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Click the R10 above for a high res gallery from the Detroit race

The self proclaimed leader in "green racing", the American Le Mans Series, will be losing one of its premier teams for 2009. After winning nine consecutive LMP1 championships with the R8 and then the R10 TDI, Audi will no longer have a works team in the ALMS in 2009. The only official Audi appearance in North America will be the debut run of the new R15 TDI at Sebring in March. After that, the R15 will go to Le Mans and Audi will be represented by the new A4 in DTM and the R8 LMS in GT3 racing.

Audi hasn't indicated whether it will make the R10s available to Champion Racing or any other team. Champion has been operating the Audi Sport North America program for several years. The current economic conditions have been cited by Audi racing boss Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich as part of the reason for withdrawing from ALMS and also the European Le Mans Series.


Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Audi]

PRESS RELEASE

Audi Adjusts U.S., European Motorsports Activities for 2009

  • The focus will be Europe's DTM series, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and customer sport programs?
  • No activities in the 2009 American Le Mans Series
INGOLSTADT, Germany, Dec 5, 2008 - Audi announced it will concentrate its motorsports efforts for 2009 on the new R15 TDI sport prototype for the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans races, the re-worked race touring car A4 for the DTM circuit, and the newly developed R8 LMS for racing customer use in the GT3 class.

Audi said it will not be represented by its factory team, Audi Sport North America, in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in 2009.

Audi entered the American Le Mans Series in the year 2000 and has been instrumental in building up this championship series ever since. The championship has become one of the most fascinating motorsport series with a growing fan base. The ALMS is recognized internationally and is regarded as the world's best sports car championship.?

"The decision to withdraw was a very difficult one for these reasons. Furthermore, with the Champion racing team we 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. " Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, the head of Audi Motorsport, in relating the difficult decision by Audi AG to call off ALMS participation next year. "We achieved an unprecedented winning series together. Since the 2000 season Audi has won the LMP1 title nine-times in succession in this high-caliber sports car championship. Our brand dominated the circuit last season by taking seven wins in eleven races."

Dr. Ullrich also noted how technology developed for Audi's racing efforts in ALMS and elsewhere is turning into benefits for U.S. consumers. "TDI Technology in racing supported the market launch of Audi TDI Technology in the U.S. perfectly"; he said.

While Audi AG plans to concentrate its factory involvement at European venues throughout the 2009 season in these economically tough times, American fans of Audi motorsports will be treated to a premiere: The all-new Audi R15 TDI sports prototype will make its debut March 21, 2009 during the 12-hour race at Sebring, Fla. This international racing classic, which will be contested by Audi Sport Team Joest, is traditionally regarded as excellent preparation and a final test-race for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. At the same time, the race at Sebring with its special demands made of man and machine guarantees excellent motorsports competition.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      damn i guess they got bored of winning....
      • 6 Years Ago
      You can win all the races you want, but with Nov's piss-poor sales (for everyone), I can see how racing, one of the most expensive forms of advertising, is not seen as cost-effective right now.
        • 6 Years Ago
        True. The poor economic situation worldwide is going to have major repercussions throughout the auto industry for a while. The more "frivolous" company endeavors such as racing will be one of the first things in line to take a hit.
      FENNIX
      • 6 Years Ago
      ALMS- GREEN DIESELS- AUDI the biggest reason for going to watch a diesel eat up the track-TRUE HYBRID! Yet- I've been waiting for the diesel to come to USA! I've been waiting to by one, all because of the most winning car! Here we go again, just as things became great, the plug is pulled, all advancement in auto technoligy comes from ALMS racing (except NOTHING comes from NASCAR), Honda out of F-1, now Audi out of ALMS, is simple better, was the old days the best for the sport, at least the costs where less. I know basketball , baeball football payers all seem to get paid huge dollars, for what? We all drive cars, Audi advanced so much for this sport, open everyones eyes, sad day it is., hell is freezing over!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda North America pays for racing progams in NA out of their NA marketing budget.
      Similarly F1 is paid for by Honda outside of the USA, because it does not help sell Honda cars here.
      Thus Honda's decisions affecting US racing is an entirely separate issue from F1.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, that just stinks. Guess I'll have to root for the Penske Porsches this year. Come back in 2010, Dr. Ulrich.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Recently Audi has spurned entry of pivateers in their cars in LMP1 and yet their PR does not seem to preclude this possibility for 2009. It would be great if Champion Audi (read Dave) could get a Sponsor and run in the other ALMS events in perhaps the existing R10 design. This might be an idea as it does not seems that the GT3 Audi R8 will find a way into ALMS for 2009.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow that saddens me. I had planned to attend the races at Lime Rock this summer since it's the closest venue to me to see the R10s. Hopefully I'll get to see the R15 next year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      'Bout time... I'm getting bored watching audi winning everything.
        • 6 Years Ago
        With GM going through the mess it is, you might not see a Corvette win either.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The last race at Road Atlanta was anything but boring...Peugeot has really stepped up game and has been pushing Audi HARD.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And don't forget that Honda is exiting F1 effective immediately. Motorsport costs just got out of hand and car companies need all the liquidity they can get right now.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The irony is that Audi has been crying for someone to race them in LMP1 for years, and now that Acura steps to the top class up they bow out. Brilliant.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Considering the US economy (in specific) is in a state of recession with no clear rehabilitation strategies, it should come at no surprise that Audi would cancel their very expensive advertisement campaign. We're simply not buying cars. Not even Audis. Still, it's frightening to see the entity that single-handedly defined sports car/endurance racing in the 21st century drop it's full season program. I have the sinking feeling that this is the first of a string of similar announcements in ALMS.

      I hope Audi permits Champion to campaign the R10, but who has the kind of money to sponsor that magnitude of race program? Would Champion consider getting the R8 GT3 LMS homologated for LMGT2? I wonder...

      If GM does get the government bailout, they will not race with taxpayer money. Pratt&Miller could continue to develop and run the C6.R GT2s independently, but I don't see it in the cards.

      I don't see Porsche or Ferrari's GT2 programs going anywhere: Porsche has got to have boatloads in cash reserve and Ferrari's next several years of production capacity is already spoken for.

      The big question is Honda. Since they quit F1, will they concentrate their resources on the ALMS program or does that simply mean there is not the budget for racing? I would venture to guess that Honda's financial involvement with the ALMS teams is significantly less than that of F1, being that all three ALMS teams have independent title and minor sponsors (Panasonic, Patron, Lowe's) which improves our chances of seeing the teams on the track. I have little doubt that if Honda bankrolled the entire ALMS program like Audi has, they would be following suit and closing shop.

      I hope things pick up soon. It was JUST getting to the good part!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda and Audi are just the start, there will be additional withdrawals, and others will cut back.

      Regarding F1, there are no North American races, no race in France and the German GP is in doubt. Don't you think that BMW, MB and Renault are wondering just why they are competing?

      Nascar, if the Detroit 3 isn't in bankruptcy, can you imagine the PR disaster that sponsoring the France family spec racer series with tax payer money would be?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Retire while you are on the top!
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