- Audi’s winning streak in racing began 20 years ago
- 25th race for the R10 TDI diesel sportscar
- Luhr/Werner head to Long Beach as championship leaders
AUDI AG celebrates two anniversaries during the weekend of the “Grand Prix of Long Beach” on 19 / 20 April: Almost 20 years ago to the day, Audi’s unique winning streak on closed circuits started around the famous street circuit near Los Angeles, California. Furthermore, Long Beach is the 25th race for the R10 TDI diesel sportscar.
After having revolutionised rallying with quattro four-wheel drive at the beginning of the 1980s, Audi swapped to circuit racing in 1988. On 16 April 1988, Hurley Haywood and Hans-Joachim Stuck started in a brace of production based Audi 200 quattro cars in the opening race of the North American Trans-Am series. Hurley Haywood’s second place on Audi’s racing début made the competition sit up and take notice. However, it was just a foretaste of what would follow: Audi won eight of the 13 Trans-Am races during the 1988 season and the championship convincingly in the end. The following year the Trans-Am series organisers unceremoniously banned the superior quattro drive.
The winning streak in the Trans-Am series, which continued the following year with the Audi 90 quattro in the IMSA GTO Championship and later in touring car racing in Europe, typifies the successful motorsport involvement of AUDI AG which is repeatedly coupled with the use of ground breaking technology. quattro drive, which is available today for every Audi model, is just one example of this. Proof of the direct technology transfer between motorsport and production is also the combination of turbo-charging and direct injection (TFSI), which was unbeaten in the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 2001 and 2005 and is today found in numerous Audi production models. TFSI enables the cubic capacity of spark ignition engines to be reduced (“downsizing”) which in turn lowers CO2 emissions. In this way, Audi extracts an impressive 272 hp from a mere two-litre, four-cylinder power plant fitted in the new TTS.
Now in its third year, Audi continues to grab the headlines in motorsport with the R10 TDI. The first and only diesel sportscar to date to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a rolling test laboratory with which the Audi engineers collect know-how for the next generation TDI engines. The over 650 hp prototype is unbeaten in the LM P1 class of the American Le Mans Series. Long Beach is the 25th race for the R10 TDI – as a result Audi celebrates two anniversaries at the same time in California.
The temporary race track in Long Beach, which staged Formula 1 races between 1977 and 1983, is regarded as the mother of all contemporary street circuits and is an extreme challenge for the diesel sportscar that was originally developed for the high-speed circuit of Le Mans. The average speed over a single lap at Le Mans is almost 240 kph, at Long Beach in contrast, only around 160 kph. The tight hairpin in Long Beach, one of the slowest corners to be encountered in motorsport, is particularly difficult for the world’s fastest sportscar.
On the first weekend in April, German duo Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner proved with their spectacular win in St Petersburg (Florida) that it is also possible to win with the R10 TDI around a street circuit. In the process they were once again able to exploit one of the greatest advantages of TDI Technology: the competitors with their conventional spark ignition engines have little to offer against the enormous torque, in excess of 1,100 Newton metres produced by the V12 TDI engine, especially when accelerating.
Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner arrive in Long Beach as leaders in the LM P1 class. The second R10 TDI is driven by Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro. The race starts on Saturday (19 April) at 4:10 p.m. local time (1:10 a.m. Sunday morning German time).
Facts & figures Long Beach
The Audi driver-lineup in Long Beach
#1 Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro
#2 Lucas Luhr / Marco Werner
Marco Werner about Long Beach: “Long Beach is a fantastic street circuit steeped in tradition, which is relatively fast due to the width of the roads. Unfortunately, it is quite bumpy like the majority of street circuits. The tight and narrow hairpin is the slowest corner I know. We lost a lot of time there last year.”
With a duration of only 100 minutes, Long Beach is the shortest race on the schedule of the American Le Mans Series …in 24 races to date, the Audi R10 TDI has won the LM P1 class 23 times … An Audi R10 TDI has failed to finish in the top three of a race on only two occasions (Long Beach 2007 and Lime Rock 2007) …The overall victory in St Petersburg was the 14th for the Audi R10 TDI, the 62nd for Audi in the American Le Mans Series and the first for Lucas Luhr … Frank Biela and Lucas Luhr contest a race in Long Beach for the first time, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner know the street circuit from last year
The schedule in Long Beach
Thursday, 17 April
15:00 – 16:00 Free Practice 1
16:45 – 17:45 Free Practice 2
Friday, 18 April
09:05 – 09:45 Free Practice 3
15:55 – 16:20 Qualifying (GT cars)
16:30 – 16:55 Qualifying (Prototypes)
Saturday, 19 April
07:15 – 07:30 Warm-up
16:10 – 17:50 Race (100 minutes)
– Audi Motorsport