Audi will enter two cars in the Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta next month, the penultimate round in the 2009 American Le Mans Series, it was announced today.
The event is being contested as part of a 'test' for the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours and the two diesel-powered Audi R15 TDI cars will be driven by Dindo Capello and Allan McNish, with Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner in the sister car. DTM racer Mike Rockenfeller will act as the team's reserve driver.
"The race at Road Atlanta already marks the first part of our preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2010," confirmed Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "We want to use it as an opportunity for our engineers to learn even more about the new Audi R15 TDI in direct competition with strong rivals.
"A lot of things can be simulated on test rigs and in track tests. But nothing can replace the experience gathered in actual racing events."
From 2006 to 2008, Audi dominated the ALMS with the R10 TDI and won the champion's title in the LMP1 class three times in a row.
The R15 TDI is the successor to that car and it won the 12-hour race at Sebring - the season opener of this year's ALMS, its debut race - back in March.
At the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours, however, the brief experience with the new R15 TDI took its toll on Audi Sport Team Joest - and after five consecutive Le Mans victories, Audi had to settle for third place at the French endurance classic.
"We're convinced that we weren't able to fully exploit the potential of the R15 TDI at Le Mans," Ullrich continued. "At Road Atlanta, we'll have the opportunity to test on Sunday before the race so that we should be in a better position than we were at Le Mans.
"Despite the strong competition by Acura/Honda, Peugeot, Mazda, Oreca and other prototype teams we figure on having good chances of fighting for victory, as we did over the past few years."