Audi sets 2010 sports car agenda

Audi's prototypes will not be back at Sebring in 2010. (LAT photo)
Audi's prototypes will not be back at Sebring in 2010.

Audi announced today its 2010 plans for factory sports car team Audi Sport Team Joest – and the news comes as a blow to the 12 Hours of Sebring, which is not in the cards for the company's diesel-powered prototypes next year. Instead, the German marque will focus its efforts on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where three cars will be entered, and the new “Le Mans Intercontinental Cup” races, of which the American Le Mans Series' Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta will count as one round.

“We welcome greatly the fact that the Automobile Club de l'Ouest has announced the first international racing series for LMP1 vehicles,” said Audi motorsports boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “We are convinced that this motorsport category, which is particularly attractive from the perspective of technology, has prospects for a great future and fits our times well.”

The inaugural Le Mans Intercontinental Cup will feature the 1000-kilometer race at Silverstone, Petit Le Mans and an event in Asia yet to be announced. Audi also plans also to contest the Le Mans Series 1000km race at Spa, Belgium, which the team will treat as a dress rehearsal for Le Mans, with three cars.

Meanwhile, Audi will maintain its prominent involvement in Europe's DTM series, with up to nine cars. The major change is that Tom Kristensen, who will fully focus on Le Mans-style racing hands over his seat to young Briton Oliver Jarvis.

"We are thus giving our youngest ‘factory' driver the chance to prove his prowess in a current DTM car," said Ullrich. "The performances Oliver has shown in his first DTM years at the wheel of a year-old A4 speak in his favor."