Click above for a high-res gallery of the Audi R15 TDI
It was a sad day for the American Le Mans Series when Audi announced they were abandoning their U.S. racing program back in December. The German automaker had been a staple of the series since its inception, but with the exception of the 12 Hours of Sebring, which Audi won, and possibly a couple of races at the end of the season, the R15 TDI has and will be absent from the starting grid in 2009.
Things are looking up for next year, however, with Johan de Nysschen, President of Audi America, telling AutoWeek that his company "would like to" return to the ALMS in 2010. Audi has apparently retained the core members of the race team and intends to come back to the series if economic conditions allow. de Nysschen also claims that the 24 Hours of Le Mans remains a top priority, and it would take a lot for Audi to quit the world's most prestigious endurance race. "We've got a proud record to protect at Le Mans," he told AW.
So while Audi's LMP1 program is not in doubt, we can only hope that their competitive spirit leads to another full season of racing in the ALMS next year.