Audi Sport has begun its preparations for the 2012 sports prototype season, with a dedicated test-team starting the trial phase in the United States with its LMP1 sports car.
After previous tests of the development work that went in this year’s 2011 Le Mans-winning car took place behind closed doors, Audi is going public at a race track for the first time.
Audi Sport will run the tests with two vehicles at the Sebring circuit in Florida. The second LMP1 sports car will serve as a comparison for the test results. Taking turns behind the wheel are the 2011 Le Mans winners, Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer. Also involved in the tests are Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, who were last victorious at Le Mans in 2008.
The American circuit has a special significance for Audi, not only because it has celebrated nine victories at the Sebring 12 Hours since 2000, but the track features 17 different turns and offers plenty of variety, making perfect for testing. The rough concrete of the former airfield, in combination with tarmac sections puts the cars through a particularly tough test.
On March 17, the Sebring 12-hour will open the new FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) as well as the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at this venue.
While the component tests have already started, Audi will not announce the details of its 2012 racing program, driver line-up or technical development until a later date.