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.
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.
We’re very sad that we aren’t going to be at Road Atlanta this year for Petit Le Mans, but that isn’t keeping us from paying close attention to the on-track events going on during the week. Yesterday was a test session for all the ALMS cars and unfortunately the Nissan DeltaWing was hit by a GTC car while coming down into turn 12, causing it to roll over. Nissan has released the footage of the incident and really shows the dangers of multi-class racing. We’re hearing that the DeltaWing team has pulled an all-nighter and is expected to have the car back on track later today.
We just can’t get enough of the 2013 Viper and get a little too excited when Drive SRT publishes videos like the one above. The video is 39 seconds of raw American awesomeness featuring the 2013 Viper GTS-R testing at Virginia International Raceway. The Viper GTS-R is expected to make its début at one of the remaining 2012 American Le Mans Series races but SRT hasn’t announced exactly which race it will début at. Our money is on Road America in August.
The American Le Mans Series confirmed today that they will be running at Austin’s new Circuit of the Americas in 2013. Dates have not been announced yet, however we expect the full schedule to be released just before Petit Le Mans in October. Read the full ALMS press release after the jump.
The street legal 2013 SRT® Viper unveiled to the world today at the New York International Auto Show isn’t the only high-performance snake making a triumphant return in 2012.
The purpose-built, non-street legal and competition-ready SRT Viper GTS-R also was revealed as part of the Chrysler Group’s announcement that a factory-backed SRT Viper Racing team will return to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in 2012.
“Racing has been a significant part of the illustrious history of Viper not only with wins on the track, but also in the continued development of the street cars – and our new 2013 SRT Viper models are proof of those lessons learned,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – Street and Racing Technology Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. “Now with our new team and the launch of the GTS-R, we’re excited and proud to begin writing more chapters in the racing history of the Viper later this summer.”
Alex Job Racing and Lotus Motorsports have teamed up to compete in the American Le Mans Series GT class for 2012. The new team has been named Lotus Alex Job Racing and will be a factory-supported effort focused on North America. The car will be a 2012 Lotus Evora GTE, which those of you who watched Petit Le Mans last year will be familiar with. While Lotus AJR will be skipping the ALMS/WEC season opener at Sebring next month, they promise that they will have a full fledged effort for the rest of the season starting with the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix the weekend of April 14th.
We’re glad to see more teams entering the American Le Mans Series as there has been some question as to how long the series will last with some of the big players being split between ALMS and the World Endurance Championship. Though the European Lotus Evoras didn’t have much luck at Petit Le Mans last year, the fact that this effort is factory backed might result in some additional competition for BMW, Ferrari, and Porsche. The driver lineup has not yet been announced but there is at least one rendering of the Lotus AJR Evora with the name B.Senna on the door.
Full Lotus AJR Racing press release after the jump.