The second full day of testing ahead of the 14th annual Petit Le Mans was held yesterday during a four hour testing session. Romain Dumas set the fastest time of the session during his second to last lap in the #1 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 TDI with a lap time of 1:08.394.
The 14th annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta is just 9 days away and the entry list is more impressive than ever. The 1,000 mile/10-hour enduro is the final round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series and the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Because of the strong participation in the ILMC this year, many international teams that aren’t seen during the regular season have entered this year’s event. As it stands now, 58 cars will fight for 53 starting grid positions.
After a 2010 Le Mans season that Audi Sport would rather forget, they are back for 2011 with this all-new Audi R18 TDI prototype. Powered by a 3.7-liter V6 TDI, Audi hopes that the diesel powered R18 does a much better job fighting the Peugeots off than the R15 and R15 Plus did. Audi says that the chassis and aerodynamics package contains the best features and know-how of the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI. As with the Acura prototypes, Audi has fitted the R18 with identically sized front and rear wheels. Audi says this helps maintain a more balanced weight distribution.
Audi will field three Audi R18 cars at Le Mans under Audi Sport Team Joest, as well as campaigning the R18 in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup for a total of seven endurance races in 2011. Because the car is still very much under development, Audi will be sending two R15 TDI Plus cars to Sebring to compete in the first round of the ILMC, and plans are for the R18 to make its debut at the Spa-Francorchamps 6 hour endurance on May 8th, 2011. The R18 TDI will make it’s only North American appearance for 2011 at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on October 1st, 2011.
We wish the Audi Sport team all the luck and congratulate them on building this absolutely sinister looking prototype. We can’t wait to see the R18 TDI run at Petit Le Mans next year!
The S:S:L team of Jack Baruth, Nick Salvatore and Zerin Dube are hard at work in Atlanta for the cornerstone race of the American Le Mans series, Petit Le Mans. We arrived at Road Atlanta yesterday and spent the day meeting folks, getting some paperwork taken care of, and enjoying the sights and sounds of the race. Today, we get to work to bring you as much photographic coverage as we can, along with a couple of interviews with the Audi Sport team. In the meantime, enjoy these photos from Day 1. We’ll have MANY more throughout the weekend!
The 10th Annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta is done and in the books after one of the most exciting finishes of any American Le Mans races in recent memory. After 1000 miles, it was just 0.923 seconds that put the LMP1 Audi R15 piloted by Dindo Capello and Allan McNish in front of the LMP2 Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder driven by Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard and Patrick Long. This victory comes on the heels of a tough season for Audi where the Porsche RS Spyders have escaped them all year long. The victory at Petit Le Mans is the first overall victory for Audi since the St. Petersburg race in March.
The win for Audi wasn’t easy, as Dindo Capello had a seemingly insurmountable 30-second gap to close on Dumas with just a half hour of racing left. Fortunately for Audi, a caution flag worked to Capello’s favor and allowed the R15 to work its way up through traffic. With 15 laps to go, Capello took an amazing 8 minutes to pass Dumas and clinch the overall victory. The victory gave Dindo Capello and co-driver Allan McNish their second consecutive LMP1 driver’s championship.
#6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Maassen/Briscoe/Collard
In GT1, Oliver Gavin, Max Papis and Oliver Beretta took a class victory in their #4 Corvette Racing C6.R, escaping the fate of DNFs for the #3 Corvette Racing C6.R and the pole-sitting Lista Racing Maserati MC12.
GT2 proved to be a great class to watch as the Porsches of Flying Lizard Motorsports battled it out with Wolf Henzler and Dominik Farnbacher in the Tafel Racing Porsches. At the end of 1000 miles though, it was the team Jorg Bergmeister, Johannes van Overbeek and Mark Lieb in the #45 Flying Lizard 911 GT3 RSR that took a three lap victory over Tafel Racing. The pole-sitting Risi Competizione Ferrari F430, driven by Jaime Melo, Mika Salo, and Johnny Mowlem, was the dominant car in GT2 until electrical problems took them out of contention.
All in all, this was the most exciting Petit Le Mans that we can recall in our minds. Anytime a 10 hour or 1000 mile race comes down to a fraction of a second between first and second, you know the attendees got their money’s worth. We hope next year’s race at Road Atlanta will be even better!
Petit Le Mans @ Road Atlanta Race result (Round 10 of 11 races of the American Le Mans Series) 1. McNish/Capello/Pirro (GB/I/I), Audi R10 (LMP1), 394 laps 2. Minassian/Sarrzin/Klien (F/F/A), Peugeot 908, 394 3. Werner/Luhr (D/D), Audi R10 (LMP1), 394 4. Briscoe/Castroneves (AUS/BR), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 394 5. Bernhard/Dumas (D/F), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 394 6. Maassen/Long/Collard (D/USA/F), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 392 7. Leitzinger/Franchitti/Lally (USA/GB/USA), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 390 8. de Ferran/Pagenaud (BRA/F), Acura ARX-01B (LMP2), 388 9. Dyson/Smith (USA/GB), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 384 10. O’Conell/Magnussen/Fellows (USA/DK/USA), Chevrolet Corvette (GT1), 365