2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans Prototype race carEnlarge Photo
Audi’s assortment of drivers for its campaign in the 2014 World Endurance Championship has been confirmed, and the lineup includes no less than five world champions and Le Mans winners plus a former Formula One driver. Audi will be fielding two of its 2014-spec R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans prototypes
this season, with a third car to race the special Spa and Le Mans events.
For the first time, the title defenders Loïc Duval and Tom Kristensen are sharing a car, along with Lucas di Grassi who replaces the recently retired Allan McNish
and previously raced for the Virgin F1 team. In the second car will be Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer.
In the 6-hour race at Spa in May and at the season highlight, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in June, Audi will field a third R18 e-tron quattro driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Marco Bonanomi and Oliver Jarvis. The seasoned campaigner Marc Gené will be the reserve driver for the races at Spa and Le Mans.
In 2014, we again have a very good driver lineup,” Audi motorsport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich said in a statement. “Of course it’s not easy to replace a driver like Allan McNish, who drove for Audi for 14 years, but Lucas di Grassi has delivered convincing performances in all of his runs for Audi so far.
Despite the strength of the team, closest rivals Porsche and Toyota have equally strong teams. In the Porsche camp, Brendon Hartley, Marc Lieb, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Mark Webber will drive two new 919 Hybrid Le Mans prototypes
this season. At Toyota, meanwhile, Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin will be driving the Japanese team’s two new TS040 Le Mans prototypes
The opening race of the 2014 WEC is the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 20 in the U.K._______________________________________Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.