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The "1" in "LMP1" is supposed to signify that this is the top class in the ALMS. But for a good stretch of this season, the top of the podium has featured LMP2 cars, instead. For Audi, long the top P1 team, it is particularly troublesome that German rival Porsche is the team ahead of them during this P1 slump. And as they head to Road America for the next round of the series, they are saying "enough is enough." Audi is telling anyone who will listen that the Porsches are going down. If that sounds cocky, it shouldn't. Audi should be confident here as they've never lost a race at this familiar course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The fast track should allow that big diesel to run free and show off all of its torque once again.
Since an LMP2 car has outright won the last five races in a row, the governing body of the ALMS has decided to slow the class down for the 2008 season by adding mandatory weight to each car. Now, if that sounds like the ALMS is helping Audi win, it is. But the rules should favor the LMP1 class to win, and five losses in a row for the class means something is amiss, so a little tweaking is understandable.
Full press release with weekend schedule after the jump.
[Source: Audi Motorsport]
Audi aim to end LM P2 cars winning streak
- Elkhart Lake next stop for the American Le Mans Series
- Fastest track of the year
- Audi unbeaten at Road America to date
The Audi R10 TDI has been front page news in the American Le Mans Series since March 2006. With the revolutionary Diesel Sportscar, Audi is also proving just how efficient modern Diesel engines are on the race track. The programme in the world's most important Sportscar racing series is important in paving the way for AUDI AG's forthcoming Diesel offensive in America.
Next stop on the Audi R10 TDI's US tour is Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin state. The 6.563 kilometre (4.048 miles) long "Road America" circuit is the fastest on the American Le Mans Series calendar – and one which the Audi drivers are especially looking forward to.
The Diesel Sportscar, developed specifically for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is at home on fast circuits. This is why Team Audi Sport North America believes it has the opportunity to beat the preferentially treated LM P2 cars, which recently celebrated five successive overall victories. As a consequence, the LM P2 car's minimum weight has been increased by 50 kilograms by the rule makers for the 2008 season.
Defending ALMS LM P1 Champions Dindo Capello and Allan McNish head to Road America as leaders of the LM P1 drivers' championship. They hold an 18 point lead over their team-mates Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner. The race starts on Saturday (11 August) at 4.p.m. local time (11 p.m. in Germany) and lasts four hours. An extra three points are awarded due to the longer race distance. Audi is unbeaten at Road America to date.
Quotes before the race at Road America
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "In Road America we aim to continue with the big victories we recorded at the beginning of the season. However, this is no easy task as we have two handicaps handed out to us by the regulations when compared to the LM P2 cars: the higher weight and smaller fuel tank. We also lose time during the pit stops because diesel flows slower into the tank than gasoline. In spite of this, we'll do everything possible to beat the LM P2 cars – even though there are no points awarded in the American Le Mans Series for doing this."
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "After having raced at several circuits that didn't quite suit our R10 TDI, we can hardly wait to drive at Road America. We should be capable of extracting the full potential of our Diesel Sportscar there. Our last overall victory was more than four months ago. It's high time that Allan (McNish) and I return to the winner's circle."
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #1): "Road America is a fantastic track that has some very fast sections. It is demanding and you need to be quite courageous. Dindo (Capello) and I love the track. We were very strong there last year, but we nevertheless lost the win to our team-mates just before the finish. That means we have a score to settle at Road America. In view of the way the season's been running up until now, we are very hungry for success."
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #2): "In my opinion, Road America is one of the best circuits on the American Le Mans Series calendar. I really enjoy going back to race there. I have fond memories, not only of our win last year. The battle I had with Tom (Kristensen) in 2002 was even better, and I'll never forget it. At Road America I hope that Audi is finally seen in a more familiar position: right at the front."
Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Every one of us is looking forward to Road America. It's an extremely fast track with one very long straight. Road America is a big challenge for the driver, just how I like it. The R10 TDI is designed and built for Le Mans – and therefore rather more for Road America than for Lime Rock or Mid Ohio. I hope that we can get the R10 TDI right at the front again."
Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): "We lost too much time in the pits at Mid Ohio. We analysed exactly where we can be faster. As a team we do not give up. Even if Porsche has an advantage we want to beat them at Road America. It'll be difficult to repeat last year's one-two finish. But we'll definetly try."
The schedule at Road America
Thursday, 9 August
13:50 – 14:20 Test session (LM P1 / LM P2)
14:20 – 15:20 Test session (all classes)
15:20 – 15:50 Test session (GT1 / GT2)
Friday, 10 August
09:00 – 10:00 Practice 1
13:20 – 14:20 Practice 2
14:30 – 14:50 Qualifying (GT1 / GT2)
15:00 – 15:20 Qualifying (LM P1 / LM P2)
Sunday, 11 August
10:00 – 10:25 Warm-up
16:00 – 20:00 Race