Audi Sport will kick of it's 5th season in the FIA World Endurance Championship this Sunday at Silverstone Circuit in Southern England, marking the competition debut of Audi Sport Team Joest's all-new R18.  For this year's competition, Audi Sport Team Joest will field two R18s, featuring driver lineups of Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer in the 7 car, and di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis in the number 8.

This year's 6 Hours of Silverstone will mark the beginning of what Audi Sport hopes to be a return to form, after the car of Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer finished second overall in the Driver's Championship, and Audi Sport finished second in the Manufacturer's Championship in 2015.  Silverstone is a circuit the drivers all know quite well, having won the 6 Hours last year, and located just 130km from Oliver Jarvis' home in Burwell.

Equipped with more power, enhanced aerodynamics and increased efficiency, Audi Sport Team Joest will take the green flag for the 6 Hours of Silverstone at 7AM EST.  Coverage of the race will be made available on Audi Sport's social media pages, and on Fox Sports 1 (Green-9AM EST) and Fox Sports 2 (9AM EST-Checkered).

Read the full press release below.
  • First race of the new Audi R18
  • Audi Sport Team Joest on grid with two driver squads
Audi will start to its fifth season in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) on April 17. On the 5.891-kilometer track at Silverstone near the UK town of Northampton, the brand will be contesting the season opener with two new LMP1 race cars.
The Silverstone 6 Hours is a classic on the international sports car calendar. Since 2012, the race has been part of the FIA WEC. Previously, Audi had been successful on the tradition-steeped circuit with its LMP race cars three times and once with the super touring cars. At last year’s event, endurance racing fans witnessed a thrilling competition, as the Audi drivers and their rivals overtook each other several times per lap. In the end, the brand with the four rings won. Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) were the fastest drivers last April, crossing the finish line with a 4.6-second advantage following a nail-biting race. Next Sunday, the hybrid sports cars from Audi, Porsche and Toyota will be meeting again in a field of 33 participants in total.

“The cards have been reshuffled this year,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “All the manufacturers will be on the grid with new race cars. The Audi R18 practically has not a single bolt in common anymore with its predecessor. Nobody knows the new relative strengths yet. The Silverstone season opener will be the first assessment of where everyone stands.” Audi has optimized many areas of its LMP1 race car. The R18’s V6 TDI engine has to run with about ten percent less fuel. Still, Audi intends to remain a powerful contender due to better efficiency. With the new hybrid system and around 1,000 hp of system output, the new R18 puts more power on track than any of its predecessors. Aerodynamics, the monocoque and the suspension are new, as well as many systems in the race car such as central hydraulics. The ultimate objective is to achieve maximum efficiency combined with high performance – as required by the regulations. The R18 now processes 50 percent more hybrid energy than its predecessor, storing it in a battery for the first time.
Alongside last year’s winners, Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer, in car number “7,” Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Oliver Jarvis (BR/F/GB) are competing in car number “8” for Audi Sport Team Joest. For Oliver Jarvis, Silverstone is a home round – he lives in Burwell, 130 kilometers away from the race track.

Audi has a special relationship with the United Kingdom and the UK automobile market. Within the space of a decade, the brand more than doubled its deliveries there and in 2015 added another five percent. In 2015, Audi delivered 166,817 units in the UK, more than ever before.

The first of nine FIA WEC rounds will start on Sunday, April 17, at 12:00 (13:00 CEST). Eurosport will start to air 130 minutes of live coverage of the race decision at 17:00 CEST. In addition, Audi will be offering accompanying reportage on Facebook (AudiSport), Twitter (@Audi__Sport) and the Audi Sport App.