Utah: Audi diesel power returns to series

IT'S BACK: AUDI DIESEL POWER RETURNS TO AMERICA BRASELTON, Ga. (July 10, 2006) - Allan McNish said at Lime Rock Park that he is losing a longtime girlfriend, but the new girl is much quieter and sexier. His new lady - Audi's R10...

IT'S BACK: AUDI DIESEL POWER RETURNS TO AMERICA

BRASELTON, Ga. (July 10, 2006) - Allan McNish said at Lime Rock Park that he is losing a longtime girlfriend, but the new girl is much quieter and sexier. His new lady - Audi's R10 TDI - returns this week for the Utah Grand Prix and the fifth round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series.

The Audi R10 TDI - powered by a 550-hp, V12 turbo diesel - is two-for-two in its young career. The revolutionary prototype debuted with a win at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, then conquered the sports car world with a win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Now Audi is back in North America to spread the message of new diesel technology . and win another Series championship.

And where better to start than at the new 4.5-mile, 24-turn Miller Motorsports Park? Championship leaders McNish and Dindo Capello will drive one R10 TDI, while 2005 Series champions and reigning Le Mans winners Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro are back in the other entry.

"I can hardly wait to show our Audi R10 TDI to the American fans," Pirro said. "I'm particularly looking forward to the race at Salt Lake City. I was at the new circuit last year for the presentation. The facility is incredible and the interest shown by the people in the city for the race is enormous."

With four straight class victories to start the season - including the last three with the R8 - Audi again is on course for another LMP1 manufacturers championship with Audi Sport North America comfortably ahead in the team standings. With the R10 TDI having advantages in all aspects over the R8 the championship may be Audi's to lose.

"We've had a lot of success since Sebring with the 'old' R8," McNish said. "However, that's all history now. The future lies in the R10 TDI. When I look at the circuit layout, the R10 TDI should really exploit the advantages of the diesel engine at Salt Lake City. But we'll only really know when we drive there."

Miller Motorsports Park and the remaining circuits on the Series' schedule are the only places where the R10 TDIs will contest races in 2006; Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport, said as much during the post- race press conference at Le Mans. It is part of a plan by Audi to expose North America to the benefits of diesel fuel. Among them are superior efficiency, lower fuel consumption, enormous torque and exceptional power. Those attributes should fit in perfectly at Miller.

"We are well prepared and are intrigued to see just how the R10 TDI, which was built specifically for Le Mans, performs on other types of race track," Dr Ullrich said. "Our target is that the R10 TDI is competitive on every type of circuit - exactly like the R8 was. The entire team is working towards this."

"Salt Lake City is a new circuit - the longest in the whole of America," Capello said. "None of us know it yet. I think it's a fantastic location for the first race of our R10 TDI after the win at Le Mans. The long start- finish straight and the fast corners should suit the R10 TDI extremely well."

The Utah Grand Prix, the fifth round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series, is set for 6 p.m. MDT on Saturday, July 15 at the new Miller Motorsports Park just outside of Salt Lake City. CBS will broadcast the race from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 16. MotorsTV will broadcast the race in Europe from 6:30 to 9:30 CET on Sunday, July 16. American Le Mans Radio will provide live coverage on americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Allan McNish , Dindo Capello , Emanuele Pirro