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Spa, September 12, 2004


The Audi R8 continues to write motorsport history: The most successful Le Mans prototype of all time celebrated its 50th victory at the 1000 kilometre race at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend. This milestone is particularly impressive because it was achieved over a mere four year period and in only 60 races.

Since its debut at the 12-hour race at Sebring in March 2000, the Audi R8 has been considered the sports-prototype to beat. The R8 has already won the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans four times. With its five victories in succession at Sebring, it remains, up till now, unbeaten, just as it does in “Petit Le Mans” at Road Atlanta. R8 drivers have won the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) five times in a row. And the R8 was also in a class of its own from the off in the Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES) held for the first time in 2004.

The R8 development, overseen by Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich as well as both Wolfgang Appel (Vehicle Engineering) and Ulrich Baretzky (Engine Technology) has not only set new standards as far as performance is concerned in sports car races. Quite literally its reliability: There has not been a single engine failure in a race to this day.

Since the 2001 season, the Audi R8 V8-engine has been using the worldwide unique combination of FSI and turbo technology. In the meantime it is also successfully used in the new A3 and A4 2.0T models. The advantage of this technology in motorsport is the same as in every day life: reduced fuel consumption coupled with simultaneously improved initial throttle response.

The Audi engineers also demonstrated “Vorsprung durch Technik” in many other areas in the R8 project. The R8 was the first Le Mans prototype with a pneumatic gear-shift. Audi developed also a unique system that allowed the complete gearbox and suspension unit to be changed in a little over four minutes – a fascinating spectacle that the regulations have forbidden in the meantime.

Other regulation changes targeted the performance of Le Mans prototypes. That’s why the Audi R8 must now, in the intervening period, manage with less power (approximately 550 instead of the original 610 hp) and a narrower rear wing. Nonetheless, the Audi R8 is still in a class of its own particularly over the race distance.

The importance of the model designation “R8” was puzzled over for a long time. The explanation is simple: Since the legendary original quattro, Audi has numbered all internal vehicle projects consecutively. With the R8, the project name also became the official vehicle name and is now synonymous for the world’s most successful Le Mans prototype.

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Audi R8 #88 (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx), Johnny Herbert


2000

1 Sebring (USA)

Frank Biela / Tom Kristensen / Emanuele Pirro

2 24h Le Mans (F)

Frank Biela / Tom Kristensen / Emanuele Pirro

3 Sears Point (USA)

Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish

4 Mosport (CDN)

Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish

5 Dallas (USA)

Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro

6 Portland (USA)

Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish

7 Petit Le Mans (USA)

Michele Alboreto / Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish

8 Laguna Seca (USA)

Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish

9 Las Vegas (USA)

Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro

10 Adelaide (AUS)

Rinaldo Capello / Allan McNish


Frank Biela

1111

Tom Kristensen

11

Emanuele Pirro

1111

Rinaldo Capello

11111

Allan McNish

11111

Michele Alboreto

1


2001

11 Dallas (USA)

Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen

12 Sebring (USA)

Laurent Aiello / Michele Alboreto / Rinaldo Capello

13 Donington (GB)

Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen

14 Jarama (E)

Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen

15 24h Le Mans (F)

Frank Biela / Tom Kristensen / Emanuele Pirro

16 Sears Point (USA)

Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen

17 Most (CZ)

Stefan Johansson / Patrick Lemarie

18 Mosport (CDN)

Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro

19 Laguna Seca (USA)

Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro

20 Petit Le Mans (USA)

Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro


Frank Biela

1111

Tom Kristensen

11111

Emanuele Pirro

1111

Rinaldo Capello

11111

Michele Alboreto

1

Laurent Aiello

1

Stefan Johansson

1

Patrick Lemarie

1


2002

21 Sebring (USA)

Rinaldo Capello / Johnny Herbert / Christian Pescatori

22 24h Le Mans (F)

Frank Biela / Tom Kristensen / Emanuele Pirro

23 Mid-Ohio (USA)

Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro

24 Road America (USA)

Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen

25 Trois-Rivières (CDN)

Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen

26 Mosport (CDN)

Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen

27 Laguna Seca (USA)

Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro

28 Miami (USA)

Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro

29 Petit Le Mans (USA)

Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen


Frank Biela

1111

Tom Kristensen

11111

Emanuele Pirro

1111

Rinaldo Capello

11111

Johnny Herbert

1

Christian Pescatori

1


2003

30 Sebring (USA)

Frank Biela / Philipp Peter / Marco Werner

31 Road Atlanta (USA)

Johnny Herbert / JJ Lehto

32 Trois-Rivières (CDN)

Frank Biela / Marco Werner

33 Mosport (CDN)

Frank Biela / Marco Werner

34 Road America (USA)

Johnny Herbert / JJ Lehto

35 Spa (B)

Seiji Ara / Tom Kristensen

36 Laguna Seca (USA)

Frank Biela / Marco Werner

37 Miami (USA)

Johnny Herbert / JJ Lehto

38 Petit Le Mans (USA)

Johnny Herbert / JJ Lehto

39 Le Mans (F)

Seiji Ara / Tom Kristensen


Frank Biela

1111

Tom Kristensen

11

Johnny Herbert

1111

Philipp Peter

1

Marco Werner

1111

JJ Lehto

1111

Seiji Ara

11


2004

40 Sebring (USA)

Frank Biela / Pierre Kaffer / Allan McNish

41 Monza (I)

Jamie Davies / Johnny Herbert

42 24h Le Mans (F)

Seiji Ara / Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen

43 Mid-Ohio (USA)

JJ Lehto / Marco Werner

44 Nürburgring (D)

Pierre Kaffer / Allan McNish

45 Lime Rock (USA)

JJ Lehto / Marco Werner

46 Sonoma (USA)

JJ Lehto / Marco Werner

47 Portland (USA)

JJ Lehto / Marco Werner

48 Silverstone (GB)

Pierre Kaffer / Allan McNish

49 Road America (USA)

JJ Lehto / Marco Werner

50 Spa (B)

Jamie Davies / Johnny Herbert


Frank Biela

1

Tom Kristensen

1

Rinaldo Capello

1

Johnny Herbert

11

Pierre Kaffer

111

Allan McNish

111

Marco Werner

11111

JJ Lehto

11111

Seiji Ara

11

Jamie Davies

11


Victories by by driver

Frank Biela

11111111111111111

Rinaldo Capello

1111111111111111

Tom Kristensen

111111111111111

Emanuele Pirro

111111111111

Marco Werner

111111111

JJ Lehto

111111111

Allan McNish

11111111

Johnny Herbert

1111111

Seiji Ara

1111

Pierre Kaffer

111

Jamie Davies

11

Michele Alboreto

11

Laurent Aiello

1

Stefan Johansson

1

Patrick Lemarie

1

Christian Pescatori

1

Philipp Peter

1



Audi R8 #5 (Audi Sport Japan Team Goh), Rinaldo Capello
Audi R8 #5 (Audi Sport Japan Team Goh), Seiji Ara