The Petit Le Mans in Braselton, GA. is a phenomenal event for anyone who is a motorhead. When you see cars late braking into the 10A turn for the quick zig zag into the uphill behind then you know you’re at a fun event, not including all of the people camping out in the woods on the track as well as all of the exotics such as Ferrari 599 GTB’s or Porsche GT2’s wedged into the bright, thick Georgia clay, many miles outside of Buckhead in Atlanta, the more natural territory for some of these cars.
Two years ago I was lucky enough to see an Audi competing at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The R10 TDI eerily shifting gears louder than the diesel engine humming along in the lazy, warm afternoon. Many times the Audi being drowned out by the throaty, angry V8 Corvettes or the high-pitched shriek of the V12 Maserati MC12. The R10 TDI went on to be one of the many successful prototype diesels that Audi touted both abroad and on U.S. tracks.
Hit the jump for more about Audi’s presence at the 2009 Petit Le Mans!
Upon it’s release, Audi had only intended to race the 2009 R10 TDI replacement, the R15 TDI, at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the enduro race at Laguna Seca in October. With significant pressure on due to winning 8 out of the last 9 Le Mans races, Audi had high hopes for the R15 TDI. However, it was a year of mixed results with a strong finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring but then being beat out by the Peugeot 908 diesels at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, nobody knew quite what to think of the R15 TDI, was it a true successor of the R8 and R10? Can Audi handle the pressures it finds itself under in the LMP001 field?
Well, according to Dr. Ulrich, head of Motorsport at Audi, the team will make an appearance with the new R15 TDI diesel at Road Atlanta as a means of ramping up to the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans. With the feeling that the teams hadn’t extracted the most out of the R15, what better way to learn more about their new pride and joy than to put it through its paces at the 10-hour, 1000-mile endurance race that is the Petit Le Mans, late this September?
However, showing off the diesel racer for only the second time has further value to Audi as they begin to dip their toes into the diesel market within the United States with the Q7 diesel and their very high profile “Diesel isn’t a dirty word” campaign. Could it be true that the “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” adage still exists? We happen to think so but time will certainly tell at the end of September when the R15 goes toe-to-toe with the Peugeots once more!
Expect to see McNish and Capello in one Audi R15 TDI followed up by Luhr and Werner in the second R15 starting September 26th for the Petit Le Mans.
(Source: Speed TV)