There’s no doubt that Audi Sport’s prototype racing era marks one of the greatest periods of sports car racing and racing dominance for the brand of the four rings. When you consider this portion of Audi Sport history, it all began at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1999 when Team Joest arrived to field the very earliest iteration of the R8R.
While it’s fascinating to look back at still photos of the time, it’s even more fascinating to watch the car take to the track. Now, thanks to IMSA’s aggressive push to make older races available to all, we can share that first race in its entirety.
Watch these earliest versions of the R8 lineage take to the track in the hands of longtime Audi factory drivers such as Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and a pre-silver fox spec Dindo Capello. That race would not be easy for them, as they’d be facing off against future teammates Tom Kristensen and JJ Lehto who were then with BMW and their LMR prototype then testing their upcoming F1 engine.