Following the close of the 2008 racing season, Audi announced that after three years competition in North America and Europe, the groundbreaking R10 TDI would be retired. At the time of the December announcement, the German company declared that the cars would not be made available to private teams. Instead, the company would focus on the all new R15 TDI for the 24 hours of Le Mans and the European DTM program.
The company has now changed its plans and has decided to sell two of the R10s to the owner of one of its DTM teams, Dr Colin Kolles. Kolles will campaign the R10s in the Le Mans Series in Europe as well as the round the clock French race. Part of the reason for Audi's curtailment of its 2009 activities was budgetary. Given that, the technical support that will be provided by Audi engineers to the Kolles team will likely come at Kolles's expense. Hopefully, someone here in North America will step up and take on at least one R10 for the ALMS as well.
Private team plans LMS with Audi R10 TDI
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Ingolstadt – The successful Audi R10 TDI is likely to appear again on European race tracks in 2009. While Audi will contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of its factory commitment with the new R15 TDI in 2009, Dr
Colin Kolles is planning to buy two Audi R10 TDI cars for his racing team. The privately fielded prototypes are planned to return to the venues of their greatest exploits in 2009: to the European-based Le Mans Series and to the 24-hour race at Le Mans, in which the Audi R10 TDI has not been beaten so far.
Since the 2006 season Audi has been cooperating with Dr Colin Kolles, who has entered two Audi A4 DTM cars in the DTM since that time. Now, the team owner based in Greding near Ingolstadt wants to extend his motorsport involvement to the sportscar area on his own initiative. The team plans to contest the 24-hour race at Le Mans on 13 and 14 June 2009 as well as the five rounds of the European-based Le Mans Series.
Audi Sport will sell two R10 TDI vehicles to Dr Kolles for this purpose and complement the agreement by a service package encompassing support for the private racing commitments by members of Audi Sport's technical staff.
"We welcome the fact that Dr Kolles decided to take on this commitment and wants to purchase two Audi R10 TDI cars," said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "While on the factory side of the house we are concentrating on the development and fielding of the new R15 TDI sportscar as well as on the DTM, we are pleased to see that the R10 TDI will be privately entered in future and that racing vehicles of the Audi brand will continue to be represented in the Le Mans Series. That is why we agreed to the sale of the cars. However, our involvement will be strictly limited to providing support under the terms of the service agreement."
In the 2006, 2007 and 2008 racing years, the Audi R10 TDI clinched as many as 22 overall victories in 38 worldwide entries. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as in the final LM P1 classification of the American Le Mans Series during that time frame the Audi R10 TDI remained unbeaten and last year won the LM P1 class of the European-based Le Mans Series as well.