• Mar 21st 2007 at 12:57PM
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Despite racking up its eigth victory in a row at last weekend's 12 Hours of Sebring, Audi is reportedly considering dropping out of the American Le Mans Series. Rumors of Audi yanking its unbeatable R10s from competition in the U.S. have been swirling ever since last season when race organizers began changing rules to slow down the Audis and give their competition a hope in hell of winning. Those revisions didn't work and the Audis kept winning.

ALMS organizers also instituted "special" rules for the Audi in last weekend's running of the 12 Hours of Sebring, forcing the R10s to run with a smaller fuel cell that held 81 instead of 90 liters of diesel. Changes like this slow the Audi R10s enough to bring them within spitting distance of the LMP2 class that is incredibly competitive this year thanks to the arrival of Acura on the scene. From Audi's perspective, the temporary rule changes instituted at Sebring apparently were not in line with what it considers fair racing. As such, the German automaker is reviewing where it stands with the American Le Mans Series.

We would hate to see Audi pull out of ALMS, even though it dominates every single race it enters. Ideally, ALMS should be recruiting more competitive LMP1 contenders, or perhaps it could institute a new class of diesel-powered racers called LMD1. We hear the French might be interested.


[Source: Yahoo Sports Germany via German Car Blog]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      @Mike M

      How could the development of the TDi fail? You mean Audi does not know how to develop a 5.5l TDi? The engine was already developed for Q7 anyway. The one in R10 is just a modification for racing. And unfortunately R10 is just part of the strategy to promote Q7 diesel. Audi did not care that this will screw up the whole LMP1 class. Too bad that the privateers do not have a voice there.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Josh, actually ACO increased the weight the all LMP1s had to by (by 25kg) because the R10 was overweight. After the adjustment, the R10 was still overweight, but not as much as it would have been.

      I agree, Audi is griping they spend more than anyone else and might not take the overall win every time. I watch the R8 (customer cars) lose to the LMP675 Lola/AER Dysons at Sears Point a few years back. The sky did not fall that day.

      Sometimes you have to discourage spending to keep the privateers in. And by keeping the privateers in, you make it possible for the werks teams to continue to race too.
      • 8 Years Ago
      In light of the article, I'm not quite sure which application of FTW Audi is referring to
      The Audi R8 is now officially in the same league as the Ford GT40s and Porsche 917s as unstoppable/ unbeatable without interference.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I hope they don't pull out. The appeal of the AMLS is the competition between manufacturers. You kill that appeal when you pass rules that punish innovation.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Audi's pull out certainly wouldn't be great for the health of the series, but it wouldn't hurt it terribly either. It's time to move on.

      One can only stare in awe for so long. About 4 years too long.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If you cannot make your car better just impose a few rules to slow the champion. That's one winning formula for future innovations. Once Audi pulls out, then we can begin calling ALMS a "Race of hopeless losers".
      • 8 Years Ago
      12# Bingo! ;)
      • 8 Years Ago
      I am (predictably) with everything Ian said.

      P1 could be fixed by neutering the Diesels unless the manufacturers agree to sell Diesels to privateers. This needs to be done so that LMP1 doesn't end up like GT1. The privateers are needed for car count and to keep the werks teams pushing the envelope. If you can't make it possible for privateers to compete cost-effectively, your series will be in a lot of trouble.

      In an ideal world, Judd would develop an ACO-spec Diesel and sell it to Pescarolo and Creation. But there's just no money for them to develop an engine they will only sell 10 of.

      I wish I saw a way to save GT1. When Pratt & Miller and Prodrive show up and compete, the results are amazing. We've seen this over the last 6 years. But the way it is now, GM will (wisely) just pack up and move over to Grand Am where Pratt & Miller campaign the G6.GXP.R (soon to be G8) and SCCA where Pratt & Miller campaign the CTS-Vs. There will still be good racing out there in this class, it just won't be in ALMS.

      If it weren't for P2, I'd say the time of the prototype is over. With supercars as fast as they are now, it's time for the winner of Le Mans to be a car you can actually see on the road again, like it was when the Ford GT40 and the McLaren F1 ran.

      I am bummed Mazda dumped the rotary. I can't say I'm a rotary fan, but having each team bring something different to the table is great. Having them all have to buy a spec motor is not as great.

      Speaking of sounds, I still miss the Panoz LMP-1 roadster. That blat blat blat was amazing, and seeing the engine up front and the driver way back there just in front of the rear wing was so quirky.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Rule changes happen all the time -- whenever the balance is lost. It's fantastic that diesel technology got a boost -- Audi exploited the rules for dominance, and they (and diesel power) have reaped benefits. It's time the rules caught up to keep competition interesting. Too much dominance can kill competition, and that's what's happening here.

      If Audi wants to move on, great. If they want to stick it out and continue improving in a competitive environment, great.

      Nobody watches racing when you know who's gonna win. LMP1 and GT1 are BORING brand-polishing exercises now. Racing would be more interesting if both Audi and Corvette found new formulas.
      • 8 Years Ago
      ALMS officials came from IMSA and still remember the "Porsche parade" days in the 70s and 80s. Better racing unfortunately comes from more control, not less (eg: NASCAR). It's a shame because Audi had turned in one of the most impressive and dominating performances in racing history.

      Underneath the skin all NASCAR racers are 95% tghe same, with the engine block casting being the only differentiating piece. By comparison, trying to legislate in closeness seems tame, yet while NASCAR gets a pass, ALMS gets roasted for it. Strange!
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is really a fairly silly argument.

      1) Audi can do whatever they want to.
      2) ACO and ALMS can do whatever they want to.
      3) Everybody else can do whatever they want to.

      Whining about how advantaged the diesels are is silly. If the sanctioning bodies want to level the field, great! Good engineering comes from working around constraints, either physical or rules-based ones. If Audi decides to take their cars and go home, great.

      As far as diesels having no place in cars, well, I guess you're entitled to your opinion. Fortunately, I can ALSO do whatever I want, rather than what YOU want. Which is cool.

      "Audi forced these regulations only to promote their line of turbo diesels"

      What? Forced? How'd they do that?

      Promotion is Job 1 for professional motorsports. Why do you think all the cars have all those, you know, words on them? Engineering development is Job 2. Techniques from motorsport trickle down into stuff I can buy, which is very cool.

      I, too, miss the Mazda rotary prototypes. I was disappointed that ACO decided that they were not allowable. Frankly, I think that there's a good case to be made for (rather than restricting displacement or inlet restrictors) limiting the fuel allotment. I think one of the major racing leagues was considering it.

      Anyhow...free actors acting freely. That's good.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Audi could not be blamed for pulling out if special rules continue to be imposed on them just to equalize every other racers chances of winning. That is not what racing is about.
      To the world and I hope to the U.S. market, Audi prowess is proving the power, durability, endurance and quality of the DIESEL engine.
      We need more diesel power for our everday automobiles but American dealers/manufactuers are reluctant to deal with them.
      Why are the Europeans so dedicated to diesel power?

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