Audi Motorsport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich cited the current tough economic times as part of the reason for pulling out of the ALMS. The press release notes that there will be no factory representation. However, it's not clear if the existing R10s will be made available to any other teams such as the Champion Racing team that has been running the cars with factory support in recent years.
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.