It seems Audi Sport works driver Allan McNish is headed for Daytona this month, having confirmed this morning that he will join former teammate Lucas Luhr and several others to drive a Starworks Motorsport Riley Ford Daytona Prototype in a bid for an all-out win. McNish and Luhr will join 2010 winner Ryan Dalziel along with Venezuelans Enzo Potolicchio and Alex Popow for a five man team, typical for this 24 hour race. No doubt Allan is looking to nab the third jewel in the triple crown of sports car racing, having already won the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
McNish and Luhr won't be the only familiar faces from Audi Sport at Daytona, nor the only ones driving something other than a four-ringer. Daytona veteran Mike Rockenfeller has already signed on with Flying Lizard to join Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Mike Rockenfeller and Seth Neiman to pilot the Lizards' 911 GT3 Cup in the GT3 class.
And while some of Audi's biggest guns will be competing for other manufacturers in Daytona, we're hearing a rumor that Emanuele Pirro may be filling one of the remaining seats in the APR Motorsport R8 GRAND-AM. We'd heard APR planned to also go with a five man team in the Audi for Daytona, leaving two more seats open alongside the already confirmed Ian Baas, Dion von Moltke and Jim Norman.
How do we know? APR Motorsport principal Stephen Hooks posted a photo late last night on Facebook of his hand obstructing the view of a name on the roofline of their R8 GRAND-AM. The name is next to an Italian flag, appears to be shorter than say "Capello" or "Bonanomi" and also appears to begin with the letter P.
Emaneule has already been involved with Audi of America on events like the rollout of the R8 GT to owners in Sonoma and also starred in the series of R8 GT videos produced by AoA. And though he may be retired from the R18 squad, Pirro exemplified his abilities to really expand a team's performance scope when he challenged the Peugeots in his supposedly much slower Drayson Racing Lola in the opening laps of the 2010 12 Hours of Sebring, also when Peugeot kept the Audi R15 off the grid due to rule interpretation. Should Pirro be the addition to APR Motorsport, we've no doubt he'll help leave their impressive driver lineup to an equally impressive showing.
Rumor is, this may not be Pirro's only race in the States. Though still not confirmed as Pirro, we've heard that one of the R8 LMS drivers they're quite excited to announce may find some seat time in their S4 racer later in the season. Given Pirro's rich history in A4 touring cars within the now defunct German STW series and his 2006 world championship, we're certainly hoping the Italian finds his way into the S4.
More Information and Thanks to Speed Sport Life for the tip.