Audi will start the 78th edition of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 12/13 with a total of three diesel-powered racing sports cars, it has been announced.
The Audi squad will be spearheaded by Italian Dindo Capello, Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen and Scot Allan McNish, who in total, have scored twelve Le Mans victories. In 2008, they jointly clinched the eighth Le Mans triumph for Audi.
The second Audi R15 TDI will be shared by Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Mike Rockenfeller. New signings Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer meanwhile have been selected to drive the third R15 TDI.
"We are pleased that the ACO has accepted our three nominations for the world's most important sports car race and that we will again be able to compete with three cars," said head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
"Our stated goal is to bring back the Le Mans trophy to Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. Three cars mean three chances – and we feel that all three R15 TDI cockpits have been filled with top-class drivers.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues from Porsche for again making two of their best drivers – Timo (Bernhard) and Romain (Dumas), with whom we were very pleased at their first Le Mans race for Audi – available to us."
All three Audi R15 TDI cars will be entered by Audi Sport Team Joest and designated as cars number 7, 8 and 9.
The third sports-prototype will officially run as 'Audi Sport North America', the name under which it was nominated.
Audi will begins its preparation for the Le Mans 24 Hours at the end of this month with a roll-out of the 'R15 plus' at Le Castellet. The team plans to complete in the Le Mans Series races at Paul Ricard and Spa-Francorchamps prior to June's 24 Hour classic.