Audi Motorsports has announced that it will bring two R18 e-tron quattro hybrid LMP1 cars to the 2013 Twelve Hours of Sebring this March, the first and last time these cars will race in the 12-hour classic.
This year will be the last year ALMS will exists; under the new merged series, Sebring will not accept LMP1, the world’s top class of sports cars. Audi is taking this final chance to race at this hallowed track, closing out a six-decade era which saw Sebring as an essential race on the international sports car circuit.
“We’re in for a very emotional race weekend on which we’ll be taking the fans along on a journey into our past,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport, in a press statement. “Sebring is where Audi’s sports car era that has been so successful began.
“We expect that with two current hybrid models we’ll be battling for overall victory at the 12-hour race for the last time this year. At the same time, on the fringes of the race, the fans can look forward to seeing four other race cars and several race drivers who made history at Sebring with Audi.”
Audi brought two R8s to Sebring to compete in the first Sebring 12 Hours run under American Le Mans Series sanction, and since then have won the race ten times and finished on the podium dozen times more (including that first year.)
Former winners Tom Kristensen (five times) and Allan McNish (four) will be joined by newcomer Lucas di Grassi in one of the diesel-electric Audi hybrids; the other will be piloted by the 2011 and 2012 Le Mans 24-winning team of Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer with Oliver Jarvis as the third driver.
Audi will also be bringing a collection of its winning cars and their drivers—the drivers to sign autographs and give interviews, the cars to simply sit and dazzle the crowds.
On hand should be an R8 (six wins—2000–2005,) an R10 TDI (winner in 2006 and 2007) an R15 TDI (victorious in 2009) and the 2012-winning R18 TDI Ultra.
The addition of the Audis on the track and on display only adds to the allure of this historic event. No one knows how long it will be (if ever) until Sebring again hosts a truly international sports car race. Don’t miss this last chance.
The 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring takes place Saturday, March 16, 2013 at Sebring international Raceway, in Sebring, Florida. Tickets are available through Sebring Raceway’s website, and hotel reservations can also be made online. Check ICHotelsgroup.com or ALMS.com for details.
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