Joest Racing For The LMS With An R10?
The Audi R10 diesel project has gradually ‘filled out’
since the launch of the car in Paris, in mid December.
At that stage, there was no official communication
regarding the drivers (except that Tom Kristensen would race it)
– and no confirmation of anything other than Sebring and Le
Mans this year.
Nearly three months later, and with the car’s
race debut less than two weeks away, we know that the R10s will
race at Sebring, Le Mans and in the ALMS events from Salt Lake City
in mid-July onwards. R8s will fill in at Houston, Mid-Ohio and Lime
But now we have a very clear indication that an
R10 will be seen in the Le Mans Series this year – run by
Reinhold Joest’s team is looking after the
test and development programme for the new prototype, and the team
will “concentrate solely on the AUDI AG sportscar programme
with the new Audi R10”.
That means no DTM programme for Joest Racing this
"It goes without saying that we would have
liked to have seen the fruits of our two years of labour in the
DTM and brought home more success,” says Ralf Jüttner,
Joest Team Technical Director. "In 2005 we were the best team
with a year-old car and in 2006 would have certainly improved further
still. A parallel programme with the Audi R10 and in the DTM would
have consumed a great deal of resources. That’s why we came
to the conclusion with Audi Sport that it is better to concentrate
solely on the R10 this year.”
So no DTM opens
the way for Joest Racing to compete in the Le Mans Series. Another
part of the puzzle is explained by the fact that (according to the
website) ‘the R10 race programme in America will be assumed
by an American team because the logistical expense to commute permanently
between Germany and the USA would be too high’.
That American team is Dave Maraj’s Champion
Racing, of course.
Sticking to form, there has been no announcement
yet regarding R10 drivers in anything other than the headline Sebring
and Le Mans races. The partnerships in Florida and France will be
Allan McNish / Tom Kristensen / Rinaldo Capello and Marco Werner
/ Frank Biela / Emanuele Pirro – but presumably driver choices
for the rest of the season will be worked out according to points
scored at Sebring, driver availability (those nominated for the
DTM) and date clashes between the Le Mans Series and the American
The Spa and Houston races effectively clash on May
14 / May 12, as do the Nurburgring and Salt Lake City (July 16 /
We believe that at least some of the likely drivers
aren’t yet sure of their exact racing commitments for 2006
Reinhold Joest is happy to state that "it’s no secret
that my heart lies in sportscars,” and "we would really
like to compete with the new Audi R10 in the Le Mans Series in Europe.
We hope that this project comes to fruition because the European
fans will have the opportunity to see the Audi R10 a little more
Perhaps the Champion connection will see JJ Lehto
race in the ALMS – or is that fanciful thinking?
to see the Le Mans Series organisers turning away an Audi R10 entry
at Donington Park in August – even though the entry for that
race seems to be over-subscribed already. The most likely scenario
would appear to be the entry of one Audi R10 in the LMS races at
the Nurburgring (July 16), Donington Park (August 27) and Monza
The R8 made
its European (series) debut at the Nurburgring in July 2000 (it
had already been victorious at Le Mans), but was beaten by both
Panoz and BMW, in an incident-packed wet race.