Audi has revealed that it won't return to the American Le Mans Series for the 2009 season and will instead focus its motorsport programmes on Europe.

While the new R15 TDi will make its race debut in the Sebring Twelve Hours, Audi will not be represented by its factory team Audi Sport North America during the remainder of the season as the German manufacturer brings an end to its time in the series.

Instead of racing in the United States, Audi will focus on development of the new R15 for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours and will also seek to secure the championship crown in the DTM for the third straight year.

Audi will also introduce its new R8 LMS for customer use in the GT3 class of a range of series' around Europe.

"The decision to withdraw was a very difficult one," head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich said. "Furthermore, with the Champion racing team we also had a partner that operates at the highest level. The extraordinary dedication and precision of Team Champion was the key to Audi's victories over the last few years in America. We achieved an unprecedented winning series together.

"Since the 2000 season Audi has won the LMP1 title nine-times in succession in this high-calibre sportscar championship. Our brand dominated proceedings last season by taking seven wins in eleven races. TDI in racing supported the market launch of Audi TDI technology in the USA perfectly."

Audi Sport Team Joest is expected to run the R15 during its Sebring debut in March.



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