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Le Mans, May 4, 2003

After winning the Le Mans 24 Hour race in 1960 and a total of five decades as a journalist and commentator, Paul Frère added another highlight to his personal story of Le Mans: the 86-year-old Belgian tested the Audi R8 during the pre-practice at Le Mans. Despite his age, Frère was not all that slow: After three laps the motor journalist enthusiastically climbed out of the cockpit of the three times Le Mans winning car and stated: “That was an unforgettable experience.”

Before the test drive, Paul Frère got a full explanation about the most successful Le Mans sportscar of the modern era by Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. “Although I didn’t push one single button during my laps, it was very interesting to learn about the possibilities of this car”, says Frère, who, even today, is not able to do more than 50 meters in the Le Mans paddock without signing autographs. The most impressive thing, said the former Formula 1 driver, was the enormous torque and the amazing comfort of the Audi R8. To be best prepared, Frère absolved a lap in the passenger seat of an Audi RS 6 while Audi works driver Frank Biela explained the current circuit of Le Mans.

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich was very satisfied with the performance of his new „test driver“, who’s speed was measured at more than 280 kph on the famous Hunaudières straight: “I think he got an impression of our R8 and now can understand why our drivers praise this car after their victories.” Frère is considered one of the world’s most senior and distinguished motoring journalists and celebrated his greatest successes as a racing driver in the 1950s and 1960s.

After three successive wins from 2000 to 2002, this year Audi plans no “works” programme at the Le Mans 24 Hour race. Nevertheless, three Audi R8s will line up for the race on 14/15 June, entered by the customer teams Audi Sport Japan Team Goh, Team ADT Champion Racing and Audi Sport UK.

24h Le Mans
:: Practice
:: Practice
:: Practice
:: Qualifying
:: Practice
:: The Race

Paul Frère in the cockpit of the Audi R8
Paul Frère in the Audi R8
Paul Frère and Frank Biela in the Audi RS 6