Marco Werner

Born:
27th April 1966 (Age 52)
Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia
Nationality:
German
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

"Audi was the biggest break in my career. In the formative years… it was always a question of money or politics. At Audi it’s only about performance." Marco Werner’s career with the German marque coincided with an unprecedented period of sports car domination and he helped deliver three victories at Le Mans and three LMP1 titles in the American Le Mans Series.

Background and single-seater career

A trained mechanic, Werner began racing in national Formula Ford 1600 in 1985 before graduating to German Formula Opel three years later. Runner-up in 1989, the next three years were spent in Formula 3. Werner was not quite able to win the German F3 title and finished as runner-up in both 1991 and 1992. The highlight was victory in the 1992 Monaco F3 race in which his G+M Motorsport Ralt RT36-Opel benefited when early leader Niko Palhares crashed at Ste Devote.

Rather than graduate, Werner spent another two ultimately frustrating seasons in German F3 without winning again. With his single-seater prospects looking bleak, sportscars appeared his future when he won the 1995 Daytona 24 Hours with a Kremer K8-Porsche. He drove a mix of national touring cars, one-make series and GT races before re-establishing himself in the Porsche Supercup from 2000. Inevitably perhaps, Werner finished as runner-up in 2001 and 2002.

Sports car success for Audi

That success attracted the attention of Audi and he finished third on his Le Mans debut in 2002. A fulltime member of the team in 2003, Werner was immediately successful for he and Frank Biela won the ALMS title driving a works Joest Audi R8. Werner switched to the works-supported Champion Racing entry for 2004 with J.J.Lehto now his co-driver. They shared the LMP1 drivers’ title and finished third at Le Mans (with Emanuele Pirro also driving their Audi R8 in France).

Werner returned to Le Mans in 2005 with Champion and Lehto but now joined by Tom Kristensen – winner of the race for the five previous years. Not the fastest car in the field, they took the lead in the third hour and ran without drama to victory. Audi introduced the diesel R10 TDI and again it proved the class of the field. Werner was paired with Pirro and Biela for the 2006 and 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours and they were victorious on both occasions. They also won the 2007 Sebring 12 Hours as Werner finished behind team-mates Allan McNish and Dindo Capello in the ALMS standings.

Sharing an Audi North America Audi R10 TDI with Lucas Luhr in the 2008 ALMS, the Germans won six times and dominated the championship – Werner winning the drivers’ title for the third time.