Final race for Audi R15 TDI

Audi starts the 2011 sports car season in the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 19. Making its final appearance is the Audi R15 TDI, which had to be modified to comply with the new regulations and which carries the project name "R15 plus plus” internally. Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas/Mike Rockenfeller (D/F/D), last year’s Le Mans winners, as well as Dindo Capello/Allan McNish/Tom Kristensen (I/GB/DK), Le-Mans winners from 2008, drive the two diesel race sports cars.
A long sports car season starts for Audi Sport Team Joest in March: On the agenda up to November are seven races, the Le Mans test weekend and numerous tests with the Audi R15 TDI and the new Audi R18, which does not, however, race at Sebring. So as not to interrupt preparations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 11/12 the test and development program with the R18 continues to run in parallel to the opening round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup 2011 (ILMC) season.
As a result one car in particular bids farewell at the 12 Hours of Sebring, a car that made its debut here two years ago: the Audi R15 TDI. It celebrated its 2009 premiere with a victory – the ninth for Audi in this traditional event in US state of Florida since 2000.
For the second appearance at Sebring the diesel racing sports car competes under completely new conditions. New technical regulations from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) are valid in 2011, for which Audi has developed the "closed cockpit” R18. Older models like the R15 TDI may only compete in heavily modified form with greatly restricted engine power. Just how these cars will fare against the new models remains to be seen

Proven drivers, new partners
The Audi R15 TDI makes its farewell appearance in Florida in the hands of two successful driver line ups. Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, who won at Sebring in 2008, share the car with start number "1” with Mike Rockenfeller. Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish, the Sebring winners in 2009, drive the "2” numbered Audi.
Two new partners are also part of the team for the first time at Sebring: Lining up alongside Bosch, Mahle, Michelin and TAG Heuer to partner the Audi sports car program from 2011 are Alpinestars, specialists for motorsport and extreme sports clothing as well as street wear, and lubricant manufacturer Castrol. With Castrol a familiar face returns to the side of Audi Sport; the two companies were already very successful together in competition as partners in the DTM, super touring cars and in rallying.

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Sebring is the circuit on which up to now practically all of our new sport prototypes have made their race debuts – and in doing so have always won. For the R18 project it would have been a monumental logistical task to compete at this early stage at Sebring. This is why we now bid farewell to the R15 TDI. With the R15 TDI having been modified again we know that we do not have the same base as each opponent competing at Sebring with a new LMP1. Having said this we still want to score as many points as possible for the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. During the 12 Hours of Sebring there are many other factors in addition to the cars that dictate how things look at the checkered flag: the normally hot weather, the heavy traffic, specific race situations with the typical full-course yellows, the performance of the team and obviously also our experienced driver squads. This is why anything is also possible at this race with an ‘old’ car.”

Dindo Capello (46/I), Audi R15 TDI #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
• Has already recorded four victories in the 12 hours Sebring
• Won the endurance classic for the first time 10 years ago
"I have a lot of fond memories of Sebring. I contested my first race with an LMP sports car with Audi at this track. Michele Alboreto, Stefan Johansson and I claimed a podium finish with the Audi R8R – a great debut. Exactly ten years ago I celebrated my first victory, together with Laurent Aiello and Michele. It was his final victory in his last race for Audi. I will fondly remember a photograph I have of us on the podium forever. Now we race for the last time with the R15 TDI which started its winning ways at Sebring in 2009. The competition comes with completely new cars. I’m intrigued to see just how good we are at the end.”