Wednesday, November 26, 2014

PHOTOS: Best of CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra in 2014 Pirelli World Challenge

A selection of great photos featuring the CRP Racing in the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge. The team joined earlier this year the Audi Sport customer racing family with an R8 LMS ultra and was close to take the GT drivers' title with Mike Skeen.

Photo credit: Pirelli World Challenge

FARA: Five ANSA Motorsports Winning Team Contenders To Compete in Sunday’s FARA Miami 500

ANSA Motorsports Press Release

This weekend, FARA is having one of their biggest events of the year. The famous FARA Miami 500. Every year this event is a fantastic opportunity for ANSA Motorsports to compete at the highest level of club racing with some of their most active customers.

This week-end, ANSA Motorsports will enter five cars in the MP-1A class of the FARA Miami 500. The first entry is the No. 22 2006 Porsche 997 that will be co-driven by Chris Fountas and Aaron Povolodo.

The second entry is the No. 001 2012 Ferrari 458 to be co-driven by Raul Costa and Bruno Junqueira. Bruno Junqueira is one of the most recognized Brazilian race car drivers competing in the United States. After competing in Europe and winning the 2000 FIA International F3000 championship, Bruno moved to the USA to compete at the highest level of Indy Car racing (Champ car). In 2002, Junqueira scored the pole position for the Indianapolis 500. Junqueira is a three-time Champ Car Series Runner-up and he is the first driver since Bobby Rahal to win races in each of his first five years in Champ Car. Recently, Bruno Junqueira competed with success in the ALMS and TUDOR championship series.

The third entry is the No. 04 2010 Audi R8 to be co-driven by Eric Johnson and Bill Lester. In 1999, he became the first African-American to run a Busch Series race. Until 2007, Bill Lester competed full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, being at the time the only African-American competing full-time in a NASCAR circuit. He also participated in a number of Sprint Cup races. From 2008 – 2010, he competed in the Daytona Prototype category in the Rolex Sports Car Series. In 2011, Lester moved to the GT category and made sports car history by becoming the first African-American driver to win in any Grand-Am division. Ironically, Lester won at the Virginia International Raceway, located close to the home of NASCAR’s only African-American winner, Wendell Scott.

The fourth car to race under ANSA Motorsports’s banner is the No. 033 2010 Audi R8 to be co-driven by John Herlihy and Jim Pace.

The fifth car is the No. 69 2011 Ferrari 458 to be co-driven by two “original ANSA Motorsports customers”, Neil Fairman and Ray Langston.

All ANSA Motorsports racecars will race with their drivers to win the Miami 500 km event on Sunday afternoon.

Throughout the FARA Miami 500 racing weekend, ANSA Motorsports and ANSA Motorcars in partnership with MOMO USA will welcome the race fans and spectators on the red carpet.

ANSA Motorsports and ANSA Motorcars Grid Girls will invite race fans to take a picture with them on the red carpet at the ANSA Motorsports transporter located in the Homestead infield competitor paddock.

The Homestead Miami Speedway doors will open at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday and the final practice session is set for (9 and 9:15 a.m.). At 11:30 a.m. fans are invited to meet the ANSA Motorsports drivers of the Miami 500 on the starting grid right before the start of the FARA Miami 500 scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET.

Follow the Miami 500 Live on the web

Photo credit: ANSA Motorsports

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Phenomenal 2014 season for Laurens Vanthoor with Audi

By Tarek Ramchani

2014 was a great year for Audi works driver Laurens Vanthoor. The Belgian GT ace won the Spa 24 Hours outright, the Blancpain Endurance Series and the overall Blancpain GT Series titles.

Laurens Vanthoor season started Down-Under at Mount Panorama. He joined Phoenix Racing at Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race. Vanthoor performed well along with team-mates René Rast and Rahel Frey. The trio of drivers pushed very hard but Balance of Performance didn not help the Audi squad to challenge for race victory.

Back in Europe Laurens Vanthoor entered the full Blancpain GT Series with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. The series combined both Blancpain Endurance Series and Blancpain Sprint Series.

In the Blancpain Endurance Series, Laurens Vanthoor was behind the wheels of the #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra. In the series opener at Monza he finished fourth. At Silverstone he took a first podium with a fine thrid place. The third round at the Paul Ricard was a hard one with only a thrirteenth place overall. In all three events he shared the car with Cesar Ramos and Marc Basseng.

Round 4 of the Blancpain Endurance Series was the prestigious Spa 24 Hours. Laurens Vanthoor had the perfect weekend in the Belgian Ardennes. A storming pole position on Friday then his first outright victory in the series stellar event in his home race with a Belgian team. Double points collected and Pro-Cup series lead. He shared the winning #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra with fellow Audi factory drivers René Rast and Markus Winkelhock.

Vanthoor won the season finale at the Nürburgring as well. He was joined by Cesar Ramos and Christopher Mies dominated the very wet 1000km endurance event. In the end Vanthoor clinched the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series Pro-Cup drivers' title.

Laurens Vatnhoor performed very well in the Blancpain Sprint Series as well. The series which replaced the former FIA GT Series. He drove the #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra along with Cesar Ramos. Vanthoor was fast but faced a lot of bad luck in the seven-roun SRO organised series. The Belgian ace collected no less than five race victories, four in qualifying races and one maine race.

The two drivers won the qualifying race in the season opener at Nogaro but were unlucky in the main race. They took a fourth place in Brands Hatch main race. In Zandvoort they took a podium in the qualifying race but again the faced bad luck in the main race. Victory again came at Slovakia Ring in the qualifying race and yet again an extreme bad luck pushed them outside the Top 10 in the main race. In Portimao Vanthoor and Ramos took a fourth place in the qualifying race and eighth in the main one. At Zolder Vanthoor dominated the qualifying race and finished third in the main race.

The season finale in Baku was an all Laurens Vanthoor affair. Pole position race victory in the qualifying race and again in the main race. Vanthoor along with Cesar Ramos were the strongest in the special Baku World Challenge with their #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra.

These great results and performances were enough to give Laurens Vanthoor the overall Blancpain GT Series drivers' championship title.

Laurens Vanthoor raced in the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife too this season with some impressive performances. He won the first race of the 2014 VLN Endurance Championship with Phoenix Racing. Later he returned with the same team for the prestigious Nürburgring 24 Hours. Unfortunately, the car was destroyed in the early stages with a DNF in the end.

Laurens Vanthoor took part in Macau GT Cup with a factory supported Audi R8 LMS ultra along with Mr Macau Edoardo Mortara. The two Audi factory drivers raced for Audi race experience and dominated the qualifying session. Mortara took pole position and Vanthoor secured a stunning second place. On race day the pair of Audis were defeated by the two works Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s, with Vanthoor taking a strong fourth place in his GT debut in the demanding Grand Prix of Macau.

2014 was simply a phenomenal year for Laurens Vanthoor with the Audi brand. The young Belgian driver is going from strength to strength and he is clearly one the best GT drivers worldwide.

Photo credit: Audi Media

Italian GT: A seven-round calendar for the 2015 season

By Tarek Ramchani

The Italian GT Championship unveiled their 2015 calendar. Seven rounds are planned for next year's competition.

Unlike the previous years the Italian GT Championship will not have any round outside Italy. The 2015 season will kick off at Vallelunga on May 3rd. Later the series will move to Monza, Imola,  the Mugello, Vallelunga again and Misano. The finale will be held at the Mugello

Audi Sport Italia the official Audi Italia dealer team is expected to return with the Audi R8 LMS ultra.

2015 Italian GT Championship calendar:

Round 1: Vallelunga - May 3rd
Round 2: Monza - May 31st
Round 3: Imola - June 28th
Round 4: Mugello - July 12th
Round 5: Vallelunga - September 13th
Round 6: Misano - September 27th
Round 7: Mugello - October 18th

Photo credit: Audi Sport Italia

Monday, November 24, 2014

Prodsports NSW: Melbourne Performance Centre entering three Audi R8 LMS ultra for Island Magic

By Johan Laubscher

Phillip Island in Australia will be hosting the annual Island Magic this upcoming weekend. This event features a number of categories towards the end of the motorsport season, including the final round of the NSW Production Sports Car Championship.

The weekend will feature three races for the Sports Car division. Two individual sprint races for the two drivers of each car, followed by the one-hour CUE Victorian Tourist Trophy for Sports Cars.

Melbourne Performance Centre will be out in force with three cars for their customers in the GT class of the Sports Car races. The first two Audi R8 LMS ultra entries will both be entered with only one driver.

Rod Salmon will be driving solo in his #5 Skwirk/Beechwood Audi R8 LMS ultra (2013 specification) with which he finished second at the Highlands 101 endurance race in New Zealand a few weeks ago.

Peter Fitzgerald will be driving his 2012 specification #2 Audi R8 LMS ultra for EVA Racing/Fitzgerald Racing Services, which he debuted at the Australian GT Championship finale in New Zealand.

The #75 JAMEC PEM Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra (2013 specification) will be driven by the duo of James Winslow and defending race winner, Steven McLaughlan.

Audi R8 LMS cars have twice before taken part in the Victorian Tourist Trophy, both times with race victory. Mark Eddy won the event in 2010 and Steven McLaughlan won in 2013, ahead of his 2014 Australian GT campaign.

The entry list can be seen HERE.

This event may be ending off Melbourne Performance Centre’s 2014 Audi R8 LMS participation, but it will then be full steam ahead for the team and their 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour preparations. The team will be running four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in the race which will be held from 6-8 February.

Photo credit:

FIA WEC: Audi heads for grand WEC finale in Brazil

Audi Press Release

•   Battle for manufacturers’ title and runner-up’s spot for the drivers
•   Tom Kristensen ends professional career
•   Special visual appearance of the number 1 R18 e-tron quattro

Ingolstadt, November 24, 2014 – Brazil is hosting the finale of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) for the first time. On November 30, WEC round eight will be held at São Paulo, marking the first time the manufacturers’ championship title outcome is determined in the last race of the season, Audi having become the World Champions early in 2012 and 2013, the first two WEC years. For Tom Kristensen (DK), the race marks the end of his career in professional racing. 

For Audi, it is the season finale and for Tom Kristensen the finale in his career as a race driver. The nine-time Le Mans winner will be contesting his last event as a professional race driver at São Paulo but continuing his association with Audi as a representative and partner of Audi Sport. Together with his team-mate Lucas di Grassi (BR), the 47-year-old endurance racing specialist will be battling for a top spot in the World Championship until the end. The Dane and the Brazilian, with a score of 102 points, still have a mathematical chance of clinching the runner-up’s position, while their team-mates Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F), with 117 points, are currently ranked in second place of the standings. With a driver team from each, Toyota and Porsche, are still both in the race for the runner-up’s spot as well, ensuring the battle will be particularly thrilling.

The manufacturers’ classification has not been decided yet either. At least theoretically, there is still a chance of clinching the title there as Audi is trailing the leader of the standings by 40 points and 44 points are yet to be awarded in Brazil. Although the brand with the four rings has been the only manufacturer to return without points from one of the seven rounds of the season held to date, the team managed to postpone the title decision to the finale. The past two years saw Audi taking the title in the manufacturers’ world championship early – in the third from last race of the season in 2013 and, amazingly, after just four of eight rounds in 2012.

In the current season, the new Champions will only be determined on November 30. The setting for the decision will be provided by the tradition-steeped Autódromo José Carlos Pace on the outskirts of the Brazilian metropolis – a track that many race drivers greatly enjoy. Its elevation changes during the course of a lap and its challenging cornering sections characterize the facility as a classic driver track. These characteristics clearly distinguish it from many more modern circuits. The fresh tarmac that will affect grip and tire wear makes for a new aspect this year.

But the race is not only an important one for Audi for sporting reasons. In October, the company increased its deliveries on the Brazilian market by 84.5 percent compared to the year before. Aggregated, this means that demand for Audi models has doubled to 10,866 within the space of just one year. From 2015 on, Audi will again be represented in this market with a production site located in São José dos Pinhais.

For racing pro Lucas di Grassi, round eight is his home round. The Audi driver was born in São Paulo 30 years ago and two years ago competed there for the first time in the WEC for Audi Sport Team Joest. In the finale, he will be wearing a special racing suit prominently featuring the local automotive supplier and Audi Sport partner Aethra and the aerodynamic splitter on the hood of the number 1 R18 e-tron quattro sporting the Brazilian national colors will be adorned with Aethra’s company logo as well.

In Germany, fans can watch the final stage of the WEC race at São Paulo live on Sunday, November 30 from 20.30 to 22.00 on the TV channel Eurosport. Audi will be providing reports about all practice and qualifying sessions and the race on Facebook (AudiSport), Twitter (@Audi__Sport), and a news ticker at and on the Audi Sport App.

Topics of the weekend

-How will the battle for the title in the manufacturers’ championship end?
-What driver team will clinch second place in the drivers’ classification?
-What effects will the new tarmac have?
-Will changing weather conditions decide the outcome of the race?

Quotes by the officials

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “We’re pleased to return to Brazil, not least because we celebrated success there last year. In addition, we’ve got a Brazilian driver in our team who is set on delivering a good race to his fans. But we’ve got to proceed from the assumption that under the current regulations the situation will be clearly more difficult for us than in the past season.”

Chris Reinke (Head of LMP): “The season finale will be a race with diverse challenges. Of course it’s a classic driver track that our drivers are very much looking forward to. The circuit has received a new surface recently, with grip conditions we don’t know yet. Furthermore, the race is held at a time of the year that harbors a relatively high risk of rain. This may cause some surprises in the race. But we’re very much looking forward to these challenges.”

Ralf Jüttner (Team Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “The round in Brazil was a great event in each of the past two years. A year ago, we won there. Of course we’d like to make a good showing again this year. And for my squad I’m hoping for a race weekend that won’t be as turbulent as the most recent one in Bahrain.”

Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers

Lucas di Grassi (30/BR), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
-Experienced his WEC premiere two years ago with Audi in Brazil
“I love this track and remember my first race there with Audi Sport very well. Now, for the first time, my home round is also the finale at which my family, my friends and many fans will be visiting me. The Brazilians support motorsport with great enthusiasm. The track with the new tarmac will obviously have more grip. That’s positive.”

Loïc Duval (32/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
-Was the runner-up in Brazil twelve months ago
“Thinking about Brazil gives me a very pleasant feeling. We’re all in good spirits and very excited about the event. In Lucas we’ve got a Brazilian in our driver team for whom the race is a home round. Obviously, we’d like to give our best in front of his crowd.”

Tom Kristensen (47/DK), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
-Drove the fastest race lap in Brazil last year
“The track at Interlagos is on the calendar for the last time until further notice. The circuit is relatively short but a great driver track. There are many interesting turns there, we’re driving counter-clockwise and the vertical differences can be clearly felt. The enjoyment of driving an LMP sports car there is unique. I’m hoping for a great finale that’ll no doubt be very emotional, as I’m ending my career as a professional race driver there.”

Marcel Fässler (38/CH), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
-Won in Brazil a year ago with André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer
“São Paulo isn’t just a normal race track but a tradition-steeped circuit. I like the track and particularly its elevation changes very much. Last year, we were fast there and won but this year the competition has become fiercer. If it rains the race can definitely become turbulent. We’re going to give our best.”

André Lotterer (33/D), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
-Set the second-fastest race lap most recently in Bahrain
“The season finale is held on a fantastic track and the atmosphere in Brazil is simply cool. It feels great to return to a venue we’ve won at before. I’m hoping for us to be strong again this year. We’re aiming for a place on the podium to end the year on a positive note.”

Benoît Tréluyer (37/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
-Clinched the pole position with Marcel Fässler at São Paulo a year ago
“We drivers are very much looking forward to round eight. The circuit is a very classic one and has retained its character – from the pit lane facilities through to the track configuration. Even as a child I used to watch the Brazilian Grand Prix races on television. Today, we’re the ones to offer a spectacle to the fans at Interlagos. Especially the first two turns are very thrilling.”

The Audi drivers at São Paulo

Lucas di Grassi (BR): * Aug 11, 1984 in São Paulo (BR), residence: Monaco (MC); married to Anna; height: 1.79 m; weight: 75 kg; Audi driver since 2012; Le Mans victories: 0; WEC races: 10; WEC victories: 0; WEC pole positions: 0; fastest WEC laps: 1; best result WEC São Paulo: 3

Loïc Duval (F): * Jun 12, 1982 in Chartres (F); residence: Geneva (CH); married to Gaëlle, two sons (Hugo and Martin); height: 1.78 m; weight: 70 kg; Audi driver since 2012; Le Mans victories: 1; WEC races: 17; WEC victories: 4; WEC pole positions: 2; fastest WEC laps: 1; best result WEC São Paulo: 2

Marcel Fässler (CH): * May 27, 1976 in Einsiedeln (CH); residence: Gross (CH); married to Isabel, four daughters (Shana, Elin, Yael and Delia); height: 1.78 m; weight: 78 kg; Audi driver since 2008; Le Mans victories: 3; WEC races: 23; WEC victories: 8; WEC pole positions: 2; fastest WEC laps: 1; best result WEC São Paulo: 1

Tom Kristensen (DK): * Jul 07, 1967 in Hobro (DK); residence: Hobro (DK); single (partner: Hanne), two sons (Oliver and Oswald) and one daughter (Carla Marlou); height: 1.74 m; weight: 72 kg; Audi driver since 2000, Le Mans victories: 9; WEC races: 23; WEC victories: 4; WEC pole positions: 0; fastest WEC laps: 2; best result WEC São Paulo: 2

André Lotterer (D): * Nov 19, 1981 in Duisburg (D); residence: Tokyo (J); single; height: 1.84 m; weight: 74 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Le Mans victories: 3; WEC races: 23; WEC victories: 8; WEC pole positions: 4; fastest WEC laps: 6; best result WEC São Paulo: 1

Benoît Tréluyer (F): * Dec 07, 1976 in Alençon (F); residence: Gordes (F); married to Melanie, one son (Jules); height: 1.78 m; weight: 68 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Le Mans victories: 3; WEC races: 23; WEC victories: 8; WEC pole positions: 3; fastest WEC laps: 2; best result WEC São Paulo: 1

All São Paulo winners (since 2007)

2007 Gené/Minassian (Peugeot)
2012 Lapierre/Wurz (Toyota)
2013 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi)

Track info

Track length: 4.309 km
Race duration: 6 hours
Qualifying record on this track: Stéphane Sarrazin (Peugeot), 1m 18.787s (196.890 km/h), Nov 08, 2007
Race record on this track: Marc Gené (Peugeot), 1m 21.027s (191.447 km/h), Nov 10, 2007
Pole position 2013: Marcel Fässler/Benoît Tréluyer (Audi), 1m 21.303s (190.797 km/h), Aug 31, 2013
Fastest lap 2013: Tom Kristensen (Audi), 1m 21.177s (191.094 km/h), Sep 01, 2013

FIA WEC World Championship titles 

2012 Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (Audi)
2013 Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (Audi)
2014 Sébastien Buemi/Anthony Davidson (Toyota)

Lucas di Grassi about the track at São Paulo

“I’m from São Paulo and celebrated my debut there with Audi in 2012. That’s why the season finale will be a special event for me. Interlagos clearly differs from many modern circuits. It’s one of just two tracks on the calendar that are driven counter-clockwise. The vertical differences can be clearly felt. In the first combination of corners we already brake on entering a downhill section so that a wheel can easily lock there. The apex in this left-right combination is unusual too. Between the third and fifth corners, the track is fast and fluid and afterwards we have to adjust to a very winding section. Turn 13 is followed by a long uphill sector on which we’ve got to accelerate early and efficiently.

Schedule (local times; CET= +3 hours)

Friday, November 28
13.00–14.30 Free pratice 1
17.30–19.00 Free practice 2

Saturday, November 29
10.00–11.00 Free practice 3
15.20–15.45 Qualifying LMP1 and LMP2

Sunday, November 30
13.00–19.00 6-hour race

Photo credit: Audi Communications - Motorsport

Sunday, November 23, 2014

RCCO: Runner-up spot for Audi Team tv racing at 24 Hours of Hamburg

By Johan Laubscher

The 24 Hours of Hamburg was held this weekend. This event is the annual season highlight of the Carrera Cup (RCCO) Slotcar Championship.

Audi Team tv racing was out in force with their #1 Schaeffler Audi R8 LMS ultra and a four-strong driver line-up. Team leader and championship contender coming into the event, Thomas Voigt, led the team of Jan Hennen and Audi Sport drivers Miguel Molina and Frank Biela.

The Audi Team tv racing quartet qualified second on the grid for the 24-Hour event held over the weekend of 22-23 November. They were a mere 0,092 seconds behind the pole sitting Joest Racing Bentley team.

A set of Super Sprint races were held on Saturday before the start of the event. Audi Team tv racing performed well with Thomas Voigt finishing second with the #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra and Frank Biela third with the #77 Audi.

The 24-Hour race got underway at 12:00 local time on Saturday. It was another very exciting RCCO event for all the participants with a lot of exciting racing on track.

After 24 hours of long racing it was very close at the top of the standings. The top three teams, Volkswagen, Audi and Bentley, were all within ten laps of each other during the final hour. Ultimately the race victory went to the Volkswagen Motorsport-Das Kartell team with their #4 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, they completed a total of 5249 laps.

Audi Team tv racing secured the runner-up spot this year, 4 laps behind the race winners. Joest Racing finished third with the #3 Bentley Continental GT, a further 19 laps behind the second placed Audi R8 LMS ultra.

The squad of Voigt, Hennen, Biela and Molina performed very well, but it was not to be a repeat of the team’s 2013 victory. Last year it was the driving team of Voigt, Biela and Helmut Schmid that took the honours for Audi Team tv racing and the Audi R8 LMS ultra.

The 2014 Carrera Cup title went to Volkswagen Motorsport's Stefan Waschow and Thomas Voigt came second in the final drivers' standings. Audi Team tv racing won the 2014 Carrera Cup teams' title.

The results can be seen HERE.

More photos from the event can be seen HERE.

For more information about the rallye racing Carrera Cup (RCCO) Slotcar Championship please visit their official Facebook page HERE.

Slotcar racing is a very popular sport amongst many of the Audi Sport personnel, many of whom take part in this series. It is always great to see Audis competing in motorsport, including the world of slotcar racing.

Photo credit: Speedpool