Essen, November 25, 2004
The 2005 season is sixth and, at the same time, the last for the Audi R8
the most successful Le Mans Prototype of all time. 52 victories from 62
races so far, and counting. New regulations are valid for the Le Mans 24
Hours, and the sportscar race series in America (ALMS) and Europe
(LMES) derived from the French long-distance classic.
New sportscar prototype for 2006
Therefore, a new prototype sportscar is being planned, which should
replace the R8 prototype in 2006. The first tests are planned for the end of
2005, and the 12-hour race in Sebring held during March 2006 is seen as
test event. "This extremely hard race has already proven its worth during
the R8 project as an excellent dress rehearsal for Le Mans, states Audi
Motorsport Head Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.
Audi R8 with handicaps
The last season for the Audi R8 will probably be its toughest. After 13 wins
in 14 races during 2004, the R8 must probably compete with a higher
minimum weight and further reduced engine power. "Already last season
we mainly owed our success to the enviable reliability, consistency and
low fuel consumption of the Turbo FSI engine, explains Dr Ullrich. "These
advantages cant be snatched from us. The fifth Le Mans victory and the
successful title defence in the ALMS and LMES are our targets in spite of
the additional handicaps. We will adapt the R8 as well as possible to the
new demands of the regulations.
ALMS, LMES and Le Mans
Works supported importer teams assume responsibility for the race
logistic of the Audi R8 during the 2005 season. Audi USA and Audi France
plan campaigns in the American Le Mans Series, at the Le Mans 24 Hours
and in the Le Mans Endurance Series. "The importers will announce their
programmes over the course of the next few weeks as soon as all the
details are fixed.
Importers supported with works drivers
As usual Audi supports the involvement of customer and importer teams
with its works drivers. During the 2005 season they are the seasoned
campaigners Frank Biela (40), Emanuele Pirro (42) and Marco Werner
(38). Biela and Pirro won the endurance classic in France three times in
succession together with the R8 and each of them won the American Le
Mans Series (ALMS) once. Marco Werner is the first driver to have
successfully defended his title in the top ALMS prototype category.