Audi Sport is targeting an 11th win at Sebring with plans to enter its R18 e-tron Quattro hybrid prototype for the 61st running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring next March.
An electric-powered racecar has never graced the grid at Sebring, and it's appropriate that Audi is the first manufacturer to do so. The German marque pioneered the use of direct fuel injection into its turbocharged engine with its R8 prototype project more than 10 years ago. Audi also became the first manufacturer to win a major auto race using diesel power when its R10 TDI took victory at Sebring in 2006.
The R18 e-tron quattro, which took a historic victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this past June (ABOVE) would be the sixth Audi racecar to compete at Sebring. Its R18 – a conventional diesel prototype – won the 12 Hours last year with Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish driving.
At its "Audi Sport Finale" in Ingolstadt, the manufacturer revealed that it will enter three R18 e-tron quattros in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, two cars in the full eight-race World Endurance Championship and at least one planned, though not yet confirmed, for Sebring. The 12 Hours is not a part of the WEC calendar for 2013 (the American round of the World Championship will instead be run at Austin's Circuit of The Americas on Sept. 22), but Audi is keen to take in the iconic race nevertheless.
"It looks like this may be the last opportunity to compete with an LMP1 car at Sebring," said Audi Motorsport boss Wolfgang Ullrich. "We'd really like to use this chance and say goodbye to the fans with a nice showing after our fantastic success story in recent years."
The 61st running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida is set for Saturday, March 16.