• Jan 31st 2011 at 1:01PM
  • 11
Audi R18 Testing at Sebring - Click above for high-res image gallery

Audi has officially put its new R18 Le Mans racer and all nine of its factory drivers through their paces. The pair of closed-cockpit Audi bruisers and one last-generation R15 TDI spent some time lapping Sebring as part of preparations for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. Each of the cadre of pilots was able to get some seat time in all three vehicles. Interestingly enough, Audi has made it clear that the R15 "Plus Plus" will campaign alone at this year's 12 Hours of Sebring. Audi typically uses the venue as a dry run for new hardware before showing up in France.

At this point, it appears that he R18 will enjoy its race debut at Le Mans instead. Audi motorsport boss Wolfgang Ullrich said that Sebring offers up a unique test of any race car's mechanicals, and that the warm, dry weather in Florida is more conducive to testing than European venues. Hit the jump for the full press blast.

[Source: Audi]
Show full PR text
Successful test for the Audi R18

* Two new Audi R18 cars used in tests at Sebring (USA)
* Preparation for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours
* All nine "factory" drivers shared the test tasks

Ingolstadt, January 31 - Four and a half months before the Le Mans 24 Hours, preparations for the endurance classic are in full swing at Audi. Two new Audi R18 cars and one Audi R15 TDI were used in tests at Sebring (U.S. state of Florida).

The program planned for the tradition-steeped American circuit specified endurance runs for one of the completely re-developed LMP1 sports cars while the second Audi R18 was primarily used for development work. The Audi R15 "plus plus" that will be fielded at the 12-hour race at Sebring - the season opener of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) - completed a long run as well. In addition, the basic setup for the race in March was worked out on the vehicle.

During the tests, which ended on Saturday, the nine Audi "factory" drivers took turns at the wheel so that all of them had the opportunity to drive each of the three sports cars.

"We're very pleased with the performance of the Audi R18 at our first outing at Sebring," said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "We opted for this race track because it makes high demands on the mechanical systems of our vehicles. The temperatures are better than in Europe right now, plus the dry weather provides us with assurance that we're able to conduct the endurance runs as planned. On a wet track the loads would be lower and the test results therefore less conclusive."

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I figure they didn't run the new car at Sebring because they didn't want Peugeot to get a glimpse of it's performance.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There's no other place to test the car that would simulate Sebring conditions. Sebring has a lack of elevation and is just straight flat because of its airstrip background. Every other track around the world has some element of elevation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In other news, the 24 Hours of Daytona took place last weekend with no notice from AB at all.
        • 4 Years Ago
        racing > testing

        ALMS hasn't started yet.

        Also, Ferrari is bringing the 458 Italia to Rolex Grand Am.


        They're going to do like Porsche and make cars that run in the series with minimal modification.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ALMS > Grand Am

        ALMS has better cars
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lord Vader, your LeMans racer is ready for your inspection, sir.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The fact that there are close-to-production race cars in Grand Am is really the only thing that series has going for it. The prototypes are stupid in every way, shape and form (litterally).

        I would really like to see Grand Am and ALMS consolidate into one series. I'm tired of the fans/ drivers/ talent/ teams money being spread out thinly over so many little series that no one cares about. Sports car racing needs 1 massive series like F1 has.
        • 4 Years Ago
        i wondered the same all weekend. One of the biggest events in US racing, but not a single mention of it (Oh wait, they did mention that article about the blind guy driving around the same track..AFTER the event) -_-
      • 4 Years Ago
      Whether or not it makes the car faster, that tall fin running down the center of the car has some impressive advertising potential... so this car should be well funded.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Fin = major ugly. It should be banned, it ruins an otherwise beautiful car. Get the stability some other way.
    Share This Photo X