Two new Audi R18 TDI cars for Imola
Only three weeks after the triumph at the Le Mans 24 Hours the next endurance test is on the agenda for the Audi R18 TDI. The 6-hour race at Imola, Italy, is about scoring important points in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) - the racing series that in 2012 will evolve into the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Audi Sport Team Joest did not have a lot of time to celebrate the tenth Le Mans victory. Since Audi wants to use the winning car designated as number "2" for exhibitions and demo drives as many as two new race cars (R18-103 und R18-107) had to be built up after the huge accidents of Allan McNish and Mike Rockenfeller. In addition, an aerodynamics package designed for higher downforce that will be used for the first time at Imola was tested in the week after the Lausitzring DTM race.
What has remained unchanged is the message featured on the two silver-colored R18 TDI cars. Audi Sport Team Joest advertises the company’s ultra-lightweight technology which proved its viability at Le Mans in a twofold sense. Not least thanks to the weight optimization the R18 TDI was the fastest vehicle at Le Mans. And as the two heavy accidents haven proven, ultra-lightweight technology and high passive safety do not contradict each other.
Only ten days after his accident at Le Mans Allan McNish was thus able to participate in a test with the R18 TDI. At Imola the Scotsman will share the cockpit of car number "2" (yellow color markings) with Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen who like McNish and test driver Marco Bonanomi tested as well.
At the wheel of car number "1" (red color markings) Timo Bernhard and Marcel Fässler will form a driver pairing for the first time. Kristensen/McNish and Bernhard/Fässler are also planned to contest the other three ILMC races at Silverstone, Road Atlanta and Zhuhai.
Where as Bernhard, Fässler and McNish have raced at Imola before Tom Kristensen has familiarized himself with the Italian race track in a simulator. Consequently, all four drivers know what is in store for them: a race at which the brakes will play an important part and where the situation will be pretty tight on the track as about 50 vehicles will be running at the event.
Audi Sport Team Joest will travel to Italy as the leader of the team standings. In the manufacturers classification Audi is ranking 34 points behind Peugeot in second place.
The Imola 6 Hours will start at 1200 hrs on Sunday, July 3. Audi offers all sports car fans the possibility to watch the entire race live on the internet. In addition to the race pictures, onboard footage and telemetry data will be available at audi-microsites.com/lemans. On Facebook and Twitter channels of Audi Sport the five-time Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro will provide current background information.