Ingolstadt, October 29, 2010 – Six years after its last motorsport commitment in China with the DTM, Audi returns to the “Middle Kingdom.” Audi Sport Team Joest will field two Audi R15 TDI cars at the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) finale at Zhuhai on November 7. The two diesel race sports cars will be driven by Dindo Capello/Romain Dumas and Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish.
For the first time ever, China will host an important endurance race for sports prototypes. The permanent race track of the city of Zhuhai in the province of Guangdong that was inaugurated in 1996 will be the venue of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC). The event will be a good opportunity for Audi to demonstrate the brand’s competence in motorsport and in a country in which Audi has already assumed a leading position: in October, the one millionth vehicle was delivered to a Chinese customer – no other automobile manufacturer in the premium segment has achieved this to date.
Major logistical effort
Audi will contest the 1000-kilometer race at Zhuhai with two of the Audi R15 TDI cars that were successful at Le Mans. Before the event, Audi Sport Team Joest had to perform a major feat in logistics. “As early as September, after the race at Silverstone, we dispatched a sea container,” explains Ralf Jüttner, Technical Director of Audi Sport Team Joest. “We shipped all the garage equipment parts and refuelling rigs that we didn’t need for the race at Road Atlanta as we had separate equipment for that event.”
All the other equipment was sent on its way by air from Germany on October 25. Five single loading units with a total of 27.5 tons of material including the two race cars departed from Frankfurt/Main, Germany. The customs declarations were particularly complex. “We had to capture and document the contents of each individual drawer,” says Jüttner. “Several employees were busy handling the entire logistics operation for weeks.” By comparison, the entry preparations for the near 50 team members of Audi Sport Team Joest involved far less formalities.
As at Silverstone and Road Atlanta, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish will spearhead the Audi squad at Zhuhai. The eight-time Le Mans winner from Denmark and his Scottish team-mate who has won the French endurance classic twice will contest the race in the Audi R15 TDI designated as car number “7.” After his victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Romain Dumas is returning to the cockpit of an Audi R15 TDI for a racing commitment: for the first time the Frenchman will share the car designated as number “8” with Dindo Capello.
Audi R8 LMS to compete for the first time in the same field as the R15 TDI
In addition to the Chinese debut of the sports prototypes the many fans of the Audi brand will witness another premiere at Zhuhai: for the first time, the Audi R8 LMS entered by private teams will compete in the same field as the “factory” fielded Audi R15 TDI sports prototype. No less than three of the GT3 customer sport race cars will fight for the honours in the GTC class at Zhuhai. The United Autosports team is preparing two vehicles. Britons Danny Watts and Richard Meins will share a car with the Hong Kong Chinese Frank Yu, while the second car will be driven by Frenchmen Alain Li and Henri Richard. The newly founded KK Performance team is banking on the Audi R8 LMS in the LM GTC class as well. This cockpit will be shared by the former Formula 1 driver Alex Yoong, from Malaysia, and Hong Kong racers Marchy Li and Matthew Marsh.