Lucas di Grassi has the honor, privilege and challenge of following the retired Allan McNish as a full-time driver aboard the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (the new 2014 version) in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship.
The Brazilian, who raced with the Virgin Formula One team in 2010 and has since served as a test driver for both Pirelli and the new FIA Formula E Championship, will race full-time with Audi after sporadic starts for the manufacturer the last couple years.
He’ll co-drive with “Mr. Le Mans,” nine-time 24-hour winner Tom Kristensen, and Loic Duval. The latter two joined with McNish for this year’s WEC Driver’s Championship.
The 2011 and 2012 Le Mans winners, Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer, will be in the second full-season Audi with a third Audi set to compete at the Spa 6-hour race and 2014 Le Mans 24H. That car will feature new Audi prototype recruit Filipe Albuquerque alongside Oliver Jarvis and Marco Bonanomi; Marc Gene will serve as reserve driver.
Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.
Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.
“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.
“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”