Ex Formula 1 driver contests American Le Mans Series finale Audi R10 TDI is year’s most successful prototype Le Mans winning trio Capello/Kristensen/McNish visit finale After Swiss driver Marcel Fässler, Audi now gives another driver the opportunity to contest a race with the powerful 650 hp plus Audi R10 TDI: At the American Le Mans Series finale at Laguna Seca (US state of California) on 18 October, the former Dutch Formula 1 driver Christijan Albers starts together with Emanuele Pirro (Italy) for Team Audi Sport North America. The Audi R10 TDI with start number 2 will be driven by the usual German duo of Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner.The 29-year old Christijan Albers raced in Formula 1 between 2005 and 2007. The Dutchman has been racing an Audi A4 in the DTM for Audi customer team Futurecom TME since the beginning of the year. He completed his first kilometres with the Audi R10 TDI at an Audi test track and during several demonstration laps at the DTM race at Zandvoort. "After having raced an Audi in the 2008 DTM up till now, I’m delighted to have been given this chance by Audi," says Christijan Albers. "I consider it a special treat to be able to compete in an Audi R10 TDI at Laguna Seca. Together with Emanuele Pirro I hope to be able to achieve the targets Audi sets us at the season finale in America. My career in motorsport spans 16 years but this race still represents something completely new: I’ve never competed in a sportscar race and have never raced at Laguna Seca. I’m happy to learn and really looking forward to the race."Marcel Fässler made an outstanding impression in the Audi R10TDI in the two races he contested at Road America and Detroit. Since the Swiss driver has other commitments on the final American Le Mans Series weekend, a further start for the Swiss this season was out of the question."We are faced with the task of rejuvenating our sportscar driving squad for the future," explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "Christijan (Albers) has impressed us in the DTM and certainly has the potential to be successful in sportscars. He gets his first opportunity for this purpose at Laguna Seca." The Audi drivers can start the last race of the American Le Mans Series season in a relaxed frame of mind. Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner won the Drivers’ Championship in the LM P1 class in Detroit two races before the end of the season. Audi was confirmed as winner of the Manufacturers’ Championship and Audi Sport North America as winner of the Teams’ Championship at Mosport.It is also certain that the Audi R10 TDI is the year’s most successful prototype in its third season in the U.S. Audi celebrated six overall victories in the first ten races with the diesel-powered sportscar. Acura/Honda and Porsche both scored two wins.The Laguna Seca track not far from the Californian seaside town Monterey is regarded as a circuit on which the lighter LM P2 sportscars from Acura/Honda and Porsche can fully exploit their weight advantage and give the two R10 TDI prototypes a hard time. "The team is nevertheless incredibly motivated to bring this race home for Audi as well," says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "We’ll do everything possible to finish the season on a high-note for Audi." Team mates Dindo Capello (Italy), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland) well be at Laguna Seca to cheer on their team mates. The three Le Mans winners take part in the final stage of the "Audi Mileage Marathon", which runs from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. The finale of the American Le Mans Series is the penultimate stop of the spectacular efficiency drive across the U.S.With the "Audi Mileage Marathon" Audi prepares the market launch of TDI Technology in North America, whose forerunner has been the revolutionary Audi R10 TDI for the last three years. TDI is regarded as the world’s most successful Efficiency Technology, which, in contrast to the fleet average of the more common spark ignition engines in the U.S., achieves a consumption advantage of up to 40 per centThe Audi R10 TDI, now in its third season, also benefitted from the efficiency of TDI Technology. It won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the third time in succession and furthermore all the titles up for grabs in both the American Le Mans Series and the European based Le Mans Series.Facts & figuresThe Audi driver line-up at Laguna Seca#1 Christijan Albers/Emanuele Pirro #2 Lucas Luhr/Marco Werner Marco Werner about Laguna Seca: "The ‘Cork Screw’ is an extraordinary series of corners and makes Laguna Seca a very special circuit, even though I prefer faster circuits. One problem is the amount of sand that always gets blown onto the circuit by the wind. The grip level is not very high as a result. Nevertheless, racing at Laguna Seca is a lot of fun." Interesting factsThe Audi R10 TDI is unbeaten to date at Laguna Seca. Dindo Capello and Allan McNish won in both 2006 and 2007 ... Audi has won seven of the eight races it has contested at Laguna Seca up to now ... Of the four Audi drivers only Emanuele Pirro has won at Laguna Seca (2001 and 2002) ... Lucas Luhr starts for the first time with the Audi R10 TDI at Laguna Seca, Christijan Albers competes in the first sportscar race of his career ... Because of the length of the race (four hours), an extra five points are awarded at Laguna Seca.
The schedule at Laguna SecaThursday, 16 October16:40 – 17:10 Test session (GT cars)17:10 – 17:40 Test session (all classes)17:40 – 18:40 Test session (prototypes)Friday, 17 October10:05 – 11:05 Free practice13:55 – 14:55 Free practice15:05 – 15:25 Qualifying (GT cars)15:30 – 15:50 Qualifying (prototypes)Saturday, 18 October09:55 – 10:20 Warm-up14:45 – 18:45 Race