15th March 2012
The World Endurance Championship kicks off on Saturday 17th March on the Sebring circuit where the first sportscar championship began back in 1953. Audi starts the race as hot favourite with its three R18 TDIs as Toyota is giving the American event a miss.
With Peugeot having abandoned endurance, Toyota not ready (the TS030 will made its debut at Spa), and Pescarolo obliged to enter its old car for the last time, Audi starts the race as hot favourite to take the spoils. While the R18s have never raced at Sebring (last year the R15s were used for the last time), they have carried out several tests on the Florida track, and will not be faced with any teething troubles as the hybrid version will not be raced until Spa.
The Le Mans winning trio, Fässler-Lotterer-Tréluyer, will be out to add this other endurance classic to their results, which their team-mates, Capello-McNish-Kristensen, have already done on several occasions either together or separately, while Bernhard-Dumas won in 2008 in a Porsche and newcomer Loïc Duval triumphed in 2011 in the Peugeot/Oreca. Thus, Audi can count on three top-class driver line-ups as well as its enormous experience of the event.
At Sebring, the Audis will not have to have the obligatory holes above the wheels but will carry 15 kilos of ballast instead. They dominated the private test sessions held early on in the week. Capello-McNish-Kristensen got round in 1m 47.187s, which leaves their rivals little hope. Leading the chase is the Oak-Pescarolo followed by the new HPDs, the Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyotas and the Pesarolo-Judd given a waiver while waiting for the new Pescarolo 03 to be raceworthy.
The start will be given on Saturday 17th March at 10h30 local time (16h30 French time).
Text: François Hurel – Photos: Audi Motorport
|Mise à jour le Jeudi, 15 Mars 2012 11:44|