Johansson favourite for Audi deal

The sportscar team run by former Grand Prix and CART driver Stefan Johansson is in pole position to run a privateer squad of Audis next year

Johansson favourite for Audi deal

Audi motorsport boss Dr Wolfgang Ullrich says no decision has been made about the destination of the two of this year's R8s it expects to sell for next year. But insiders at Audi have indicated that Johansson-Matthews Racing is a clear favourite to land the cars, most likely for an assault on the American Le Mans Series.

JMR team manager John Wickham admitted that the Indianapolis-based squad was in the running for a deal with Audi. "We are pushing hard and have good cash flow, so I believe we are in with a good chance."

There is, however, unlikely to be any shortage of teams wanting to race the Le Mans-winning R8 design. Ullrich claimed that he could have sold six chassis at last weekend's ALMS round at Road Atlanta.

One stumbling block to a deal with JMR could be Audi's desire to be represented in the newly-announced European Le Mans Series. Ullrich said that if Audi of America decided to continue its support of an ALMS programme, he would favour selling the cars to a team wanting to contest the European series.

The crack Joest squad looks increasingly likely to hang on to its deal to run the factory Audi squad in North America. Team boss Reinhold Joest is pushing ahead with work on a new factory in Atlanta, Georgia, and said he was confident that his services would be retained for 2001.

Joest ruled out racing in the ELMS as well as the Stateside version. "I think that would be too much for one team," he said.

Wickham said that JMR was "kicking around a number of ideas" for next season. He refused to rule out continuing with the recalcitrant Reynard 2KQ in 2001.

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