Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"5-time 24 Hours of Le Mans Winner" Frank Biela Born - August 2, 1964

August 2, 1964
Frank Biela
(Photo; "Frank Biela 2006 EMS". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Born in Neuss, Germany.
Biela started his career in 1983 in karting before joining the Ford Youngster Team programme in 1987 alongside Manuel Reuter and Bernd Schneider. He drove for the team in Formula Ford and also competed in the German touring car championship Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, where he won the race at AVUS in 1987. Biela continued to compete in the DTM in 1988, and also raced a limited season in German Formula Three, scoring two wins.

He has raced exclusively in cars manufactured by the Audi marque since 1990, winning the DTM championship in 1991, the French Touring Car Championship in 1993.

In 1999, Biela abandoned touring cars in favour of joining the Audi R8 sports car project, racing under the Audi Sport Team Joest name. It was a good match, and Biela excelled in sportscar racing over the next few seasons, winning several classic events at the wheel of the R8 as well as three ALMS races. The highlight of Biela's time with the R8 team was three successive victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside Emanuele Pirro and Tom Kristensen in 2000 to 2002.

After winning the American Le Mans series in 2003, Biela continued to race an R8 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans each year with mixed results, finishing 5th in 2003, 3rd in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

In December 2005 he participated in the first runs of the new Audi R10 diesel sportscar, the R8's successor. Driving a Team Joest/R10 in the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, alongside Emanuele Pirro and new team-mate Marco Werner, Biela took his fourth victory to date in the classic race. He repeated the victory with the same car and team in 2007.

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