Date: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 @ 18:30:00 GMT
Author: audioc
Topic: Audi in Motorsport


Veloqx to run two Audi R8 sportscars at Le Mans and Sebring plus LMES

Yorkshireman Guy Smith aims to become the first Briton in almost 20 years to win the Le Mans 24 Hour motor race in consecutive years.

Smith (28), from Beverley, has been handed the opportunity by newly-formed Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx.

The Brackley-based team will now run two all-conquering Audi R8 sportscars in 2004 with support from Audi UK, the British importer of the German prestige car manufacturer.

Britain’s five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell won the twice round-the-clock marathon in 1986 and ’87 while 2003 race winner Smith feels confident of a repeat victory in this year’s gruelling event staged on 12-13 June.

“I won last year’s Le Mans race with Bentley and I’m very confident of a second win this June - and with a British team again!” confirmed Smith. “Audi has finished in the top-three at Le Mans for the past five years and won the race in 2000, ’01 and ’02 and I aim to add to that already impressive tally.

“I raced an Audi R8 in 2001 and I’m relishing the opportunity of driving one again - it has become the most successful open-top sportscar of the modern day era.”

Smith will contest the Le Mans 24 Hours, inaugural Le Mans Endurance Series, and the Sebring 12 Hour race in an Audi R8 with previously announced driver Jamie Davies, from Yeovil.

Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx hopes to announce later this month, the final two drivers who will join Smith, Davies, triple Le Mans winner Frank Biela and fellow German Pierre Kaffer, in their quest for Le Mans glory with the British Audi team.

Team Principal Sam Li commented: “Veloqx is honoured to have been chosen by Audi Sport and Audi UK to campaign two R8s in the LMES Championship and at Sebring and Le Mans this year.

“Veloqx has always run two cars and has been preparing itself for this decision - we have the appropriate level of skill and commitment in place. We will be the only two-car Audi R8 team in 2004 which will present us with the best possible opportunity to achieve success for Audi UK. We also now present an ideal and unique sponsorship opportunity for European brands.

“Guy and Jamie have been racing against each other for over 15 years and so to get the 2003 Le Mans outright and class race winning drivers in the same car, teamed up with a third ‘Brit’ for this year’s race in France, is the best possible scenario.”

David Ingram, Audi UK’s Motorsport Manager, concluded: “As Britain’s most recent outright Le Mans 24 Hour race winner, Guy Smith’s inclusion in our driver line-up is perfect. His previous Audi R8 and prototype race experience gained in America and Europe will be a major asset to our team.”Smith will also contest the inaugural Le Mans Endurance Series - and the Sebring 12 Hour race - in a second Audi R8 along with previously announced drivers Jamie Davies, from Yeovil, and German Pierre Kaffer.

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