And Rockenfeller To Audi
It’s been rumoured for weeks, it was more than hinted at last
Saturday evening (at least the fact that these two wouldn’t
be Porsche drivers next season) – and now it’s confirmed:
Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller will be Audi drivers in 2007.
The Audi statement begins with “Lucas Luhr
(27) and Mike Rockenfeller (23) will strengthen the Audi driver
squad in both the DTM and in sportscar events with the revolutionary
Audi R10 TDI Diesel sportscar during the forthcoming 2007 motorsport
"It is important to us that our drivers can
also (as well as racing in the DTM) make a valuable contribution
to the sportscar project with the Audi R10 TDI,” says Head
of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. "Lucas and Mike can
do this. I’m convinced that they are a strong addition to
our driver line-up and will fit in at Audi very well.”
"At Audi I finally get the chance to fight
for overall victories,” says Lucas Luhr. "I’m incredibly
pleased about the DTM, the Audi R10 TDI and the opportunity to work
with Audi Sport. It is a special honour for me to be able to drive
for such a fascinating and successful marque like Audi.”
It could be argued that Luhr was already racing
for overall victories with the Penske RS Spyders this season –
but overall wins are the clear objective in 2007, in the DTM and
in an R10.
What we don’t yet know is where Audi Motorsport
is aiming to race its R10s – or who, in addition to Luhr and
Rockenfeller, will be driving them.
"I’ve realised a dream by securing a
factory contract with Audi,” explains Mike Rockenfeller. "The
DTM is a tremendous target and excellent alternative to Formula
1 for every young German racing driver.”
"Mike has demonstrated impressively at the
wheel of the LM P2 Porsche and in the Grand-Am Series that he also
possesses the necessary talent for this car,” says Dr. Ullrich.
Porsche placed Rockenfeller in one of the Penske
RS Spyders at Petit Le Mans this year – but the ‘lure’
for he and Luhr, of racing at the front of LMP1, and in the DTM,
was too great to turn down.
Their replacements as ‘factory drivers’
at Porsche will become known in due course: it is likely that one
former Porsche man will return to the official fold.
news later today (which definitely was mentioned at the
Porsche Awards ceremony) should set the scene for the regulations
to be announced by IMSA, for the 2007 ALMS (in particular the starting
point for P1s and P2s, and the balance between them), and perhaps
then the factories concerned will be able to make their plans known
for the new season.