Audi & McNish USA R18 Debut: Penance for the advert?
Having taken time out to irritate the hell out of us rugby world cup fans with his constantly-appearing recent advertising campaign for Audi, now Le Mans champion, Allan McNish is hoping for an upturn in fortune when he returns to Road Atlanta – for the annual Petit Le Mans race which marks the American début of the Audi R18 TDI. McNish is aiming for his fifth and Audi’s 10th victory in the annual 1,000-mile race on Saturday (1 Oct) – the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. McNish has endured a difficult season to date having posted a third (Spa), two fourths (Sebring & Imola) plus a seventh (Silverstone) from the previous five races, then there's the annoying advert, which in its initial cut, made him sound like a right winging tool. The double Le Mans 24 Hour race winner will be partnered by Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Dindo Capello (Italy) in what is the third longest race of the ILMC that concludes in China in November. “Some of my most memorable races and wins have been at Petit with Dindo,” reflects McNish. “Like in 2007 when we won by just 0.923 seconds after 1,000-miles of racing! Then in 2008 we came out on top of a fierce battle with Peugeot to win by less than five seconds.” The Petit Le Mans race staged on the fast and undulating 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit located 50-miles northwest of Atlanta marks the fourth and final event this year in which McNish, Kristensen and Capello share the R18 TDI. A second Audi Sport Team Joest R18 TDI is also being entered for Timo Bernhard (D)/ Marcel Fässler (CH)/Romain Dumas (F). The 14th running of the Petit Le Mans is likely to see a capacity 53-car grid with organisers having received 60 entries. The Provisional Timetable looks likes this:Sunday 25 Sep: 0800-1000 & 1200-1700 Test Sessions
Monday 26 Sep: 0800-120 & 1300-1700 Test Sessions
Wednesday 28 Sep: 1445-1645 Test Session
Thursday 29 Sep: 1000-1100, 1455-1555 1900-2100 Practice Sessions
Friday 30 Sep: 1015-1115 Practice; 1530-1545 Qualifying
Saturday 1 Oct: 0915-0940 Warm-up; 1130 Race
I wonder whether the Americans will go for Audi's R18 TDi race technology? I guess a lot depends on whether Audi depend to run that dire advert off the back of the racing over there...