Four DTM stars debut in Audi R10 TDI cockpit Four Audi DTM stars got the opportunity to test the 650 hp Audi R10 TDI just before the 2007 DTM season opens at Hockenheim on 22 April. Mattias Ekström (28), Lucas Luhr (27), Alexandre Prémat (25) and Mike Rockenfeller (23) completed approximately 1,400 test kilometres with the revolutionary Diesel sportscar from AUDI AG during a development test for the 24 Hours of Le Mans held at the "High Tech Test Track” at Paul Ricard (South of France).
All four DTM stars were particularly impressed by the power and enormous torque produced by the V12 TDI engine during their maiden test. "The thing just takes off like a rocket in every gear,” stated the young German Mike Rockenfeller. "You get used to everything with time – but this engine is simply amazing. It’s a fantastic feeling every time you hit the throttle.”
The Frenchman Alexandre Prémat, who already has Formula 1 experience and sat for the first time in the R10 TDI on his 25th birthday, was equally impressed: "It’s incredible to see just how professionally the Audi team works. The R10 is simply unbelievable: It is a TDI, but has the power of a Formula 1 car. I’m extremely grateful that Audi gave me the opportunity to test this car. And of course it was a nice birthday present.”
Lucas Luhr (Germany), who won the LM P2 class in last year’s American Le Mans Series and previously only knew the Audi R10 TDI from the opponent’s perspective, was surprised just how noticeable the heavier weight, stipulated by the LM P1 regulations, was. "You notice that the car is 150 kilograms heavier, particularly when you brake into the corners or have to change direction rapidly. However, the R10 TDI is very driveable, reacts precisely to changes and is great fun to drive – and obviously the engine power is staggering.”
Mattias Ekström, 2004 DTM Champion, who had already tested an Audi R8, was unable to disguise his delight, just like his three new team mates, as he climbed from the Diesel sportscar’s cockpit. "First of all I need to sleep on this experience for a few days and analyze the whole thing, because it was so amazing that I drove every lap with adrenalin pulsing through my veins,” enthused the Swede. "I felt immediately at home in the car, but I need more experience to keep calm. The power, torque and downforce are phenomenal and obviously completely different to the DTM car. I could only have kept up in the slow corners with my A4.”
All four DTM stars made such a good impression that they are now first choice for the cockpit for a third Audi R10 TDI in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 16/17 June should the entry be confirmed. "This test was very positive since all four drivers had prepared themselves extremely well for this opportunity and remained focused on driving the R10,” explained Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich at the end of the two day test in Southern France. "All four approached the task in the professional manner I expected. They all immediately reached an exceptionally good level and more than fulfilled my expectations.” Audi PR
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