Audi leaving future options wide open

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, head of Audi motorsport, has refused to commit to Le Mans beyond the life of the R10 TDI project in the wake of the ACO's commitment to run closed prototypes from 2010 onwards

Audi leaving future options wide open

The German manufacturer expects the diesel programme to run for three years, taking it to 2008 and a decade at Le Mans, after which it will evaluate whether or not to build a car to new regulations, which will be available in November.

Audi first raced at Le Mans in 1999 with two programmes, the R8R run by Joest Racing, and the R8C, a closed roof version of the car run by Richard Lloyd's Apex Motorsport team.

The manufacturer then gathered enough information from the two programmes and decided to build an open car, the R8.

Ullrich did confirm that Audi would be involved in writing the rulebook for the new category, but stopped short of committing to the programme.

"The ACO is in the situation that if they talk with the people that could be partners, and there are different opinions, they have to take a decision at the end," said Ullrich after Thursday's announcement.

"But I think that we will work together to make a rule book that is interesting for most of the manufacturers, and that is our target.

"Building a new car is something we have not decided yet, but I am for sure ready to go into discussions to make a rule book that makes it interesting for big manufacturers."

A move to the GT classes would be unlikely as the manufacturer already promotes the A4 through its DTM programme and is using the sportscar programme to promote its engine technology.

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