Former Formula One racer to experience debut at fifth FIA WEC round – Home race at São Paulo in Audi R18 ultra – Brazilian becomes team-mate of Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish
Audi has signed Lucas di Grassi, a local driver with Formula One experience, for the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) on September 15.
Two premieres in September: For the first time, an LMP sports car fielded by Audi under a factory commitment will be running at a race in Brazil and for the first time, a Brazilian is receiving the opportunity to compete in Audi’s sports car program. “We’re delighted to be able to provide the audience here, the media, our importer Audi Brazil and of course the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with a special link to this location,” emphasizes Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “We’re giving Lucas di Grassi a chance to compete at home as an ambassador for endurance racing and to fight for overall victory in the Audi R18.”
After a career in kart racing, Lucas di Grassi competed in the Formula 3 Euro Series as part of the DTM’s supporting program, moved up into the GP2 Series and finished as the runner-up in 2007, was a Formula One test driver and ultimately, in 2010, a Grand Prix race driver. “The WEC race is a nice opportunity to attract attention at home together with Audi,” says the delighted 28-year-old talent. “Endurance racing is a fascinating discipline of motorsport which I’ve only experienced in tests so far. That’s why I’m particularly excited about my debut in the WEC for Audi alongside two big names like Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen.”
In 2009, the Latin American from São Paulo tested an Audi R10 TDI for the Kolles private team for the first time and completed two other sports car tests for a different team last year. To prepare for the fifth WEC round, di Grassi tested an Audi R18 ultra at the Lausitzring for three days in early August. “He left a good impression then, which motivated us to sign him,” says Dr. Ullrich.
Lucas di Grassi’s run in the Audi R18 ultra designated as car number “2” is limited to the fifth race of the season. As planned, the current leaders of the standings, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, will be tackling the rounds at Silverstone, Bahrain, Japan and China as a duo.