Audi Motorsport have confirmed the reshuffled driver line-ups that they will use to take on Toyota and newcomers Porsche in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The team will run a pair of the 2014 versions of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro for the WEC season, with a third car joining the fray at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans.
The new look line-ups have been prompted – at least in part – by the retirement of long time Audi driver Allan McNish at the end of last season, in which he won both the WEC title and the 24 Hours of Le Mans with co-drivers Loic Duval and Tom Kristensen.
Duval and Kristensen remain as co-drivers to defend their titles, Kristensen starting the season in search of a potential tenth win at Le Mans. The pair will be joined by Lucas di Grassi, who is promoted to a full time drive in Audi’s LMP program having made a one-off WEC appearance in 2012 at Interlagos for his home round of the series before driving in both the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Ingolstadt team last season alongside Marc Gene and Oliver Jarvis.
Jarvis remains in a race seat in Audi’s third car that will run at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans. The Briton will be reunited with Marco Bononami, the Italian with whom he drove at Le Mans in 2012. Filipe Albuquerque, previously announced as moving from Audi’s DTM set-up to the LMP program will complete the line-up.
“In Lucas di Grassi we’ve found the ideal complement to Tom Kristensen and Loïc Duval,” said Chris Reinke, Audi’s LMP project leader. “Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer have been a solid team for several years. We’re delighted to have Filipe Albuquerque as a driver in the LMP1 sports car. He’s shown his ability to handle the switch from the DTM car to an LMP1 prototype in track tests. Together with Marco Bonanomi and Oliver Jarvis he’s forming a promising trio that’ll truly strengthen our line-up in the races it’ll be running in.”
The combination of Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer remains unchanged, the double Le Mans winning trio set for their fifth season together.
The WEC season begins with the Six Hours of Silverstone on April 20.