Audi Bids To Score Fourth Consecutive Le Mans Win

German manufacturer restructures motorsport programme so that "customer" teams will represent the marque Audi will bid for a fourth consecutive Le Mans 24 Hour race triumph when a number of "customer" teams contest the sportscar endurance marathon next June (14-15).

The German manufacturer will not run a "factory" team but has restructured its motorsport programme for the 2003 season so that "customer teams", supported by Audi importers, represent the marque.

Having won the annual French "classic" and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) three times in a row with its "works" team, negotiations with Audi importers and teams interested in racing the Audi R8, the world’s most successful modern day sportscar, are ongoing.

British duo Allan McNish and Johnny Herbert both drove for Audi at Le Mans and won ALMS races. Audi plans to continue the partnership with Reinhold Joest´s team in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) – Joest having previously run the "factory" Audis at Le Mans and in the ALMS along with Audi Sport.

The "customer" Audi teams will be able to count on Audi "works" drivers Frank Biela, Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro and their wealth of experience.

Audi scored its maiden Le Mans 24 Hour victory on only the German prestige car manufacturer’s second outing at Le Sarthe in 2000. The same driver combination of Biela (D), Kristensen (Den) and Pirro (It) also steered their "factory" entered Infineon Audi R8 to success in 2001 and this year.

The V8-engined, twin turbocharged Audi R8 made its race début in March 2000 and has already accrued a phenomenal record. In the 36 races an Audi R8 has raced, 29 wins - 23 of which were 1-2 placings - have been posted. An R8 started all but one of these races from pole-position - having "locked-out" the front row on 27 occasions - and registered the fastest lap in every single race it has started. None of the seven races it failed to win was caused by a mechanical failure.

Published 2 December 2002 Melanie Carter

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