Wednesday, August 20, 2014

André Lotterer to replace Kamui Kobayashi at the Belgian Grand Prix

Caterham Press Release

André Lotterer will drive for Caterham F1 Team at the Belgian Grand Prix. The team will benefit from having another experienced driver at the wheel of the car throughout the weekend and the German's feedback will contribute to improve the performance of the car. The weather also plays a big role at Spa-Francorchamps and Lotterer is one of the most experienced drivers racing under mixed conditions.

Lotterer will replace Kamui Kobayashi for this round of the championship. The Japanese driver still remains part of the team.

Born in Duisburg in Germany, Lotterer moved to Belgium when he was only two years of age and grew up close to Nivelles, a city that's only 150km from Spa-Francorchamps. Three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, Lotterer started racing in the early 90s, succeeding in both German and British Formula 3 championships before being named Jaguar Racing's Formula One test driver in 2002. A year later he moved to Japan, doing very well in both Formula Nippon and the Japanese Super GT Championship, which he won in 2006 and 2009. He made his debut in endurance racing in 2009, taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. His impressive performance that year earned him a drive with the works Audi Sport team in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, remaining with the team and winning the prestigious race three times (2011, 2012 and 2014). In 2011 he won the Formula Nippon championship. Since 2012, the German competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

André Lotterer, car #10: "I am delighted to be given the opportunity to take part in a Formula One race weekend - I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this chance. I'm ready for this challenge and I cannot wait to jump in the car and make the most out of the weekend ahead. I will need to get settled and used to the car quickly, as the team has worked on a number of updates and we will need to have as much time as possible out on track to optimise the car's performance. I really enjoy racing at the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, it's one of my favourite tracks and it's very close to where I grew up, so this makes the weekend even more special and one to remember."

Photo credit: Caterham F1

Pirelli World Challenge: The Audi squad chasing victories and big points at Sonoma

By Tarek Ramchani

The Pirelli World Challenge is heading back to California this weekend with Sonoma Raceway hosting the penultimate round of the 2014 season. A total of six Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will enter the event.

The Audi teams and drivers are aiming high at Sonoma chasing both race wins and big points. Battle is raging between Audi and Cadillac for both drivers' and manufacturers' titles with only two meetings left.

In the upper GT class, three cars will fight for overall win. Mike Skeen who is second in the overall drivers' standing behind Cadillac's Johnny O'Connel will drive the Audi R8 LMS ultra from CRP Racing. GMG will have two cars for team owner James Sofronas and team-mate Andrew Palmer.

Three Audis will fight for GT-A class victory, the division open to gentlemen drivers. GMG Racing will have two cars for Brent Holden and Bill Ziegler. The third Audi is from JCR Motorsport, the car will be driven by Jeff Courtney.

Audi R8 LMS ultra cars at Sonoma:

#2 CRP Racing - Mike Skeen
#15 GMG Racing - James Sofronas
#21GMG Racing - Andrew Palmer
#44 GMG Racing - Brent Holden (GT-A)
#95 GMG Racing - Bill Ziegler (GT-A)
#99 JCR Motorsports - Jeff Courtney (GT-A)

Photo credit: Pirelli World Challenge

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Swedish GT: Touring car legend Rickard Rydell joins JB Motorsport Audi

By Tarek Ramchani

A nice news coming from Sweden and the JB Motorsport. The Swedish Audi Sport customer racing team announced today that touring car ace Rickard Rydell will join the team for Swedish GT season finale.

Rickard Rydell is a true legend in touring car racing. He won the prestigious British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) back in 1998. He won also multiple races in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) and the national STCC title in 2011.

Rydell is not a rookie in GT racing, he drove in the past the Ferrari 550 Maranello GTS and the Aston Martin Martin DBR9, both with Prodrive.

Rickard Rydell already tested the green dominant Audi R8 LMS Mantorp Park. He will share the car with team owner Jan Brunstedt in the season finale of Swedish GT at the same Mantorp Park.

JB Motorsport performed very well last time out at Spa-Francorchamps in the demanding BRCC series.

Photo credit: JB Motorsport

Blancpain Sprint Series: Six Audi R8 LMS ultra at the Slovakia Ring

By Tarek Ramchani

The Blancpain Sprint Series is back and will head to the demanding Slovakia Ring this upcoming weekend. A total of six R8 LMS ultra cars will represent Audi Sport customer racing.

The Audis performed well last time out at Zandvoort with a brilliant race victory in the main race with René Rast and Enzo Ide. In Slovakia the Audi teams will try to take additional race wins and strong points in the battle for championship title.

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT who recently won the prestigious Spa 24 Hours will field three cars. The #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra will be shared by recent Spa 24 winner and Blancpain Endurance Series Pro-Cup leader Laurens Vanthoor and Cesar Ramos. The #2 Audi will be driven by René Rast (another Spa 24 winner) and Enzo Ide. The #4 Audi will compete in the Silver Cup with youngsters Vincent Abril and Mateusz Lisowski.

G-Drive Racing will enter a single Audi R8 LMS ultra, the car will be managed once again by Team WRT. Stéphane Ortelli and Roma Rusinov will be the behind the wheels of the Russian Audi.

The remaining two Audis are from Phoenix Racing. The German team had a mixed season in the series so far with some ups and downs. The #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra will have Marc Basseng and Alessandro Latif as drivers, they will compete in the Gentlemen Trophy class. Their team-mates Niki Mayer-Melnhof and Markus Winkelhock will share the sister #6 machine.

Audi R8 LMS ultra cars at Slovakia Ring: 

#1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT - Laurens Vanthoor / Cesar Ramos
#2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT - René Rast / Enzo Ide
#3 G-Drive Racing - Stéphane Ortelli / Roma Rusinov
#4 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT - Vincent Abril / Mateusz Lisowski (Silver Cup)
#5 Phoenix Racing - Marc Basseng / Alessandro Latif (Gentlemen Trophy)
#6 Phoenix Racing - Niki Mayer-Melnhof / Markus Winkelhock

Photo credit: Blancpain GT Series

BTCC: 2015 BTCC calendar confirmed

BTCC Press Release

The 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship calendar has been confirmed today (18 August), as has the date and venue for its Season Launch event.

Series organiser TOCA has announced an unchanged line-up of venues where the calendar will continue to comprise of 30 races across ten events, with three races of equal distance taking place on each scheduled weekend.

Such has been the huge success of the BTCC’s recent Season Launch events that Donington Park will again hold the introductory curtain-raiser – which also includes the only official pre-season test – on 24 March 2015.

The Brands Hatch Indy circuit then commences the BTCC’s nationwide tour before the same venue hosts the season finale on its legendary Grand Prix layout more than six months later. Oulton Park will see a return to the Island layout in June.

The UK’s premier race series headlines at all of the country’s major motor sport venues with the geographical spread ensuring that hundreds of thousands of fans can catch the tin-top action close to their homes when the travelling show rolls into town.

2013 saw some of the biggest crowds in recent times and figures have continued to rise during the 2014 campaign to date. Each venue permits free admission for children – some for up to 16-year-olds – to its BTCC event, further broadening the championship’s appeal among family audiences and the next generation of fans.

ITV4 will continue to broadcast every race weekend live and in high definition, as well as via the ITV website. Regular highlights programmes will also be screened on both ITV and ITV4 following each event.

2015 BTCC Calendar:

1,2,3, Sat 4/Sun 5 April, Brands Hatch (Indy), Kent

4,5,6, Sat 18/Sun 19 April, Donington Park, Leicestershire

7,8,9, Sat 9/Sun 10 May, Thruxton, Hampshire

10,11,12, Sat 6/Sun 7 June, Oulton Park (Island), Cheshire

13,14,15, Sat 27/Sun 28 June, Croft, North Yorkshire

16,17,18, Sat 8/Sun 9 August, Snetterton, Norfolk

19,20,21, Sat 22/Sun 23 August, Knockhill, Fife

22,23,24, Sat 5/Sun 6 September, Rockingham, Northamptonshire

25,26,27, Sat 26/Sun 27 September, Silverstone, Northamptonshire

28,29,30, Sat 10/Sun 11 October, Brands Hatch (Grand Prix), Kent

Photo credit: BTCC

Monday, August 18, 2014

TUSC: Audi teams ready for the all GT battle of VIR

By Tarek Ramchani

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is moving to the very beautiful Virginia International Raceway this weekend. A very special round with no prototypes on track and an all GT field.

Only two classes will take part in the 2h45 endurance event: GT Le Mans and GT Daytona. The usual four Audi R8 LMS cars have been entered from the three regular teams. The target will be to give Audi  a first win this season in TUSC. The R8 LMS has been really close to GTD victory too many times this season, only denied by bad luck.

At VIR the Audi teams and drivers will once again battle the strong rivals from Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Viper and Aston Martin teams.

Flying Lizard Motorsport will field its pair of Audis. The #35 car will be driven by Dion von Moltke and a returning Seth Neiman. The sister #45 car will be in the hands of Nelson Canache Jr and Spencer Pumpelly.

The drivers of the #46 Audi R8 LMS from Fall-Line Motorsports have not been announced yet. The final Audi effort is coming from Paul Miller Racing, their #48 car will have Christopher Haase and Bryce Miller as drivers.

Action will start Friday with two practice session. Practice 3 and qualifying are set for Saturday. The warm-up and the race on Sunday with a live stream coverage at

Photo credit: Paul Miller RacingFlying Lizard Motorsports / Bob Chapman

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Super GT: Christopher Haase joins Audi Team Hitotsuyama at Suzuka 1000km

By Tarek Ramchani

An exciting news coming from Japan and Super GT. Audi Team Hitotsuyama announced that Audi works driver Christopher Haase will join them at Suzuka.

Christopher Haase will share the #21 Audi R8 LMS ultra with regular drivers Richard Lyons and Tomonobu Fujii. The Suzuka race is a 1000km event and the stellar event of the Super GT series.

Christopher Haase has won this year the Nürburgring 24 Hours overall with Phoenix Racing and doing the full TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season with Paul Miller Racing.

At Suzuka the three drivers will have to fight hard in a very demanding GT300 field with many factory supported teams.

Photo credit: Hitotsuyama Racing

Audi R8 LMS Cup: “Franky” Cheng Congfu wins Round 6 in Malaysia

Audi R8 LMS Cup Press Release

  • Chinese driver “Franky” Cheng Congfu crosses the finish line ahead of Alex Yoong and André Couto
  • Yoong regains the series lead ahead of Rahel Frey and Cheng
  • GTM category lead for Jacky Yeung balances disappointing GT Asia results
Sepang, Malaysia, August 17, 2014 — “Franky” Cheng Congfu pulled away after taking an early lead to secure victory in Round 6 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Starting from position four on the grid, Cheng jumped to the front to snatch the lead from André Couto in the first lap, having a 60 kg weight advantage over the experienced Macanese. Local Malaysian hero, Alex Yoong, had a good start as well and passed Couto early. Yoong held on to second position but was not able to close the gap to Cheng.

“The introduction of the push-to-pass function as well as the weight additions has fully paid off. The races are very competitive, and the field is very close. André Couto has proven that it is possible to reach the podium despite a 60 kg weight addition,” commented Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia.

Couto put in a good performance with consistent and steady driving. Marchy Lee, himself carrying an additional 40 kg from his second place in Round 5, was always right behind him, but Couto never allowed him the opportunity to pass and held on to third.

The battles for positions fourth to seven were close, with Lee being chased by Rahel Frey, who herself had to fend off Adderly Fong and Zhang Zhiqiang throughout the race. Fong succumbed to a final push by Zhang in the last lap, but kept sixth position, as Zhang later received a 30-second penalty for an incident on turn two with Stefano Montesi earlier in the race.

“The drivers’ championship is very close now, with only nine points between the top four drivers. I expect more close races to come in Shanghai in October”, said Rene Koneberg.

After Round 6, Yoong once again tops the overall standings with 84 points, followed by Frey (82 points), Cheng (79 points) and Couto (75 points).

In the amateur category, Steven Lin secured another victory to extend his lead at the top of the amateur standings. Malaysian Ashraff Dewal had to retire in the first lap to give Lin an easy path to victory. Lin leads the amateur championship with 142 points, ahead of Dewal (88 points) and Jacky Yeung (75 points).

Running alongside the Cup, GT Asia was held at the Sepang International Circuit this weekend. The professionals’ qualifying saw Audi on pole position and P2 with the pairings of Christopher Mies/Jeffrey Lee and Alex Yoong/Philip Ma, but Round 7 ended with disappointment as both cars had to retire due to mechanical problems. In Round 8 on Sunday, car 7 of Mies/Lee achieved 5th place and car 98 of Yoong/Ma finished in 14th place. However, Jacky Yeung again provided a positive for Audi. With 2nd and 4th place finishes in the GTM class, he took the overall lead in the standings for this category.

Next up, the Audi R8 LMS Cup heads to Shanghai, China for Rounds 7 and 8 on October 18-19, 2014.

“Franky” Cheng Congfu: “Getting off to a good start and taking the lead early was the key today. Neither Alex nor I had weight additions, so we both could have taken the lead from the start. Alex is a very good driver and the local hero here, and I’m really sorry about our incident yesterday. However, I’m happy to have won ahead of him today.”

Alex Yoong: “We all raced very hard. I don’t think I could have won today. Franky was too fast and I struggled with some tyre problems. I just knew I had to take André and keep him behind me. I saved my push-to-pass boosts for the end, so he couldn’t catch me.”

André Couto: “The car was good today, except for the extra 60 kg of course! I survived and finished in a good position. Luckily I had no major problems this time.”

Rahel Frey: “I got some more points on the board this weekend, which is really important for the championship. We had some interesting races – everyone was really close together, which shows the high level and competitiveness of the competition. I’m happy so far, but I’d really like to repeat last year’s win in Shanghai, which will help me to win the championship this year.”

Steven Lin: “Unfortunately for Ashraff he had to retire early. I could then push myself against the professional drivers, which was an interesting race for me. It was great!”

Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup

DTM: Double podium for Audi

Audi Press Release

  • Positions two and three in DTM race at the Nürburgring
  • Mike Rockenfeller and Edoardo Mortara on podium
  • Four Audi RS 5 DTM cars retired after collisions
Ingolstadt/Nürburg, August 17, 2014 – A double podium for Audi in the DTM: At the Nürburgring, Mike Rockenfeller (Audi Sport Team Phoenix) and Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) in front of 80,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) clinched positions two and three.

The seventh DTM race of the year was decided right at the start. While Edoardo Mortara on the more slippery inside dropped from second to third place, Mike Rockenfeller was able to improve from third to second place behind the quickest in qualifying, Marco Wittmann. These positions remained unchanged up to the finish. 1.2 seconds behind Wittmann, ‘Rocky’ in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM crossed the finish line in second place, followed ten seconds later in third place by Edoardo Mortara in the Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM.

“I’m happy about second place,” said Mike Rockenfeller after having clinched his so far best result in his DTM home race. “‘Thank you’ to Team Phoenix and Audi. Marco Wittmann controlled the race. I only came a bit closer towards the end. Maybe I could have grabbed him if the race had lasted five laps longer. But you’ve also got to accept that he was simply stronger than we were this weekend.”

Rockenfeller and Mortara were the only two Audi drivers to convert their good grid positions into points at the Nürburgring. Adrien Tambay in his Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM dropped to 16th place in the starting commotion and in the end, in eleventh place, barely missed scoring a point. Jamie Green in the Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg advanced to fourth place after the start, but was subsequently relegated to position 15 after his Audi had been damaged in several incidents of body contact.

The other four Audi drivers had to park their Audi RS 5 DTM cars early following collisions. Mattias Ekström was hit by Timo Glock’s BMW right on the starting lap, with the rear suspension of his Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM being damaged in the incident. Miguel Molina suffered a puncture in a contact at the start and had to park his Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM after just four laps as well. Timo Scheider’s AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM on lap seven was pushed into the Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM of his brand colleague Nico Müller by Mercedes driver Robert Wickens. Both Audi drivers had to retire shortly afterwards.

“Having two drivers on podium in the DTM is basically a good result,” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “Congratulations to Mike (Rockenfeller) and Edo (Mortara). Obviously, it’s not satisfactory that only these two managed to make use of their good grid positions. There were a couple of scenes today we need to carefully look at again. Losing four out of eight cars due to collisions is painful.”

Despite his retirement, Mattias Ekström continues to rank in second place of the standings. Edoardo Mortara, with the same score, trails him in third place. In the manufacturers’ standings, the gaps practically remained unchanged at the Nürburgring. With 284 points and an 18-point gap Audi continues to have chances of winning the manufacturers’ title.

Following a three-week break, the next battle for points will take place at the Lausitzring on September 14.

Photo credit: Audi Media

Saturday, August 16, 2014