• Sep 4th 2006 at 10:35AM
  • 12

With their victory at Mosport on Sunday in the #2 Audi R10 TDI, factory drivers Allan McNish and Dindo Capello locked up the LMP1 title for Audi with two races still to go on the schedule. For McNish, this is his second ALMS title and for Capello, his first. The pair guided the #2 car to a hard-fought win over Dyson Racing's pair of Lola-AERs, which finished second and third and were just seconds behind the Audi.

The 2006 ALMS season for Audi saw them open at Sebring with their new R10 TDI racers. After securing the opening round win, the V12 diesel prototypes were spirited away to prepare for the 24 Hours of LeMans. With the R10s out until after LeMans, Audi called upon the legendary R8, which won overall at Houston, finished first in class at Mid-Ohio, and then ended its racing career in style with an overall win at Lime Rock. The R10s returned after Lime Rock, fresh off a win at LeMans, and haven't lost since. Next up on the to-do list is locking up the manufacturer's championship in the final two weeks.

(Press release after the jump)

[Source: Audi Motorsport]

Audi claims American Le Mans Series title

# Allan McNish and Dindo Capello are ALMS champions
# Diesel sportscar of Audi remains unbeaten
# Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro in fourth place

With victory in the eighth race of the season at Mosport (Canada), Allan McNish (Scotland) and Dindo Capello (Italy) in their Audi R10 TDI clinched the LM-P1 title in the American Le Mans Series ahead of time. With their fifth outright race victory of the season, the two Audi "works" drivers now have an unassailable championship lead with the final two races at Road Atlanta and Laguna Seca remaining. The Audi R10 TDI, that celebrated a race-winning début at Sebring in March and then won the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, remains unbeaten and is the first diesel-powered sportscar to win an important championship. After the success with the legendary R8 it is the seventh title in the prototype class for Audi. While Allan McNish was already ALMS champion in 2000, his co-driver Dindo Capello wins the championship for the first time on this occasion.

After qualifying on Saturday was cancelled due to heavy rain, it remained dry during the 2:45 hrs race on Sunday. Dindo Capello, who started next to Butch Leitzinger (Lola-AER) from the first row, had an exciting duel with Leitzinger on the 4.106 kilometre-long and fastest ALMS track of the season. Invariably the two prototypes were only separated by a few seconds. Capello handed over his leading Audi R10 TDI to his co-driver Allan McNish in the 73rd minute. After various lead changes, McNish won with a gap of 2.79 seconds ahead of the two Dyson Lolas of Chris Dyson/Guy Smith and James Weaver/Butch Leitzinger.

After for the times of the free practice sessions on Friday and Saturday were taken into account, Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro started the second Audi R10 TDI from the third row of the grid and finished the race in fourth place.

Quotes after the race at Mosport

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "By prematurely clinching the drivers' title in the American Le Mans Series with the R10 TDI, Audi has yet again demonstrated 'Vorsprung durch Technik' on the race track. Bringing new technology in to a racing series and immediately clinching the title, is a tremendous achievement. It also shows how quickly the team has got used to the diesel engine. Congratulations to the team of Audi Sport North America and of course to Dindo (Capello) and Allan (McNish), who withstood enormous pressure from the Dyson Lolas at Mosport and have earned the title!"

Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #2): "I managed to get past the Dyson on the straight when he was slowed in traffic but I collected a lot of 'pick-up' on the tyres by going 'off line' to overtake which caused me to immediately run wide in Turn 1 and I lost the lead. Once I had overtaken him for a second time I managed to pull away. Allan drove a great second part of the race which was good because Guy Smith was driving very fast. Having finished second in the ALMS championship in 2000 and 2002, I'm very proud to have finally won the Drivers' title and that it was decided in such a close race which required us to push hard from start to finish."

Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #2): "I had a good race with Butch [Leitzinger] after I took over from Dindo but I ran wide due to 'pick up' and he slipped ahead but almost immediately I had the opportunity to re-take the lead. The Dyson Lolas were quicker than us today and we had to rely on good pit and race strategy. I'm very pleased to have wrapped up the Drivers' title in such a hard race and ultimately a victory. Audi's diesel sportscar made history when Dindo, Tom [Kristensen] and I won at Sebring, Frank [Biela] , Emanuele [Pirro] and Marco [Werner] made history by winning Le Mans and now Dindo and I have made history by winning an international championship with a diesel which makes me proud. I'm also very happy for Dindo who missed out on the ALMS title with me in 2000."

Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #1): "I am not happy with fourth place. My car was understeering and oversteering today, the tyres had a lot of 'pick-up'. I don't know what I did wrong today, because it went well for my team-mates. Once I had to lock up the brakes when another car pulled over in front of me and after that I had vibrations. I hope it will be better in Atlanta where I won last year with Emanuele."

Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): "It's a great day for Audi Sport North America. Dindo and Allan did a very good race. It was very exciting and I congratulate them. I was happy with my race, I followed Dindo and had to be careful not to disturb him."

Dave Maraj (Team Director Team Audi Sport North America): "It's a great day for Allan and Dindo and of course Audi after developing revolutionary diesel technology. But we shouldn't forget that we relied on the Audi R8 for three races and the 'old girl' did us proud. On this occasion, it was a difficult race for the #1 Audi. The Dysons were very quick today which is underlined by Guy Smith's fastest race lap. It is good to have won the Drivers' title and that Audi Sport North America has captured the Teams' championship. In the final two races, we will concentrate on winning the Manufacturers title for Audi for the seventh consecutive year."

Results at Mosport

1. Capello/McNish (Audi R10 TDI) 133 laps in 2h 45m 0,142s
2. Dyson/Smith (Lola-AER) + 2,794s
3. Weaver/Leitzinger/Dyson (Lola-AER) + 37,130s
4. Biela/Pirro (Audi R10 TDI) – 1 lap
5. Luhr/Dumas (Porsche) – 1 lap
6. Maassen/Bernhard (Porsche) – 2 laps

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      I was at Sebring for the opening race. The Audi's are fantastic.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Audi should bring those V12 diesels fitted in A8 to US now and give BMW and Benz some serious thrashing.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Mosport was a good race. There was lots of good racing in all classes. It still appears Audi is sandbagging though. When they needed to, they seemed to be able to pass the Dysons on any straight at any time. You shouldn't just be able to floor it and pass the other top cars in your class. This isn't "Driven".

      To the other posters:

      Under current regulations, there will be no Diesel hybrids. The federal law is written such that a Diesel cannot be considered an SULEV (super ultra low emissions vehicle) under any circumstances. So that means that any Diesel hybrid would have to go without any kind of tax advantages and such that gas hybrids get. This is the reason that the Diesel hybrid that Ford and GM co-developed (with government money) years ago was abandoned before it was even shown.

      jordan: This is a ridiculous time to invoke the 787B. The Diesel cars get a 50% displacement advantage, double the turbo boost, a 50% larger air restrictor and a large fuel cell. Additionally, because the R10 was so heavy, the base weight in the LMP1 class was raised by over 100 lbs so the R10 wouldn't be at such a disadvantage versus gas cars (this has since been repealed by IMSA, although ACO has not followed yet).

      In other words, the rules are greatly favoring the R10s. They could not compete on level ground with a gas car.

      So it is absurd to state that the ACO might "over restrict" the R10 and keep it from being competitive.

      I believe dejal is correct, that there isn't much financial advantage to bringing a 45 state Diesel to the US. You couldn't sell it in California or New York state, and that's at least half of your sales right there, if you're a luxury car maker.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The current diesel engines for road cars are falling behind on emissions and the regulations in the furutre may make it too tough and too expensive for their production in road cars. They may well NOT be the future and even the VW group is on public record as saying they do NOT believe their future is in diesel power. More on the regular gasoline engine with both super and turbo charges. Simply put this latter type of engine is less expensive to develop and build and meets future emission controls whicht he diesels are missing.
      Enjoy the racing diesel, they may well have a short lifespan.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Audi has proven that they (and the use of diesel) can run *ahead* of everyone else. I am a huge proponent of diesel/biodiesel and applaud their efforts of bringing an alternative fuel into the ALMS.

      Hopefully this won't turn into another 787B episode where they will be restricted to the point of non-competitiveness or just banned from Le Mans. Hell, let's bring back the 787B and see how it does against the R10's. :)
      • 9 Years Ago
      I wonder how the vettes did.....
      • 9 Years Ago
      RE: don't be fooled

      This reply isn't to start an argument, just get more information, because you have more than me (from your last post :D). So, ok, all these things were changed to off-set the supposed "disadvantage" that the diesel might have. Who decided that they would even be "disadvantaged" in the first place is my curiosity. Yes, their power comes at lower RPM's, but I like the look of their powerband better anyways.

      The only reason I brought up the 787B is because that's an extreme in a situation where an alternative means of power (rotary vs piston instead of gas vs diesel) was banned by the officials. If I brought in an all-electric car to compete, how would the group determine how much HP I would be limited to produce (assuming my motor could actually produce this insane amount of HP).

      Perhaps this is just all stemming from my frustration that the league is so worried about making everyone equal that technological advancements take a chair to "being fair." No, not everyone has the money to do the R&D to try to find new stuff, but not everyone has money to even be in the Le Mans series anyways. This and NASCAR are starting to have more and more in common to me. I remember when NASCAR was more about who had the better car than just who ran the best line with the correct pit stop configuration.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Conor, the 'Vettes finished 2nd and 4th in GT1 this weekend (8th and 10th overall).
      • 9 Years Ago
      Diesels are hugely disadvantaged. The main problem is that their torque (force, not power which is HP) comes lower in the revs. Power is torque*revs, so since Diesels make their force lower, they make less power. This is why you see stuff like 170HP and 271ft-lbs.

      Torque at the wheels is what accelerates a car. But in order to make torque at the wheels, you need to make HP at the engine. This is because in order to accelerate, you must spin the tires as fast as the car is going. Thus you need torque and speed, which is HP.

      Think of it this way, if one car has a redline at 9,000rpm and another has the redline at 6,000rpm, then the 2nd car needs to move to a higher gear to go the same speed (or else exceed the redline). The problem is that when you make the gear higher to get more speed at the wheels, you also get less torque at the wheels. So this 2nd car is going to be geared to produce 50% more speed and 33% less torque (1.5 * 0.666 = 1).

      Again, you can see how Diesels are paying the price for making their torque at lower revs.

      A much simpler way to think of it is to look at an F1 car. An F1 car only makes about 250ft/lbs of torque. But it makes 700HP. Clearly an F1 car accelerates very fast, thus the torque deficit must not be a problem, and the surfiet of HP is what does the trick.

      The other problem is a Diesel engine will weigh a lot more than a gas engine. In race trim, it will weigh at least 50% more, perhaps even as high as 100% more. This hurts the car under accelleration, cornering and braking.

      So Diesels are out and out at a performance disadvantage on the track. The ACO had to do something ot make it possible to run a Diesel (because they like alternative fuels). In fact, since alternative fuel teams tend to be underfunded and the cars underdeveloped (witness the Caterpillar Diesel that entered Le Mans in 2004), they made the rules such that it wouldn't take a lot of money to make a competitive Diesel car.

      So Audi came in, spent a lot of money got the rules changed to be any more favorable and of course ended up with a car that cannot be beat.

      And I don't have a problem with Audi doing that. But the ACO has to adjust the rules. You cannot make it so only one team can compete, especially if that company refuses to sell their engines to privateers so they can compete.

      So IMSA (who runs American Le Mans) changed the rules to try to even the playing field. And it's getting more even. Under many conditions, the Lola AER was able to keep up with the Audis. The only question now is are the Audis still sandbagging to keep their edge? I'm sure they'd like to not tip their hand too soon and give the ACO an accurate gauge as to how much to slow them down next year at Le Mans.

      ACO doesn't go by HP directly (no one does, too difficult to measure and control), so they make up regulations of boost, displacement, restrictors, etc. If you brought an electric car, they'd have to come up with entirely new rules. I guess they'd just watch you practice and extrapolate from there.

      In reality, an electric car could be powerful enough to compete, but it would be lucky to go around the track 3 times before needing to be recharged. And I don't think you could recharge it or even change batteries fast enough to overcome stopping 6x as much as other cars.
      • 9 Years Ago
      What Audi is doing is simply amazing, I am getting into diesels because of Audi.
      • 9 Years Ago
      #4. I believe I read recently that Audi won't bring deisels to the US until they are certified for all 50 states, not just 45.

      As the 5 missing states have a lot of per capita $$$s, it doesn't make sense to Audi to exclude the 5.
      • 9 Years Ago
      well that's real easy to do when your only competitor spends 1/10th of what you spend
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