DTM test is held at Brno (Czech Republic) from April 1 to 4.
Star Audi importer squad at Sebring
The Audi importer teams of Audi Sport UK and Audi Sport North America reach out for a fifth consecutive Audi win this coming weekend in the 12 Hour race at Sebring (Florida) with three Audi R8 prototypes and a genuine star squad. At the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season opener in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 the Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest won each time, who concentrates this season exclusively on the Audi works entry in the DTM (German Touring Car Masters).
The defending ALMS champion Marco Werner, contesting his first race for his new squad Team ADT Champion Racing, takes turns at the wheel of the "American" Audi R8 at Sebring with DTM driver Emanuele Pirro and the former Finnish Formula 1 driver JJ Lehto. Following two runner-up finishes in succession, Dave Maraj's team has its sights firmly set on their first overall victory in the American long distance classic.
The newly formed Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx wants however also win on its first competitive appearance for the British Audi Importer. The team of Hong Kong-Chinese businessman Sam Li has prepared itself for the prototype debut with intensive tests at Road Atlanta and Sebring and sends two prominently filled R8 cars into the fray: The two Germans Frank Biela and Pierre Kaffer form one team with former ALMS champion Allan McNish. The other R8 is driven by the pure British trio of Jamie Davies/Johnny Herbert/Guy Smith.
"Sebring is a unique race," says former Formula 1 driver Allan McNish. "The circuit is very bumpy and is very strenuous - also because of the expected hot and humid weather."
The 12-hour race at Sebring starts at 10:30 local time. A total of 46 sports and GT cars, including 19 LMP1 and LMP2 sport prototypes that are classified together, are entered for the ALMS curtain raiser.
SCCA SPEED GT:
Audi RS 6 Competition in new design
The first round of the 2004 SPEED GT World Challenge is held on Friday as part of the Sebring 12 Hour race support programme. Title holder Champion Racing goes to the grid under the new entry of "Audi Certified Champion RS 6 Team". The outfit of the Audi RS 6 Competition, re-worked technically in many details, is also new: The defending SPEED GT champion Randy Pobst and his team colleague Michael Galati now line up with silver and red cars. The two Audi A4 STCC cars of Team KMS Motorsport that race this season in the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC) will be painted in a similar colour scheme.
Coming up this week
Official DTM test at Estoril (Monday to Thursday) ... American Le Mans Series (ALMS) round 1 at Sebring (Saturday) ... SPEED GT World Challenge round 1 at Sebring (Friday)