While the wraps are officially being taken off the 2007 DTM season in Dusseldorf on Sunday, the American motorsport fans are looking with mounting interest towards Long Beach (USA) this coming weekend: In the Californian coastal town close to Los Angeles the most important and traditional street race in USA will take place. The event has been held since 1975 and was earlier the scene of the US Formula 1 Grand Prix. The 33rd running this year welcomes the American Le Mans Series for the first time – and, as a result, also the Audi R10 TDI.
The revolutionary Audi Diesel sportscar and its winning streak have hogged the headlines in the USA for more than one year. Most of the fans – including the many celebrities visiting Long Beach this weekend from Los Angeles, Malibu or Beverly Hills to see the race – are excited about the appearance of the powerful 650 hp Le Mans Prototype in the "Monaco of USA”.
"In contrast to Europe, the subject of Diesel is only just starting to break through in the USA,” says German actor Ralf Moeller, who lives in California, is friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and is also a big motorsport fan. "The Audi R10 TDI is excellent proof of just what a state-of-the-art Diesel engine can produce. The Americans are well impressed by it. The Diesel will also establish itself in the USA in the long term.”
Team Audi Sport North America proved 14 days ago by taking a one-two in St. Petersburg (Florida) that the Audi R10 TDI, which was specifically developed for the high-speed circuit at Le Mans, can also win on street circuits. The track in Long Beach is new for every driver. Allan McNish, who flew out to California on Tuesday and inspected the circuit on foot, is convinced that the spectators can prepare themselves for a very exciting race: "The circuit is made up of a series of tight corners, but also straights. Although the regulations stipulate that our R10 TDI must weigh 150 kg more than the lighter LM P2 cars from Porsche and Acura/Honda it will be a close battle yet again.”
Like his team mates Dindo Capello, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner, the Scotsman is really looking forward to the event in Long Beach. "It’s a fantastic event with a great history. The backdrop of the Queen Mary in the harbor, where a part of our team is staying, is quite unique,” enthuses the Scot.
The first American Le Mans Series race in Long Beach starts at 4 p.m. local time (1 a.m. Sunday morning German time) and lasts for 1 hour 40 minutes.
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