Capello Back At Friendly Road America Confines

Audi Sport North America employs only the best drivers and crew. Dindo Capello definitely qualifies. The defending LMP1 co-champion in the American Le Mans Series and winner of the Italian “Golden Helmet” award (a highly-coveted prize given to the top driver in Italy) has a soft spot for Road America, site of this weekend’s Generac 500 and the eighth round of the 2007 season.

“Road America is definitely one of the most beautiful tracks in America. The track has a little bit of everything: long straights, fast corners, slow corners, uphill and downhill sections. It’s really fun to drive,” said Capello. “After having raced at several circuits that didn’t quite suit our Audi R10 TDI, we can hardly wait to drive at Road America. We should be capable of extracting the full potential of our diesel sports car there. Our last overall victory was more than four months ago. It’s high time that Allan (McNish) and I return to the winner’s circle.”

Capello won the Series’ first race at Road America in 2002 with Tom Kristensen, a 500-mile event. Last year saw Capello finish second with McNish behind fellow Audi mates Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela. Needless to say, he’s looking forward to Saturday’s four-hour race.

Road America is known as a fast, sweeping-turned course to which the powerful LMP1 cars, including the Audi R10 TDI, are well suited. After a recent string of overall victories by the less powerful but lighter and more nimble LMP2 entries, Capello and McNish are aiming for the top spot on the four-hour race’s overall podium.

To do so, the defending Series champions will have to knock off Pirro and Marco Werner, class winners at Mid-Ohio three weeks ago, along with other P1 entries from Intersport Racing, Autocon Motorsports and Team Cytosport, making its third start of 2007 with an AER-powered Lola. The LMP2 Porsches and Acuras could provide a challenge as well.

“We always welcome new competition,” Capello said. “We know from last year that the Lola-AER is a very good LMP1 car. We had tough battles with the Dyson cars last year. I really wish to see more LMP1 cars on the grid because for me this category is the pinnacle of sports cars.

“After Mid-Ohio the team has looked at any little detail,” he added. “For sure we have a big handicap with the smaller fuel tank (81 liters of diesel versus 90 liters of E10 for the gasoline-powered cars). We have to spend much more time in the pits than our rivals from the LMP2 class. We really do not have many options strategy-wise because of the smaller fuel tank. The team will try anything to lose as little time in the pits as possible. Of course, a four-hour race is a little bit different from the shorter races.”

The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Generac 500 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. The four-hour race is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT on Saturday, August 11. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at, which also will feature IMSA Live Timing & Scoring. NBC Sports will broadcast the race from 2:30-4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 12.

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