Sick of humiliation at the hands of their part-owners and rivals, Audi boldly steps up the rhetoric and claims that they shall emerge victorious from this weekend's ALMS event at Road America. Having been soundly rounded by LMP2 cars in the last five races, the ALMS has made some next-season concessions to keep the diesel LMP1 cars in front of the pack. According to Audi's press release, "Team Audi Sport North America believes it has the opportunity to beat the preferentially treated LM P2 cars, which recently celebrated five successive overall victories. As a consequence, the LM P2 car's minimum weight has been increased by 50 kilograms by the rule makers for the 2008 season." Audi claims that Road America is a friendlier course for the R10, and what's more, that they've gone unbeaten at the track. Will the ghosts of Ferdinand and Ferry smite them? Or will August Horch's apparition appear and give the diesel cars the edge? Press Release after the jump.
Audi aim to end LM P2 cars winning streak
• Elkhart Lake next stop for the American Le Mans Series
• Fastest track of the year
• Audi unbeaten at Road America to date
The Audi R10 TDI has been front page news in the American Le Mans Series since March 2006. With the revolutionary Diesel Sportscar, Audi is also proving just how efficient modern Diesel engines are on the race track. The programme in the world's most important Sportscar racing series is important in paving the way for AUDI AG's forthcoming Diesel offensive in America.
Next stop on the Audi R10 TDI's US tour is Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin state. The 6.563 kilometre (4.048 miles) long "Road America" circuit is the fastest on the American Le Mans Series calendar - and one which the Audi drivers are especially looking forward to.
The Diesel Sportscar, developed specifically for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is at home on fast circuits. This is why Team Audi Sport North America believes it has the opportunity to beat the preferentially treated LM P2 cars, which recently celebrated five successive overall victories. As a consequence, the LM P2 car's minimum weight has been increased by 50 kilograms by the rule makers for the 2008 season.
Defending ALMS LM P1 Champions Dindo Capello and Allan McNish head to Road America as leaders of the LM P1 drivers' championship. They hold an 18 point lead over their team-mates Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner. The race starts on Saturday (11 August) at 4.p.m. local time (11 p.m. in Germany) and lasts four hours. An extra three points are awarded due to the longer race distance. Audi is unbeaten at Road America to date.
Quotes before the race at Road America
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "In Road America we aim to continue with the big victories we recorded at the beginning of the season. However, this is no easy task as we have two handicaps handed out to us by the regulations when compared to the LM P2 cars: the higher weight and smaller fuel tank. We also lose time during the pit stops because diesel flows slower into the tank than gasoline. In spite of this, we'll do everything possible to beat the LM P2 cars - even though there are no points awarded in the American Le Mans Series for doing this."
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "After having raced at several circuits that didn't quite suit our R10 TDI, we can hardly wait to drive at Road America. We should be capable of extracting the full potential of our Diesel Sportscar there. Our last overall victory was more than four months ago. It's high time that Allan (McNish) and I return to the winner's circle."
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #1): "Road America is a fantastic track that has some very fast sections. It is demanding and you need to be quite courageous. Dindo (Capello) and I love the track. We were very strong there last year, but we nevertheless lost the win to our team-mates just before the finish. That means we have a score to settle at Road America. In view of the way the season's been running up until now, we are very hungry for success."
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #2): "In my opinion, Road America is one of the best circuits on the American Le Mans Series calendar. I really enjoy going back to race there. I have fond memories, not only of our win last year. The battle I had with Tom (Kristensen) in 2002 was even better, and I'll never forget it. At Road America I hope that Audi is finally seen in a more familiar position: right at the front."
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Every one of us is looking forward to Road America. It's an extremely fast track with one very long straight. Road America is a big challenge for the driver, just how I like it. The R10 TDI is designed and built for Le Mans - and therefore rather more for Road America than for Lime Rock or Mid Ohio. I hope that we can get the R10 TDI right at the front again."
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): "We lost too much time in the pits at Mid Ohio. We analysed exactly where we can be faster. As a team we do not give up. Even if Porsche has an advantage we want to beat them at Road America. It'll be difficult to repeat last year's one-two finish. But we'll definetly try."