Frank Biela

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Frank Biela
Frank Biela 2006 EMS.jpg
Nationality Germany German
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 1999 - 2008
Teams Audi Sport Joest, Audi Sport UK, Champion Racing
Best finish 1st (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007)
Class wins 5 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007)

Frank Biela (born 2 August 1964 in Neuss, Germany) is an auto racing driver, mainly competing in touring cars and sportscar racing. He has raced exclusively in cars manufactured by the Audi marque since 1990.

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 the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (the German touring car championship), 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.

Biela driving an Audi R10 in the 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours.

In 1990, he moved to Audi, winning the DTM race at the Nürburgring and the DTM championship in 1991 before Audi left the DTM in mid-season of 1992. Biela stayed with the company, and with the rise of the two-litre Class 2 (Super Touring) rules in other series across Europe, he was entered in various European touring car series over the following few seasons such as the French Supertouring Championship in 1993 driving the Audi 80 (in which he won the championship in) entered by Audi into the championship pairing alongside Marc Sourd. Since his French Supertouring Championship victory in 1993, he is the only standing non-French driver to win it. In 1995, he won the Touring Car World Cup race at Paul Ricard in the new Audi A4, which quickly became one of the dominant touring cars of the mid-1990s.

During the AVUS Berlin race in September 1995, Biela's Audi struck Kieth O'dor's already accident-stranded Nissan Primera squarely on the driver's side, fatally injuring O'dor, who died later that day in a Berlin hospital.

For 1996, Audi decided to enter a works team of two A4s in the BTCC. Biela was selected to lead the team; alongside team-mate John Bintcliffe, the new Audi team dominated the competition. Biela comfortably won the title, finishing every single race and being classified in the top ten in all but two races (an 11th place finish and a disqualification). He also capped an astonishing season by taking first place in the Guia Race of Macau.

Because of the Audis' dominance in 1996, the BTCC organisers imposed a heavy ballast weight "penalty" on all four-wheel-drive cars for the 1997 season. With his Audi badly handicapped by the penalty, Biela initially struggled to make a serious impact. The weight penalty was halved at the midpoint of the season, and results immediately improved to the point where Biela finished second overall to eventual champion Alain Menu. Biela then left Britain to return to the German Super Tourenwagen Cup for 1998, but was largely ineffective. He finished a lowly 14th in the final standings as the A4 (in a new two-wheel-drive racing configuration) became outclassed by rival manufacturers.

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 (2000-2002) in the 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside Emanuele Pirro and Tom Kristensen. Audi began to scale back support for the R8 programme after the 2002 season. After winning the ALMS series in 2003, Biela returned to the revamped German touring car series, driving an Audi for Joest Racing (the team which had run Biela's R8 for his three Le Mans wins); the season was not a success.

Biela continued to race an R8 at Le Mans each year with mixed results. In 2003, he missed the pit lane after just 15 laps and ran out of fuel.[1] He finished 5th and 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 an R10 (again for Team Joest) in the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, alongside 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.

His greatest achievements include winning:

Racing record[edit]

Complete British Touring Car Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position - 1 point awarded all races) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Pos Pts
1996 Audi Sport UK Audi A4 quattro DON
1

1
DON
2

1
BRH
1

1
BRH
2

4
THR
1

1
THR
2

3
SIL
1

11
SIL
2

1
OUL
1

2
OUL
2

2
SNE
1

2
SNE
2

DSQ
BRH
1

2
BRH
2

8
SIL
1

3
SIL
2

2
KNO
1

1
KNO
2

2
OUL
1

2
OUL
2

1
THR
1

2
THR
2

3
DON
1

4
DON
2

3
BRH
1

4
BRH
2

1
1st 289
1997 Audi Sport UK Audi A4 quattro DON
1

Ret
DON
2

3
SIL
1

7
SIL
2

Ret
THR
1

1
THR
2

Ret
BRH
1

9
BRH
2

6
OUL
1

3
OUL
2

Ret
DON
1

1
DON
2

3
CRO
1

4
CRO
2

17
KNO
1

2
KNO
2

1
SNE
1

3
SNE
2

9
THR
1

2
THR
2

1
BRH
1

1
BRH
2

5
SIL
1

8
SIL
2

15
2nd 171

Complete Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

 Year  Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Pos Pts
2004 Audi Sport Team Joist Audi A4 DTM 2004 HOC
16
EST
15
ADR
Ret
LAU
12
NOR
11
SHA1
13
NÜR
Ret
OSC
13
ZAN
9
BRN
14
HOC
11
17th 0
2007 Abt Sportsline Audi A4 DTM 2007 HOC
OSC
18†
LAU
BRH
NOR
MUG
ZAN
NÜR
CAT
HOC
23rd 0

1 - Shanghai was a non-championship round.

  • † — Retired, but was classified as he completed 90% of the winner's race distance.

Complete Porsche Supercup results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 DC Points
2007 Porsche AG BHR BHR ESP MON FRA GBR GER
18
HUN TUR BEL ITA NC‡ 0‡

‡ Not eligible for points due to being a guest driver.

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Result Team Car Class
1999 3 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R8R LMP
2000 1 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R8 LMP900
2001 1 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R8 LMP900
2002 1 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R8 LMP900
2003 Ret Audi Sport UK / Arena Motorsport Audi R8 LMP900
2004 5 Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx Audi R8 LMP1
2005 3 ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 LMP1
2006 1 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 LMP1
2007 1 Audi Sport North America Audi R10 LMP1
2008 6 Audi Sport North America Audi R10 LMP1

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Le Mans 2003". Channel 4. 2003-06-18. Retrieved 2007-06-16. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
John Cleland
Autosport
National Racing Driver of the Year

1996
Succeeded by
Alain Menu
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Hans-Joachim Stuck
German Touring Car Champion
1991
Succeeded by
Klaus Ludwig
Preceded by
Marc Sourd
French Touring Car Champion
1993
Succeeded by
Laurent Aïello
Preceded by
John Cleland
British Touring Car Champion
1996
Succeeded by
Alain Menu
Preceded by
Kelvin Burt
Guia Race winner
1996
Succeeded by
Steve Soper
Preceded by
Pierluigi Martini
Yannick Dalmas
Joachim Winkelhock
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
2000 with:
Tom Kristensen
Emanuele Pirro
Succeeded by
Frank Biela
Tom Kristensen
Emanuele Pirro
Preceded by
Frank Biela
Tom Kristensen
Emanuele Pirro
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
2001 with:
Tom Kristensen
Emanuele Pirro
Succeeded by
Frank Biela
Tom Kristensen
Emanuele Pirro
Preceded by
Frank Biela
Tom Kristensen
Emanuele Pirro
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
2002 with:
Tom Kristensen
Emanuele Pirro
Succeeded by
Tom Kristensen
Rinaldo Capello
Guy Smith
Preceded by
Tom Kristensen
American Le Mans Series champion
2003
with Marco Werner
Succeeded by
Marco Werner
J.J. Lehto
Preceded by
Marco Werner
J.J. Lehto
American Le Mans Series champion
2005
with Emanuele Pirro
Succeeded by
Allan McNish
Rinaldo Capello
Preceded by
J.J. Lehto
Marco Werner
Tom Kristensen
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
2006 with:
Emanuele Pirro
Marco Werner
Succeeded by
Frank Biela
Emanuele Pirro
Marco Werner
Preceded by
Frank Biela
Emanuele Pirro
Marco Werner
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
2007 with:
Emanuele Pirro
Marco Werner
Succeeded by
Allan McNish
Rinaldo Capello
Tom Kristensen