Audi Sport made the first move today as they look to reclaim the Le Mans 24 Hours title from Peugeot this June.
As well as having an extra year of development on their diesel engined R15 they have today named an experienced trio of drivers to pilot one of the three entries the Ingolstadt based marque intends for the twice-around-the-clock classic.
The new trio of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer bring a total of ten previous Le Mans starts, and while at the wheel of an Audi must be considered as having chance to take overall victory in this year’s race, which runs from the 12th to the 13th June.
"In view of our strong competitors, we want to – and have to – be perfectly positioned in terms of drivers too," explained Audi Motorsport head Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "Therefore, we decided to extend our driver line-up. Marcel, André, and Benoît attracted our attention during the past two years in a particularly positive way. They are used to handling fast prototypes and know each other extremely well.”
"For me, Audi is the most successful brand at Le Mans,” says Fassler who contested two ALMS races for the manufacturer in 2008 before being signed by Corvette Racing as a third driver last year. “Having the chance to be part of the Audi team this year is incredible for me and a great opportunity I want to take advantage of at all cost.”
Frenchman Treluyer, who has five Le Mans starts, four with Audi’s P1 rivals Pescarolo Sport says; "for me, a dream is coming true. I’d never have expected to immediately get a slot with a ‘factory’ team for Le Mans after my return from Japan – and, what’s more, together with my best friend Andre Lotterer, and with Marcel Fässler with whom I started my career in Formula Campus.”
“That really can’t be topped!”
Lotterer, the youngest (28) and least experienced (a single La Sarthe visit, last year with a privateer Audi R10) is straight forward about what he is aiming for this year. “I’ve just got a single goal: victory!" he says.
The first race for the trio will come May 9 when they contest the 1000km Le Mans Series round at Spa-Francochamps, a race Audi themselves describe as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for Le Mans.
“For the time being, plans for Marcel, André, and Benoît are fully focused on Le Mans 2010," said Dr. Ulrich, but added they ‘may’ become part of Audi’s long term sportscar plans.