Audi confirms ALMS return The North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan is the largest auto show this side of the globe, perhaps the world. Each year, executives from the American Le Mans Series roll into Detroit not only to meet with the hierarchies of the manufacturers who participate in the world's premier sports car series, but also to learn of new developments and innovations each will announce during Media Days, the three-day introductory to the show.
This year's Audi press conference Sunday provided a little extra bonus for the American Le Mans Series contingent. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management for Audi A.G., announced that Audi would be back to defend its title in the American Le Mans Series in 2007. That announcement was followed by a dramatic unveiling of Audi's new Q7 V-12 TDI Concept and its Q7 3.0 TDI that featured Grammy award-winning recording artist Seal, who provided a live performance to highlight the two new Audi models.
A year ago, Audi unveiled its revolutionary diesel-powered racecar, the R10 TDI. It not only captured the American Le Mans Series LMP1 championship, but it also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing the year undefeated with eight wins in eight starts.
"Much of the theme of this year's show by many of the manufacturers has been a focus on technologies and alternative fuels," said American Le Mans Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. "No where has this been more evident and relevant than the accomplishments of Audi within the American Le Mans Series."
Further substantiating that relevance was the presence of four American Le Mans Series racecars at the show. While three other race series had representation, none demonstrated the relevance of technology transfers from the racecars to production cars like those manufacturers involved in the Series. Audi, Porsche, Acura and Ferrari have their American Le Mans Series cars on display at NAIAS.
A further reinforcement of the Series' encouragement of alternative fuels came last week when IMSA, the sanctioning body for the American Le Mans Series, announced that it is embracing three road legal fuels – a gas, a diesel and an ethanol – for competition in 2007.