American Le Mans Series: Sebring Debut of R18 Would Extend Audi’s 12-Hour Legacy
Ullrich: 10th Sebring win would be perfect start to WEC
If there is a second home for Audi Sport, it may be Sebring, Fla. The successful German racing outfit routinely tests at Sebring International Raceway multiple times in a year, and Audi has missed Sebring’s 12-hour race – the opening round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón – just once since 1999.
This year’s 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida is likely to see Audi bring its fifth different prototype to race in America’s greatest sports car race – the closed-top Audi R18 TDI. Audi debuted its R8R in 1999, and it took victories with the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI prototypes. In addition to the 12 Hours, Audi does a considerable amount of preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans each year at the central Florida circuit.
“Sebring means a lot to Audi. It was the scene of our first ever race with a sports prototype in 1999 while the following year we achieved our first sports prototype victory with the R8,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport. “Since then we have scored nine victories at Sebring so it would be great to achieve a 10th Audi win in the 60th running of this very special race which, from my point of view, is a perfect race to start the new FIA World Endurance Championship.”
Although Audi has yet to confirm its participation to the WEC and Sebring, Ullrich deems an entry likely. And that’s fine with his drivers.
“The 12 Hours of Sebring is an amazing race, with great history and fantastic fans,” said Dindo Capello, a four-time winner at the 12 Hours. “Competing in this race and being at Sebring is always very special for all of us. Even though Audi Sport has only been going to Sebring in recent years, I now feel ‘at home’ there because of the numerous tests we conduct there in addition to the races.”
The 60th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida takes place March 17. It also will mark the first race of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship. Visit sebringraceway.com for details on tickets and accommodations.
The annual Sebring Winter Test is scheduled for Feb. 8-9 at Sebring International Raceway. Tickets are $10 with no paddock access granted.
Source: American Le Mans Series