Herbert in factory job at Le Mans

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Johnny Herbert has been recruited to help Audi's attempt to gain a third successive victory in the Le Mans 24-Hour race this year.

Herbert, who retired from Formula One at the end of the 2000 season, will drive one of the factory-entered sportscars in the French endurance race having driven a "customer" Audi last year.

"The Audi R8 is simply a wonderful car," said Herbert, who won Le Mans in 1991 in a Mazda. "You can drive it on the limit from the first to the last lap which is exactly what is required at Le Mans nowadays. The race is essentially a round-the-clock sprint in which the winning car, depending on the weather, clocks up more miles than the winner of the Formula One world championship does in an entire season."

The Essex-born driver will team-up with the Italians Rinaldo Capello and Christian Pescatori for the race on 15 to 16 June.

The other Audi works team of Frank Biela, Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro, will attempt to become the first unchanged driver combination to claim a Le Mans hat-trick.

Herbert, who won three grands prix during his career, will make his debut for the two-car factory Audi squad in the Sebring 12-Hours on 16 March, the opening round of this year's ALMS championship in America. Herbert may also team up with Andy Wallace in a Champion Racing "customer" entered Audi R8 for the remaining ALMS races.