Audi R15 TDI - Click above for a high-res gallery
The dismal economic conditions over the past nine months caused Audi to withdraw its long-running full time effort from the American Le Mans Series this year just as an all new race car was debuting. So far, Audi's R15 TDI has only appeared on the track once, at the 12 Hours of Sebring and currently is only scheduled to run at Le Mans. The R15 took both the overall victory and the Green Challenge victory at Sebring.
Audi of America president Johan de Nysschen understands the value of racing to Audi's promotional efforts and would like the R15s to compete full time in 2010. Before that can happen, the finances have to improve. Earlier this year there were rumors that the R15 might also run at the last two ALMS races of the year, the Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca events. Audi has denied these plans, but if things pick up in the coming months, it could still happen.
de Nysschen told Autoweek that the company plans to return to the ALMS if the economy improves and is keeping team members working so that they are prepared.