The 12 Hours of Sebring is a historic U.S. and one near and dear to Audi’s heart; and it’s close to their heart for good reason: Audi has won at Sebring from 2000 to 2007 between the Audi R8 and R10 TDi until being beaten by their brothers at Porsche.
For the 2009 season, Audi is aiming to reclaim the crown with it’s brand new diesel weapon: the R15 TDi. The R15 TDi will be an evolution over the previously successful R10 TDi and follow in the footsteps of its predecessors with an inaugural race at Sebring. For Audi, this race will not just be important as the first official running of the R15 but it will serve as a full-on test and shake-down session before Audi sets foot back on the Circuit de la Sarthe – the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
INGOLSTADT, Germany, Feb 10, 2009 – The eagerly awaited first race of the new diesel sports car from AUDI AG draws ever closer: Audi Sport Team Joest contests the notorious 12-hour race at Sebring, Florida on 21 March with two Audi R15 TDI. The US endurance classic will act as stern test and dress rehearsal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 13 /14 June 2009.
The new Audi R15 TDI is packed with numerous technically innovative detail solutions and differs significantly from its predecessor model the R10 TDI which was undefeated at Le Mans. The first tests with the new LMP1 prototype have been successfully completed.
“So far the R15 TDI has performed as we expected,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Now it must also prove itself in race conditions. Sebring is a particularly hard race and is therefore perfectly suited to reveal even the smallest of weaknesses.”
Proven drivers sit at the wheel of the two new prototypes. One driver line-up is formed by defending Le Mans winners Dindo Capello (Italy), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland). The Germans Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner take turns at the wheel of the sister R15 TDI. Audi Sport Team Joest competed last year at Sebring in this formation.
Every new Le Mans Prototype from AUDI AG celebrated its race debut at the race track in the heart of Florida. In Audi’s first ever sports car race in 1999
Audi Sport Team Joest claimed a podium position first time out with the Audi R8R. A year later the Audi R8 triumphed on its debut at Sebring. On the premiere of the R10 TDI in 2006 Audi landed the first victory worldwide for a diesel powered sports car in an important endurance race.
The brand with the four rings has won the 12-hour race at Sebring, which also forms the opening race of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), a total of eight times, the last time in 2007.