Five World Champions and Le Mans winners plus a former Formula One driver will be at the wheel of Audi’s diesel-hybrid R18 e-tron quattro race cars.
As announced by Audi, this driver line-up will be competing in the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and at Le Mans at the wheel of the German manufacturer’s hybrid-diesel race car.
For the first time, the title defenders Loïc Duval (France) and Tom Kristensen (Denmark) are sharing an Audi R18 e-tron quattro with Lucas di Grassi (Bazil). The former Formula One driver, who has been competing for Audi since 2012 and finished at Spa and Le Mans in third place last year, has been promoted to the role of a regular driver and replaces Allan McNish (Great Britain), who has ended his career as a race driver.
Audi stated on their way to the 2013 World Championship title, Duval, Kristensen and McNish won three WEC rounds – including the 24-hour race at Le Mans. For record winner Kristensen, this marked the ninth success and for his team-mate Duval the first.
Audi added Marcel Fässler (Switzerland), André Lotterer (Germany) and Benoît Tréluyer (France) again form a team in the third year of the FIA World Endurance Championship. In 2012, they clinched the WEC drivers’ title and victory at Le Mans for the second consecutive time. In 2013, the trio won the WEC races at Spa, São Paulo and Shanghai and finished the drivers’ classification as the runners-up.
Audi explained in the 6-hour race at Spa (May 3) and at Le Mans (June 14-15), Audi plans to be fielding an additional R18 e-tron quattro. This car will be driven by the previous DTM driver Filipe Albuquerque (Portugal) as well as by Marco Bonanomi (Italy) and Oliver Jarvis (Great Britain).
Bonanomi was both test and reserve driver for Audi’s LMP1 project in 2013 while Jarvis won in the Sebring 12 Hours and took third place at Spa and Le Mans. Marc Gené (Spain) will be the reserve driver for the races at Spa and Le Mans.
“In 2014, we again have a very good driver line-up,” said Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Of course it’s not easy to replace a driver like Allan McNish, who drove for Audi for 14 years. But Lucas di Grassi has delivered convincing performances in all of his runs for Audi so far. For Filipe Albuquerque, the switch from the DTM to the WEC is happening at the ideal point in time. He’s ready for the next career step. Our current sports car squad will cause a sensation in a season that poses a great challenge due to the new Technical Regulations and new rivals.”