Audi starts the 2011 sports car racing season at Sebring on March 19 by making its final appearance with the Audi R15 TDI, which had to be modified to comply with the new regulations and which carries the project name "R15 plus plus." Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Mike Rockenfeller, last year's Le Mans winners, as well as Dindo Capello, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen will drive the two diesel race sports cars at America's premier sports car endurance race. After Sebring, the team will switch to a new R18 prototype.
The new LMP1 prototype regulations limit engine displacement for new models such as the Audi R18, which will contest its first race in May, to 3.7 liters. Older cars like the Audi R15 TDI will be slowed down accordingly. Therefore, the 5.5 liter V10 engine in the Audi R15 TDI must now draw air through two intake-air restrictors four millimeters less than before. At the same time the boost pressure is reduced by 23 percent and the fuel tank may only hold 65 instead of the previous 81 liters of diesel.
The R15 won its debut race at Sebring back in 2009, giving Audi its ninth Sebring victory. Last year, Peugeot dominated the 12-hour classic, meaning three different manufacturers have won Sebring over the past three years (Porsche, Audi and Peugeot).
Over 20 cars from the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup are heading to Sebring for the 59th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. They will join the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila PatrÂ¢n teams in one of the most competitive Sebring endurance classics ever.