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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A new worldwide racing series focused on innovative drive concepts, new technology and reduced fuel consumption will stage its inaugural round at Silverstone on September 12. The newly incepted Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) makes it possible for Audi to tour the world with its innovative diesel-powered race sports cars.

In the future, the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours, which Audi won for the ninth time this year, will be the central event of the new intercontinental sports car series which in 2011 is planned to consist of a total of seven endurance races in America, Asia and Europe. With the new series the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) wants to continue the great tradition of the World Championship for Makes that thrilled spectators from 1953 to 1984 and which at times was more popular than Formula 1.

Three races on three continents in 2010 – the inaugural year
In the inaugural year 2010 the 1000-kilometer race at Silverstone (Great Britain), the 1000-mile “Petit Le Mans” race at Road Atlanta (USA) and the 6-hour race at Zhuhai (China) will be part of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. In each of these three events Audi Sport Team Joest will field two Audi R15 TDI cars, the vehicle that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010.

“Audi has been involved in sports prototype racing since 1999 and has had the vision of a worldwide racing series for these types of vehicles ever since,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “We’re delighted that the ACO is now translating this vision into reality. The Intercontinental Le Mans Cup gives us the opportunity to compete with our sports prototypes in very important markets.”

Audi deliberately opted for the sports prototype category which enables automobile manufacturers to test new technologies and drive concepts for production vehicles. In 2001 Audi successfully combined turbocharging and direct injection (TFSI). In 2006 the brand with the four rings caused a worldwide sensation by clinching the first victory of a diesel-powered race sports car at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The current Audi R15 TDI cars use turbochargers with variable turbine geometry (VTG). In addition, numerous other details such as LED lights for daytime driving or a lithium-ion battery with increased system voltage have been tested in the Le Mans prototypes.

Highly efficient vehicles required
“In view of the new ACO regulations that will come into effect in 2011 light-weight design combined with high strength and durability, energy recovery and fuel-efficient engines will become even more important than they’ve been in the past,” says Dr. Ullrich. “All of these are topics which our colleagues on the production side at Audi are deeply involved in as well. Audi is known for its highly efficient vehicles and can demonstrate this in sports prototype racing events on the track as well.”

Aerodynamics with more downforce
For 2011 Audi Sport is developing a new LMP1 sports car which bears the internal project name “R18.” In the 2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup the Audi R15 TDI, the car that enabled Audi to decide the fastest 24-hour race in Le Mans history in its favor in June, will be fielded. For the Silverstone, Road Atlanta and Zhuhai races, the aerodynamics package has been trimmed for higher downforce. Except for this modification, the R15 TDI is technically identical to the car used at Le Mans.

“We’ll only know where we stand with this car in comparison to our rivals at Silverstone,” says Dr. Ullrich. “In any event, our goal is clear. We’re set on winning the title and achieving the best results for the Audi brand at all three races.”

Kristensen/McNish to spearhead the squad
Audi Sport Team Joest therefore banks on proven drivers: the eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland) will form a team in the 2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and contest all three races together.

Dindo Capello (Italy), who with a track record of 29 overall victories is the most successful driver of the American Le Mans Series, will also contest all three rounds. At Silverstone, the Italian will race with Timo Bernhard (Germany), at Road Atlanta with Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, and with Romain Dumas (France) at the Zhuhai finale. In addition, Marcel Fässler (Switzerland), André Lotterer (Germany) and Benoît Treluyer (France) will compete at Road Atlanta.

No changes to Le Mans driver line-up
“Because there’s only a make and team but no driver classification we’re using the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup as an opportunity to integrate the drivers who haven’t competed for us very often, even better with our team,” explains Dr. Ullrich. “Our aim is to compete at Le Mans in 2011 with the same drivers as this year.”

Familiar terrain and new territory
The first two races of the 2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup are familiar terrain for Audi: In 2008, Dindo Capello and Allan McNish triumphed with the Audi R10 TDI at Silverstone. Meanwhile Audi has won the “Petit Le Mans” race at Road Atlanta nine consecutive times, from 2000 to 2008. Audi Sport Team Joest will only enter new territory at Zhuhai (China).

The Le Mans winners will be joined on their tour of the world by their proven partners Bosch, Dow, Mahle, Michelin and TAG-Heuer.

The Audi driver teams in the 2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup

1000 Kilometers Silverstone (GB), Sep 12

#7 Tom Kristensen (DK)/Allan McNish (GB)
#8 Timo Bernhard (D)/Dindo Capello (I)

Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta (USA), Oct 02
#7 Dindo Capello (I)/Tom Kristensen (DK)/Allan McNish (GB)
#9 Marcel Fässler (CH)/André Lotterer (D)/Benoît Treluyer (F)

6 Hours of Zhuhai (CN), Nov 07
#7 Tom Kristensen (DK)/Allan McNish (GB)
#8 Dindo Capello (I)/Romain Dumas (F)
 

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I wrote something about this in the thread below (after I found the Audi PR at Endurance-Info via Mariantic).

Interesting that Audi has teamed Allan and TK for all 3 races. Some say that there was some antimositiy between Allan and Tom before Audi teamed them with Dindo. It also seems that Audi is kind of using Dindo as a driver coach for Timo and Roman at Silverstone and China. It seems that those two still have some to learn about racing high power/high downforce LMPs, and Dindo's one of the best to learn from, though those two did far better this year than last year where their car was stuffed into a gravel pit 4-5 times (though that was mostly when Primat was behind the wheel, but Timo and Romain had their moments, too).

And good to see that they using Andre/Beniot/Marcel as a team at PLM, and they intend on using all three teams from LM this year at LM next year. Kinda makes on wonder what Peugeot is up to (though they said that they're generally happy with their line ups, too).

I also wonder about Peugeot for the ILMC, because the 908s were bullet proof last year, but this year like in '07 and '08 they've broke a lot of stuff (air jacks at Paul Ricard, though that was a freak deal, though Audi had similar problems at Sebring in '09 and fixed it in 20-30 seconds at most while Peugeot took 15 minutes, not to mention the tub failure and rods tunneling out the engines at Le Mans and the Oreca 908 broke a gearbox at Hungaroring on Sunday.) I really think that Audi, though the R15 has some minor issues (touchy handling if the setup is wrong and needs/-ed a little areo work), it is pushing Peugeot into having reliablity issues in 1000km races. Either that, or it's the old car blues, and pushing an aging design too far.

However, based on Spa, if Audi has some good high downforce bodywork, Peugeot must be a little worried in terms of performance, because even the R10 was the equal of the 908 on LMS/ALMS tracks in race trim in '08.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not sure I'd agree with you on the Allan-Dindo-Tom thing. Perhaps early on there was something (I may ask someone who would have known them well then) but today I sense none of that and it is those three drivers I've gotten to know best. Their camaraderie is as obvious in person as it is in Ti24. More likely it is this... as the oldest of the three, Dindo is nearest to retirement age so they may be keeping TK and Allan together because they'll still remain together long-term beyond D's retirement.

The other reason may be speed. If TK and Allan are testing faster or proving more reliable in the car then that might be the reason too. It is rumored this is why Lucas and Marco were out, having never really gotten that reliable with the R15's tricky handling. Again, that's all rumor but who knows.

What surprises me more is that Rocky's not driving any more this season and that his team's not running at Petit. They won Le Mans but moreso I hear that Rocky is one of the fastest/best of the younger driver group and we've all seen Timo and Romain dice it up with Allan and Dindo in the ALMS back when Penske Porsches battled Audi Sport North America.
 

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I'm not sure I agree entirely about the Allan/TK feud, either. The guy who said that says that Dindo helped smooth out any rough patches. But then again, that guy is Danish, so I bet theres a little TK sentiment there.

Statisically, the guys in the #9 Audi were the slowest of the three Audis at LM this year, but that's based on fastest lap times and in the end, all three squads were more or less equal across the board. However, Timo and Romain still don't have a ton of expirence with a full power LMP1 car, let alone a diesel, and Romain overdriving the R15 because of a bad set of tires late in the race nearly handed the win to the #8, which made up tons of time.

Dindo, being the most expirenced of the Audi LMP drivers aside from Allan and TK, and shares a similar driving style/feel for the car with McNish and Kristensen might get Romain and Timo up to speed even more for next year. I think that Marco and Lucas were reassigned to test drivers because they didn't get to girps with the R15, which handling wise is a far different beast than the R10, the R15 being more similar as far as chassis dynamics to the R8, which Allan, Tom and Dindo took to, because of their considerable expirience with the small, nimble R8.

Rocky isn't in an R15 because of DTM commitments and his high placing in the points standings in that series as well as him driving the hybrid Porsche 911 at PLM on loan from Audi with Timo and Romain.

Other than that, how are things with the site going? I know that the LM report/phots are delayed, but maybe it can be included as a teaser to PLM coverage if you're covering Petit Le Mans this year, since Audi didn't race at Sebring.

Other than that, what do you think Audi's chances in the ILMC are? They got good driver lineups in both cars at all three races, and the R15 is now fast and reliable like the R10 and R8 were. Audi have also tuned the cars to have more downforce, and I'm wondering what they've done there. Add to that the fact that Peugeot's cars have had trouble in shorter races this year along with their LM troubles, is Peugeot even relaible enough to put up a fight?

At Paul Ricard, the Oreca Pug had it's air jacks fail. A freak failure, granted, but Audi took 20-30 second to fix a similar issue at Sebring in '09, while Oreca took 15 minutes to tackle the same problem. Also, the same Oreca 908 had a gearbox failure at Hungaroring last Sunday. The Oreca car is in the same spec as the factory 908s, which may be an issue, as well as at Spa and Le Mans, some of Peugeot's drivers still showed flashes of impatinece, and with at least 45 cars starting at Silverstone and 45-50+ cars at PLM, that may play into Audi's hands.
 
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