There was a good bit of chatter coming from the GermanCarBlog regarding Audi pulling out of the ALMS. I never reported on this due to the fact that I didn’t belive it, nor did I want to add to the rumor mill. I know there is frustration among Audi Motorsport as there should be. With ALMS putting restrictions on them left and right during season it’s a joke. I have posted ALMS definitions of each prototype class below. If Audi and everyone is playing within these rules then it’s game on! If they want to even the field for “TV friendly” viewing then just combine them. Corvette races itself unless the Aston’s are having a great day. I really want some of the FIA GT teams to come over, esp. the Lambo! Either way Audi brought the TDI technology to racing, whether for promoting their consumer level TDI’s or not, and it’s changed the face of racing forever. Strategy, pits, tires all come into play still. Hell, one Audi was trashed at Sebring and was resurrected over night! It finished 4th overall. Anyone can win. We saw Porsche fall to the Acura’s and almost Audi.
Audi could have it’s hands full at St.Pete. It’s a street course with 14 turns. The torque will come into play but smarts and agility will be key.
Features some of the most technically sophisticated race cars in the world, the top Le Mans Prototype (LMP) division is LMP1 – purpose-built racing machines such as the diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI, Creation CA06, Lola B06/10 and Zytek 06S among others. These ultra-engineered racing cars produce between 600-700 horsepower, have a minimum weight of 925 kilograms (approximately 2,040 pounds), can accelerate from 0-100 mph in three (3) seconds and reach top speeds in excess of 200 mph.
The smaller purpose-built race cars comprise the LMP2 class, including the Porsche RS Spyder, Lola B05/40, Acura-powered Lolas and Courages, Mazda-powered Lola and Radical SR9. Capable of reaching speeds of 180-200 mph, these highly sophisticated race cars produce between 500-550 horsepower and have a minimum weight of 775 kilograms (approximately 1,708 pounds).
Audi reconfirmed its plans today to contest the balance of the 2007 American Le Mans Series season beginning with this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg. The German manufacturer is trying for its eighth consecutive LMP1 championship with a pair of diesel-powered R10 TDIs that are unbeaten in eight American Le Mans Series starts plus a win last season at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Audi will battle prototypes from Acura, Porsche, Lola, Creation and Mazda for the overall victory this weekend.
“The diesel racing commitment in the American Le Mans Series is important for promoting diesel engines in America,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport. “That’s why we decided to continue competing in the American Le Mans Series.”
Audi is coming off its eighth consecutive win at Sebring courtesy of Marco Werner, Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela. Werner and Pirro will continue together for the full season in Audi’s No. 2 entry with defending Series champions Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello in the No. 1 R10 TDI. All four drivers have recorded at least one street circuit victory in the American Le Mans Series.
“We know that street courses are not optimally suited for our Audi R10 TDI,” said Capello, who won with McNish last year at Houston in an Audi R8. “It was developed for long straights and quick corners like the track at Le Mans. For me, the lighter LMP2 cars are the favorites in St. Petersburg. But we want to win the championship. This means that we also have to be competitive on circuits that are less suitable for our car.”
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg. The race will start at 5:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 31. SPEED will provide a same-day broadcast event from 8 to 11 p.m. MotorsTV in Europe, SPEED Latin America and 7TV in Russia will carry the race live. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.