Audi to race in new LMP1 series

Audi is the first manufacturer to sign up for the new Le Mans Intercontinental Cup for LMP1 prototypes that will include three enduros at the end of 2010.

The German manufacturer has revealed an expanded programme for the latest version of its R15 turbodiesel at the same time as the Automobile Club de l’Ouest announced that the series it first talked about last summer would go ahead in 2010. The Intercontinental Cup will encompass rounds of series running to Le Mans rules in Europe (at Silverstone), the United States (Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta) and Asia (at a venue to be determined) next autumn.

Audi Sport boss Wolfgang Ullrich said: “We wanted to find a way to have a bigger programme [than in 2009], so the Cup is good for us.”

The ACO said the Intercontinental Cup for teams and manufacturers will expand for 2011. What it is describing as a “world trophy” will feature a minimum of six races.

The 2010 ‘R15 plus’ will race a minimum of five times during the year. The centrepiece of the Joest factory team’s programme will again be the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Audi will not take part in the Sebring 12 Hours for the first time since 1999. The definitive ‘R15 plus’ will not be ready for the American Le Mans Series opener in March.