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Kempten, 28 May, 2003

25.947 kilometre track length, 210 teams, more than 600 drivers, 2,000 volunteers and approximately 150,000 spectators – the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race is considered the race of superlatives on the world’s longest and most demanding circuit. Two Abt Audi TT-R’s, entered by Team Abt Sportsline with support from quattro GmbH, will contest the 31st running of the long distance classic on 31 May / 1 June.

The touring cars, with circa 500 hp, are based on the successful DTM car with which Audi driver Laurent Aiello won the DTM title in 2002. Both racecars were modified to suit the specific requirements of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, and those of an endurance race, with support of the Audi Sport Customer Department. The high-calibre seven-man driver team is made up of Christian Abt, Frank Biela, Mattias Ekström, Kris Nissen, Martin Tomczyk, Karl Wendlinger and Marco Werner.

“There is hardly a more fascinating touring car race”, explained Werner Frowein, manager of quattro GmbH. “We are very pleased to be starting the race with such a strong team.” The sporting subsidiary of AUDI AG was a partner of last years 24-hour race and will again supply “Official Cars” for the big motorsport event – including three 450 hp Audi RS 6’s that will be used by the stewards of the meeting as course cars.

Former Winners Niki Lauda, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Emanuele Pirro
The Nürburgring 24 Hour Race was held for the first time in 1970. Since then motorsport legends such as Niki Lauda, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Emanuele Pirro have added their names to the winners’ roll of honour. The circuit layout of the legendary Nürburgring-Nordschleife, with its 33 left and 40 right hand corners, has remained almost unchanged. Around the “Green Hell”, as the Nordschleife is ‘affectionately’ known, driver skill counts for more than on any other race circuit. “The Nordschleife is my absolute favourite, and a massive challenge for every racing driver”, enthused Christian Abt.

Not only the circuit itself is challenging: 210 Touring and GT cars of various classes are authorised to start. For the quickest, the race resembles a roller coaster slalom ride with countless overtaking manoeuvres. The slightest distraction can lead to a collision and, as a result, retirement. Also, the weather often plays a decisive role – weather conditions can even change during a lap.

Not only man, but also particularly the machine is stressed to breaking point during the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race. The Nordschleife, with its jumps, bumps and long uphill sections, is considered the world’s toughest racetrack. “We have prepared ourselves extremely well”, said Team Director Hans-Jürgen Abt. “However, the race has always been completely unpredictable, and this year the competition has never been stronger.”

Abt Sportsline ranks among the most successful German motorsport teams since winning the DTM title last year. The global leader for the quality customisation of vehicles from the Audi marque has already proven itself to be a pioneer at the 24 hour race: In the years 1999 and 2000 the team based in Kempten raced with a natural gas powered Audi A4 quattro – these were the first ever competitive appearances of a natural gas powered race car. The team aims for overall victory this year with the Abt Audi TT-R.

“When we participate in a series or a race, we have only one goal: We want to win”, the motto of Hans-Jürgen Abt for the last weekend in May. The team director relies on the squad of successful DTM engineers and mechanics for the Nürburgring race. “The team functions perfectly, knows every minute detail of the car intimately, and is highly motivated to win the race for Abt Sportsline, Audi and our partner the quattro GmbH.”

Hans-Jürgen Abt has recruited a high-calibre driver team for the two cockpits. The two DTM drivers Christian Abt and Mattias Ekström share the number 7 Abt-Audi TT-R with Frank Biela, 1991 German Touring Car (DTM) champion and three time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner. Martin Tomczyk and Karl Wendlinger drive the number 8 TT-R, the two DTM drivers receiving support from former DTM driver Kris Nissen and Audi works driver Marco Werner.

Team Abt Sportsline who’s who

Driver teams
#7 Christian Abt, Frank Biela, Mattias Ekström
#8 Kris Nissen, Martin Tomczyk, Karl Wendlinger, Marco Werner

Team director
Hans-Jürgen Abt
Technical director
Albert Deuring
Race engineers
Franco Chiocchetti (#7), Alexander Stehlig (#8)
Engine Control
Thomas Kuster
Data Analysis
Fredrik Ahslund

Touring car comeback for Audi driver Frank Biela
Team Abt Sportsline's two Abt-Audi TT-Rs for the Nürburging 24h race
Albert Deuring, Technical Director, and Hans-Jürgen Abt (right), Team Director of Team Abt Sportsline
The Official Cars of quattro GmbH für the Nürburgring 24 Hour race
The Abt-Audi TT-R für the 24 Hour race during a test race in March
"Racing is life, all else is just waiting..........."   Hans Stuck waits.........
Verona Feldbusch tempting Niki Lauda?
Emanuele Pirro
Three Audi S6s of quattro GmbH are Intervention Cars at the Nürburgring 24 Hour race