Le Mans prototypes of the LMP1 class will have their last race at the Sebring 12 Hours on March 16, 2013 at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, as these sports cars will no longer be allowed to participate in the event from 2014 onwards. With this in mind, Audi plans to go full throttle as they aim to achieve overall victory at the event for the last time.
Audi first fielded its first LMP sports car at the event in 1999, and 14 years later, the carmaker will try to end its LMP run in the Sebring 12 Hours with a win. Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport, said that they are in for a “very emotional race weekend” when they take their fans on a journey into its past.
He noted that Sebring is where Audi’s sports car era began being successful, quipping that they are aiming for overall victory with their two current hybrid models. He said that during the event, fans can look forward to seeing four other race cars and several race drivers who made history at Sebring with Audi.
Audi will be fielding a 2012-generation Audi R18 e-tron Quattro as well as updated version of the prototype, to be piloted by Marcel Fässler/Oliver Jarvis/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/GB/F) and Lucas di Grassi/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (BR/DK/GB). Kristensen currently holds the record at the event, winning a total of six victories. During its 13 runs at Sebring 12 Hours, Audi has grabbed 22 podium positions including ten overall victories.
Audi was equally impressive on its debut on March 20, 1999, when three Audi drivers -- Michele Alboreto/Dindo Capello/Stefan Johansson – all stood on the podium, as part of the Audi Sport Team Joest that remains today. As part of the race program, Audi will be holding an exhibition in March that highlights the brand’s entire sports car era. An Audi R8 represents the 2000-2005 period, while the R10 TDI reflects the 2006-2008 diesel era. Other sports cars to be displayed at the exhibition are the R15 TDI, which won during its 2009 debut, and the 2012 winner R18 TDI.