Successful day of testing for Audi at Le Mans Almost 3,400 kilometres without any significant problems Good start of newcomers to Audi Sport Team Joest Over 20,000 spectators watched the tests During the eight hours available, Audi Sport Team...
Successful day of testing for Audi at Le Mans
Almost 3,400 kilometres without any significant problems Good start of newcomers to Audi Sport Team Joest Over 20,000 spectators watched the tests During the eight hours available, Audi Sport Team Joest fully concentrated on reeling off the testing programme that had previously been defined in detail. As usual with Audi Sport, the tasks were clearly divided: The Audi R10 TDI car number 2 (Dindo Capello/Allan McNish/Mike Rockenfeller) was fitted with additional data acquisition equipment in the morning. In the afternoon, the team in car number 2 ran tyre tests. Last year's winners Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner (car number 1) compared various suspension set-ups. The R10 TDI bearing number 3 in the race (Mattias Ekstrom/Lucas Luhr/Alexandre Premat) was equipped with various aerodynamic variants.
"We had a very extensive programme on our agenda, which we managed to work through almost completely," Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang summed up the positive outcome of the tests. "In the end, we were lacking merely ten minutes, otherwise we could have even completed the final tyre test we'd been planning to do. I think we've worked out a good base for the race today."
A strong impression was left by the four newcomers to Audi Sport Team Joest. In his Le Mans debut at the wheel of an LM P1 sports car, Mike Rockenfeller (23) set the third-best time of the day behind Sebastien Bourdais (Peugeot) and Frank Biela (Audi). Lucas Luhr (27) was the quickest driver of the number 3 Audi R10 TDI, while his team-mates Alexandre Premat and Mattias Ekstrom -- both Le Mans rookies -- were only slightly slower.
Frank Biela -- at 3m 28.277s (237.362 kph) -- managed the fastest lap so far of an Audi R10 TDI at Le Mans. That last year's lap times were clearly beaten, however, cannot only be attributed to the evolution of the cars: With 13.629 kilometres, the circuit is 21 metres shorter than before and -- particularly due to a modification in the "Tertre Rouge" sector -- almost two seconds faster, as data logs have shown.
More than 20,000 spectators witnessed the test day at Le Mans, which took place without record winner Tom Kristensen. The Dane continues to recover from the injuries he sustained in the serious accident during the DTM season opener. Whether or not Kristensen will be able to compete at Le Mans on 16/17 June will be decided, at the latest, at the beginning of the race week.
To be optimally prepared even in the event that Kristensen should not be fit for racing, Audi Sport Team Joest changed the driver teams before the test day: Mike Rockenfeller and Mattias Ekstrom swapped cars because Rockenfeller, in terms of body size, is better matched with Dindo Capello and Allan McNish, while Ekstrom is more compatible with Lucas Luhr and Alexandre Premat.
Up to the race, the three Audi R10 TDI cars will stay at Le Mans for trackside preparation for the week of the race by Audi Sport Team Joest. The race week will start for Audi on Tuesday afternoon with the public Technical Scrutineering on the Place des Jacobins. The first qualifying practice is scheduled to start on Wednesday (13 June) at 7 p.m. (local time).