Audi Sport Team Joest
Wikipedia: Joest Racing
The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Joest Racing page on 25 May 2020, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Joest Racing is a sports car racing team that was established in 1978 by former Porsche works racer Reinhold Joest. The headquarters are in Wald-Michelbach, Germany.
In 1998, after being associated with Porsche for many years, the team signed a works contract with Audi (its CEO being Ferdinand Piech, a grandson of Porsche) to support them for the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans. Joest helped them build and develop the Audi R8R. Audi, not being sure which concept was the better one, also supported an LM-GTP entry, the R8C, developed by RTN. While the British R8Cs never worked properly, the two Joest R8R were reliable, yet too slow to finish better than 3rd and 4th against one of the works BMW V12 LMR and a Toyota GT-One.
Audi and Joest went back to develop the highly successful R8, winning its maiden race at the 2000 12 Hours of Sebring, and going on the win at Le Mans. Between 2000 and 2002, the R8 cars took a hat-trick of wins at Le Mans, Sebring, and Petit Le Mans, as well as American Le Mans Series titles in each year.
Audi scaled their sports car racing operation down at the end of 2002, preferring to focus their attention on the Bentley Speed 8 for a year, allowing it to win in 2003 (with support by Joest mechanics). In 2004, Audi returned to DTM touring car racing, now officially backing up the Abt Sportsline effort which had been called "private" since 2000. Joest and Abt fielded Audi A4s in the series.
In 2006, Joest began racing the new diesel-powered Audi R10 sports car. They began the 2006 season with a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, and took also the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, replicating that performance a year later and again in 2008, both times against Peugeot's diesel 908 HDi FAP coupe.
In 2009, Joest and Audi introduced the Audi R15 sports car, the replacement for the R10. However, reliability issues allowed Peugeot to finish first and second at the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans, with their 908 HDi FAP which had been perfected over its three-year history.
In an answer to the 2009 issues, Audi reworked the R15 for 2010 (under the R15 TDI plus designation) with a higher reliability factor; unexpected Peugeot reliability issues of the 908 HDi FAP forced all four cars (including one by Oreca) to retire before the end of the race and resulted in a clean sweep of the podium in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, with all three cars running farther than the former 1971 race record, despite that the R15s were not using the V10 TDI engines at full and were not running faster than the four 908s.
In 2011, the Audi R18 TDI won the 24 Hours of Le Mans despite the loss of 2 cars and a ferocious pace from the opposing Peugeots. The R18s failed to win any of the other races in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup that year, however, handing the team and drive titles to Peugeot.
For the first part of 2012, with the collapse of the Peugeot racing program, Audi has run near-unopposed in the first races of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship. The R18 TDI won the 2012 12 Hours of Sebring in its last race and its successor, the Audi R18 Ultra, won the 2012 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with the related R18 E-Tron Quattro finishing in 2nd place. In the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, Joest Racing Audis won the top 3 positions with two R18 E-Tron Quattros finishing 1st and 2nd and one Audi R18 Ultra taking 3rd.
After Le Mans, Audi won 2 further rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 2012 6 Hours of Silverstone and the 2012 6 Hours of Bahrain. While handing the other three rounds to Toyota, Audi would win the LMP1 Manufacturer Championship 2012 and helped Andre Lotterer, Bernoit Treleuyer and Marcel Fässler to become Driver World Endurance Champions 2012.
In late 2016, Audi Sport announced that they would leave the FIA World Endurance Championship.
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