Felix BaumgartnerEnlarge Photo
Austrian Daredevil Felix Baumgartner, the man who famously jumped from a height of 24 miles in 2012’s Red Bull Stratos mission, has been confirmed to drive an Audi R8 race car in this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race, set for June. While Baumgartner won’t be reaching speeds anywhere near the 843.6 mph he reached during his record skydive, competing in one of the world’s toughest endurance races will no doubt get his adrenaline pumping.
Baumgartner is just starting his racing career, so he’s got a lot of preparation ahead of him. The Austrian will first need to obtain a racing license and then start months of training. Official tests for the VLN series, which includes the Nürburgring 24 Hours, starts up this month. Qualifying, meanwhile, will take place in early April, with the actual race spanning the weekend starting June 21.
You may be wondering how Baumgartner got to be signed as an official Audi driver in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. He’s participating in the Audi Race Experience program, where almost anyone with an interest in motorsport can buy a seat.
Baumgartner will race a 2014 R8 LMS ultra together with professional drivers Frank Biela (a five-time Le Mans winner), Marco Werner (a three-time Le Mans winner) and Pierre Kaffer. Others taking part in the Audi Race Experience program are Dominique Bastien, Rahel Frey, Christian Bollrath and Christiaan Frankenhout, who will take turns behind the wheel of a 2014 R8 LMS ultra race car in the upcoming event.
The latest version of the R8 LMS ultra features an output of 562 horsepower, a six-speed sequential gearbox and a rear-wheel-drive layout. The minimum weight of the car, according to regulations, is 1,250 kilograms (2,755 pounds).
“This task is totally exciting and I’m looking forward to driving races in an Audi,” Baumgartner said in a statement. “During initial tests in the road-going Audi R8 I got to know the Nürburgring, and in the Audi R8 LMS ultra I’ve clocked a few kilometers on various tracks as well.”
We wish him the best of luck and look forward to seeing him race this June.