TEAM NEWS: New terrain again for Audi R10 TDI

Photo by John Thawley Team Audi Sport North America breaks new ground once again with the Audi R10 TDI only 14 days after the accident-packed race at Lime Rock: The Le Mans winning diesel sportscar has, as yet, not driven a single metre at Mid Ohio (US state of Ohio). Dindo Capello/Allan McNish and Emanuele Pirro/Marco Werner therefore face yet another big challenge on the weekend of 21 July during the seventh round of the American Le Mans Series.

The track at Mid Ohio is only 3.634 kilometres (2.258 miles) long and has 13 corners, some of which are off-camber and lead over blind crests – a good terrain for the lighter cars running in the LM P2 class, which are unbeaten in the American Le Mans Series for four races and which controlled the pace at Mid Ohio last year.

Even the Audi R8, predecessor to the Audi R10 TDI, which won 63 times in 80 races, had difficulties at Mid Ohio: Two wins from five starts around the "roller-coaster" like track: In 2002, Frank Biela/Emanuele Pirro, 2004 JJ Lehto/Marco Werner. It was so cold on race day last year that Dindo Capello and Allan McNish had trouble getting the tyres on their R8 up to working temperature on the newly resurfaced track.

However, it should be significantly warmer this time, and in contrast to the R8, the Audi R10 TDI has traction control which is of paramount importance on the smooth tarmac at Mid Ohio.

The second-half of the 2007 American Le Mans Series opens with the race about three hours drive northeast of Detroit. The world’s fastest sportscars share the headlines with the IndyCar Series for the second time this year. Possibly a good omen for Audi Sport North America: The team celebrated first and second overall in St. Petersburg at the beginning of April when they shared top billing with the IndyCars for the first time.

The Audi drivers have the opportunity to test on the circuit at Mid Ohio for 90 minutes on Thursday, 19 July. Grid positions will be decided on Friday evening in qualifying, the race is started on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. local time (9:15 p.m. in Germany) and lasts for 2 hours 45 minutes.

Quotes before the race at Mid-Ohio

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "It goes without saying that we all hope that the second-half of the American Le Mans Series season starts as good as the first one: with a victory. Mid Ohio is another twisting and turning track which will suit the lighter LM P2 Sportscars. It should, however, be easier to overtake the opposition there without incurring any damage as was the case at Lime Rock, which is why a better result should be possible."

Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #1): "The Mid Ohio circuit was resurfaced two years ago, which is why we shouldn’t have such a difficult task there as we did at Lime Rock. As is the case at the majority of American race tracks the layout is fantastic: It runs uphill and down dale, there are some interesting corners and a jump over a crest. It won’t only be at this point that we’ll have to fight hard because of the higher weight to be successful."

Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #1): "I drove at Mid Ohio for the first time last year. I enjoyed the race, since it merely confirmed everything that I’d previously heard about Mid Ohio: The circuit is fast, flowing and a great challenge with blind crests and a few off-camber corners. It has a little bit of everything. I hope we look a little better against Acura/Honda and Porsche than we did at the last few races."

Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Mid Ohio is another circuit that isn’t exactly ideal for our Audi R10 TDI. I hope that we can find a good set-up and, after our difficulties at Lime Rock, can have a trouble-free race."

Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI #2): "The last time that I drove at Mid Ohio was in 2005. I hope that the circuit characteristics suit us a little more and that we can get our two Audi R10 TDIs a little further up the leader board again. We’ve never been as bad as we were at Lime Rock. I look to the future and hope that things run better."

Dave Maraj (Team Director Audi Sport North America): "I expect that the second-half of the season will be just as hard for us as the first was. Mid Ohio won’t be an exception. As is always the case, we’ll do our best and fight hard."

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