Audi announced today that two Audi Sport R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 cars will enter the 2013 12 Hours of Sebring to be held on March 16th at Sebring International Raceway. The 61st running of the 12 Hours of Sebring marks the final year of the event under the American Le Mans Series name. Beginning in 2014, Sebring will become part of the new series created by the merger of ALMS and GRAND-AM.
Audi debuted their first LMP sports car at Sebring in 1999 and has since gone on to win 22 podiums and 10 overall wins at Sebring. While we’ve become used to seeing Audi battle at Sebring over the years, 2013 marks the end of an era for Audi at Sebring. As of 2014, LMP1 class cars will no longer be allowed to run the event which means the 2013 event will be the last time for the foreseeable future that we’ll see Audi battling it out at Sebring. The tweet from Joest Racing earlier this morning says it all:
On March 16th the Audi Sport Team Joest says farewell to Sebring. Two Audi R 18 e-tron quattro will fight for victory.
— Joest Racing (@JoestRacing) January 21, 2013
The Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich stated “We’re in for a very emotional race weekend on which we’ll be taking the fans along on a journey into our past. Sebring is where Audi’s sports car era that has been so successful began.”
For the farewell race of Audi Sport at Sebring, two R18 e-tron quattro cars will be entered. One R18 e-tron will be a 2012-spec car, while the other will be an updated version that will continue on in the full World Endurance Championship season. The driver lineup will consist of Marcel Fässler/Oliver Jarvis/Benoît Tréluyer and Lucas di Grassi/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish. Tom Kristensen holds the record for the most overall wins at Sebring with six victories.
We here at Speed:Sport:Life are sad to see this era come to an and, and you can bet that we’ll be spending today making travel reservations for the 61st running of the race. We suggest that you all do the same. Check out all the details on Sebring International Raceway’s site.