New Audi R15 TDI Wins Duel of the Diesels at Sebring
Audi opened yet another room in its TDI prototype hall of fame when the new LMP1-class R15 TDI driven by Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish won the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, setting new speed and distance marks in the process. Completing an impressive 383 laps -- 13 more than the existing record -- at 117.986 mph, the Audi Sport Team Joest lead trio crossed the finish line 22.279 seconds ahead of the new and also impressively quick Peugeot 908 HDi FAP piloted by Sebastian Bourdais, Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin. Rounding out the top-tier podium was the R15 TDI sister car of Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner that ended up two laps back. For Audi, beginner's luck has become a habit in the prototype class at this legendary Florida airport circuit. The automaker's two previous top guns also won their maiden 12 hour events here, the R8 tasting victory in 2000 and an R10 taking the checkers in 2006. The same holds true for Tom Kristensen, an eight-time LeMans 24 Hours winner who also was behind the wheel of those R8 and R10 Sebring triumphs.
While the LeMans-bound turbodiesel prototypes were the biggest attention getters, Sebring also marked the opening event of the Michelin Green X Challenge, which awards its points for a combination of overall performance, fuel efficiency and eco-impact. Round one of the Green Challenge went to the E85-fueled C6.R GT1-category Corvette of Johnny O'Connell, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. The other C6.R team car with Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Marcel Fassler claimed second, while the E10-fueled GT2-class Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Seth Neiman, Darren Law and Johannes van Overbeek grabbed third. The winning Audi R15 TDI took top honors among the prototypes.