A test team has begun the next trial phase of the LMP1 sports vehicle for the 2012 season this week in the United States. After the prior tests of the further development of 2011's Le Mans winning vehicle took place privately, Audi is now going into public at a race track for the first time. On December 17, Audi Sport ran tests with two vehicles at the Sebring circuit in Florida.
The purpose of the second LMP1 sports vehicle is to have a comparison of the test results. The 2011 Le Mans winners Swiss Marcel Fässler, Frenchman Benoît Tréluyer and German André Lotterer took turns at the wheel of the two development vehicles. Also participating in the tests are Tom Kristensen, Dindo Capello and Allan McNish, who were last victorious at Le Mans in 2008.
For Audi, the tradition-steeped American circuit has special significance not only because it has celebrated nine victories at the Sebring 12 Hours since 2000. This 5.95-kilometre track offers plenty of variety with its 17 highly different types of turns, making for excellent test conditions. Being a former airfield's take-off and landing strip, the rough concrete in combination with the tarmac of the other sectors of the track puts the material through a distinctively tough test.
On March 17, the 12-hour race will open the new FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at this venue. The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) will open here as well. Audi will not disclose details of the 2012 racing program, the technical state of the development and the driver line-up until a later date.