Friday, October 31, 2014

FIA WEC: Porsche leads Toyota and Audi after free practice three


By Johan Laubscher

The third and final free practice session at Shanghai concluded with Porsche topping the time sheets for the first time.

Toyota had been fastest during the first two sessions, but the #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid set the fastest time during the third session. The two Toyota TS 040 Hybrids placed second and third (#8 and #7), ahead of the two Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars that were split by the #14 Porsche in fifth.

As was the case during the second session, it was again the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro that was the fastest of the two Audis, driven by Tom Kristensen, Lucas di Grassi and Loïc Duval to the fourth fastest time. Sixth fastest was the #2 Audi with Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer.

The results can be seen HERE.

Qualifying will be taking place next at 07h20, followed by the six-hour race tomorrow. We wish the best of luck to Audi Sport Team Joest and its drivers.




Audi R8 LMS Cup: Couto secures fourth pole in a row


Audi R8 LMS Cup Press Release

Shanghai, October 31, 2014 — Qualifying for Round 9 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup took place today at the Shanghai International Circuit. Former Macau GP winner, André Couto, picked up his fourth pole position in a row after posting the fastest lap time on the full length Formula One track. The extra point he collects for pole position in qualifying means he is now only one point behind championship leader Alex Yoong, who will start from position three tomorrow. “Franky” Cheng Congfu will be second on the grid.

In the dark and wet conditions in Shanghai, drivers battled with the weather as well as each other. The fastest six drivers posted lap times within one second of each other, underlining just how intense the competition is becoming at this stage.


“It’s been a very busy day with two practice sessions and qualifying. With André on pole again, the championship has become even tighter. As the session started, the clouds started to gather and everyone was keen to get their laps in early. It meant the track was busy but the drivers did a good job. The crowds should be in for a great race tomorrow!” commented Audi R8 LMS Cup Series Manager, Mark Turner.

In tomorrow’s race, Yoong will have the full 60 kg weight addition, for his win in Round 8, while Couto will be carrying an additional 40 kg after finishing second in the last round.

Amateur driver Steven Lin put in another strong performance and is now only one victory away from securing the amateur championship. “Steven Lin drove very well in qualifying, even posting a lap time faster than some of the professionals”, said Turner.


André Couto:

“I’m happy with the car today – the engineers did a good job on the set-up. It was my first time on the longer circuit here, and the weather conditions made it difficult to understand the track. I still managed to drive my best and hopefully I can go on to win tomorrow.”

Rahel Frey:

“The car felt good and drove well. I thought I was quick today without making any mistakes. But it was simply not quick enough! Position 6 is not a great starting position as it is on the outside of the track and behind five other fast drivers. But for tomorrow: head up and throttle down!”

Adderly Fong:

“Qualifying was not what I expected. I got a puncture on the second lap. It affected the performance, but at least I’m near the front of the grid for tomorrow.”

Audi R8 LMS Cup 2014
Round 9 Qualifying - Shanghai International Circuit, China
Official Result


Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup


Blancpain Sprint Series: The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT in the race for five titles at Blancpain season’s finale in Baku


Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Press Release
 
The long 2014 season of the GT élite is coming to an end this weekend: like last year, it will be the urban track in the streets of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, to host the closing round of the Blancpain Sprint Series. The “City of Fire” is preparing again to host in great style this event, which will have a stellar entry of 30 cars, with many top teams and drivers joining, attracted by the great happening and the prize money. The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, who enjoyed great success last year as it won both races, is clearly hoping to repeat the result, but most of all, it will focus on fighting in no less than …five championship battles, where it is still in the race for the crown. While securing the Drivers’ and Teams’ titles in the Silver Cup should be almost a formality, the Belgian squad will have to fight to overturn the situation in the Teams’ competition of the Sprint Series, where it currently lies second, 10 points behind the leader. In addition, the round will be decisive for the Blancpain GT Series championships, which are the overall standings combining the results in both the Endurance and the Sprint Series. There, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is leading among the Teams while Laurens Vanthoor is second in the Drivers’ rankings, with still a mathematical chance to opt for victory.

Calculating machines will be an useful tool this weekend on the shores of the Caspian Sea, as the Blancpain GT Series provides for many opportunities to use them. To summarize the situation, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT has already secured the titles in the Blancpain Endurance Series, both Teams’ and Drivers’ (with Laurens Vanthoor). In the Blancpain Sprint Series, it is still running for the Teams’ one, although the 10-point gap will require excellent results to make it.

In the overall Blancpain GT Series, which takes into account all 12 events under the Blancpain banner, the Belgian squad enjoys a 17-point lead in the Teams’ classification, while Laurens Vanthoor, currently second in the Drivers’ standings 23 points behind the leader, still has a theoretical chance to clinch the title. 

Team Principal Vincent Vosse is at the same time realistic and ambitious ahead of the grand-finale: “It’s the last round of a long season, which has been similar to the previous ones. We have had successes, certainly in the Endurance Series and at the Spa 24 Hours, but also some lows. I can’t avoid some frustration when looking at our season in the Sprint Series. We have been fast and competitive, mostly in qualifying and in the Qualifying races, but not very successful in the Main races, winning only at Zandvoort with Ide-Rast. For whatever reason, there have always been some circumstances that have cost us many points. We cannot put all the blame on bad luck and race incidents, it is clear that we have done some little mistakes and lacked consistency, and we’ll have to draw conclusions from that. Now comes the final round and we are still in a position to fight for five titles. I understand it will be difficult to get them all five, but we go to Baku to fight until the end and bring home as many crowns as possible. Last year, we had an excellent weekend there, winning both Race 1 with Rast-Mayr Melnhof and Race 2 with Vanthoor-Ortelli. We aim at having that kind of success again…”


Laurens Vanthoor, who is still in contention for the Blancpain GT Series Drivers’ title, is no less realistic and ambitious: “Theoretically, I still have a chance, but it’s going to be difficult. If I can clinch another title, I would be happy, but I don’t regard that overall crown as important as the Endurance or Sprint ones, because it is a combination of two separate things and not all drivers competed in both series. This said, together with César Ramos, we are extremely motivated to deliver the maximum, and to contribute to the team’s success in the two Teams’ championships still open. We were quite successful in Baku last year, and I believe the Audi will be competitive again. Of course, Baku is a street circuit and we know anything can happen on that kind of track. On top, there is an entry much bigger than usual, with a lot of cars just coming for the prestige and the prize money. The track has been slightly redesigned, in the narrow section in-between buildings, and we need to see how this will play. What is sure is that there won’t be any space for mistakes, as the two races are on Sunday…”

The two of the five titles that are at closest reach for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT are certainly the ones of the Silver Cup, the special class in the Sprint Series for under-25 drivers, as Mateusz Lisowski and Vincent Abril, after an impressive maiden campaign in the Sprint Series, are very close to reach their goal. “While we couldn’t achieve mathematical certainty at Zolder”, explains the Pole, “the situation is such that we just need to finish the races in Baku to get the points necessary for the title. Still, Vincent and I aim at doing well in Azerbaijan, although the track is new for both of us. But we won’t do anything stupid!”

For the two other cars of the team, #2 of Enzo Ide-René Rast and #9 of Stéphane Ortelli-Stéphane Richelmi, the goal will be to bring home as many points as possible for the team, a mission that should be facilitated by the fact that Rast and Ortelli won one of the races each last year in Baku and thus know the track perfectly.

The Baku round will adopt the format used last year, with free practice on Saturday and both the Qualifying and the Main races on Sunday, respectively at 9:15 and 13:55 local time, which is 3 hours ahead of Central European time. 


Blancpain Sprint Series - Round 7
Baku, Azerbaijan   
1st-2nd November 2014

Timetable (all times local = CET +3)

Saturday 1st November 2014
09:00-10:00  Free practice
11:30-12:30  Free practice 2
16:00-16:55  Qualifying

Sunday 2nd November 2014
09:15-10:15  Qualifying Race (1 hour)
13:55-14:55  Main Race (1 hour)

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
#1   Laurens Vanthoor (B) – César Ramos (BR)
#2   René Rast (D) – Enzo Ide (B) 
#4   Vincent Abril (F) – Mateusz Lisowski (PL) (Silver Cup)
#9   Stéphane Ortelli (MC) – Stéphane Richelmi (MC)

Provisional Drivers’ standings Blancpain GT Series after Round 11 of 12:

1. Buhk (Mercedes SLS)                               190 points
2. Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS ultra)             167
3. Götz (Mercedes SLS)                               160
4. Ramos (Audi R8 LMS ultra)                 124
5. Bleekemolen-Proczyk (Lambo FLII)           113
6. Ide-Rast (Audi R8 LMS ultra)             111
Etc..

Provisional Drivers’ standings (Sprint Pro Cup) after Round 6 of 7 :

1. Götz (Mercedes SLS)                                142 points
2. Buhk (Mercedes SLS)                                126
3. Bleekemolen-Proczyk (Lambo FLII)            115
4. Ide-Rast (Audi R8 LMS ultra)               68
5. Vanthoor-Ramos (Audi R8 LMS ultra)  67
6. Bueno-Jimenez (BMW Z4)                         55
7. Baumann-Jäger (BMW Z4)                         5
8. Ortelli (Audi R8 LMS ultra)                   37
… Abril-Lisowski (Audi R8 LMS ultra)      28

 Provisional Drivers’ standings (Sprint Silver Cup) after Round 6 of 7 :

1. Lisowski-Abril (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 162 points
2. Colombo-Fumanelli (BMW Z4)               138
3. Toril (Mercedes SLS)                            99
4. Wolf-Stolz (Mercedes SLS)                    75

Provisional Teams’ standings Blancpain GT Series after Round 11 of 12:

1. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT        251 points
2. HTP Motorsport                                 234
3. Grasser Racing Team                         121
4. Saintéloc Racing                                 78
5. ART Grand Prix                                  73
6. BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil         72

Provisional Teams’ standings (Sprint Pro Cup) after Round 6 of 7 :

1. HTP Motorsport                                 144 points
2. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT        134
3. Grasser Racing Team                         121
4. BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil         72
5. BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert     50

Provisional Teams’ standings (Sprint Silver Cup) after Round 6 of 7 :

1. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT         162 points

2. ROAL Motorsport                                138
3. Fortec Motorsport                               98
4. HTP Motorsport                                  75

More info on the Blancpain series, live timing and live commented TV streaming of each race on www.blancpain-gt-series.com

Photo credit: Belgian Audi Club / Patrick Hecq Photography


FIA WEC: Toyota remains ahead of Audi and Porsche after free practice two


By Johan Laubscher

The second free practice for the 6 Hours of Shanghai concluded with a familiar look on the time sheets. The session was red flagged and stopped early due to poor visibility out on track.

Toyota once again topped the times with a 1-2 for their two TS 040 Hybrid cars. It was again the #8 Toyota that set the fastest time ahead of their teammates in the #7 Toyota.

Audi Sport Team Joest again occupied positions three and four. This time round it was the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Tom Kristensen, Lucas di Grassi and Loïc Duval in third position, ahead of the #2 Audi with Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer.

Porsche #20 placed fifth and Porsche #14 rounded out the top six.

The results can be seen HERE.

The second free practice session concluded the track running for Friday. Free practice three and qualifying will be taking place tomorrow.


 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

FIA WEC: Toyota leads Audi and Porsche after first free practice at Shanghai


By Johan Laubscher

Round six of the FIA World Endurance Championship has gotten underway at Shanghai International Circuit in China.

At 10h45 local time the twenty-seven car field went out on track for the first free practice session. The three LMP1 manufacturer teams were paired with their cars in the top six, the two Toyotas leading the pair of Audi and Porsche cars.

Toyota topped the time sheets with a 1-2. The #8 Toyota TS 040 Hybrid lead ahead of their teammates in the #7 Toyota.

Audi Sport Team Joest occupied positions three and four with their Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars. The #2 Audi squad of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer were third fastest, ahead of the #1 Audi with Tom Kristensen, Lucas di Grassi and Loïc Duval.

The #20 and #14 Porsche 919 Hybrid cars placed fifth and sixth respectively.

The results can be seen HERE.

Friday’s track running will conclude with the second free practice at 15h30 local time, ahead of free practice three and qualifying tomorrow.



Macau GT Cup: Adderly Fong and BRT Audi R8 LMS ultra join the 2014 grid


By Johan Laubscher

The total of six Audi Sport customer racing entries had been included on the original Macau GT Cup entry list and that number increased to seven on Thursday.

The 2013 Audi R8 LMS Cup champion, Adderly Fong, has announced that he will be taking part in the Macau GT Cup during November. He will be driving for the Chinese Brothers Racing Team (BRT), run by Absolute Racing. BRT has been competing with Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars since 2013 and they have been seen in the 2013 and 2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup, 2013 Sepang 12 Hours, and the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series.


It was at Macau where Adderly Fong won the 2013 Audi R8 LMS Cup title with a third place finish last November.  


The Macau GT Cup will be held from 13-16 November 2014.

Photo credit: 


RCCO: 1-2 victory for Audi Team tv racing at the ADAC Hansa City Cup


By Johan Laubscher

The ninth round of the 2014 rallye racing Carrera Cup (RCCO) Slotcar Championship was the ADAC Hansa City Cup held at ADAC Hansa on Wednesday.

Audi Team tv racing again entered three Audi R8 LMS ultra slotcars. The #1 Schaeffler R8 LMS ultra was piloted by Thomas Voigt, alongside his teammates Jan Hennen (#55 Audi) and Mathias Mayer (#77 Audi).


Qualifying concluded with eighth place for Thomas Voigt and tenth for Jan Hennen.

The Audi Team tv racing duo performed very well during the races and finished the evening with a 1-2 result. Reigning champion, Thomas Voigt, took victory ahead of Jan Hennen. It was Voigt’s hundredth victory in the series.

This 1-2 result has also elevated the Audi Team tv racing drivers into the top two positions in the championship points. Thomas Voigt now leads the standings with a margin of nine points over Hennen.


Standings:
Voigt 172 (Audi Team tv racing)
Hennen 163 (Audi Team tv racing)
Waschow 156
Hedden 141
Müller 140
Stüdemann 139
Bäumler 133

More Audi slotcar teams also took part, including Audi R8 LMS Cup cars and EKSRX Audi S1 rallycross cars.


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

Audi R8 LMS Cup: Crunch time in Shanghai


Audi R8 LMS Cup Press Release

• Audi R8 LMS Cup returns to Shanghai for Rounds 9 & 10
• Overall championship too close to call
• Steven Lin could clinch Amateur Championship this weekend

Shanghai, October 30, 2014 — The Audi R8 LMS Cup is back in Shanghai for Rounds 9 and 10 on October 31 - November 1 at the Shanghai International Circuit, together with the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). On the second visit to Shanghai this season, Alex Yoong once again sits atop the leaderboard, just ahead of André Couto and Rahel Frey. With only 15 points separating the three, the championship is still too close to call, and it’s crunch time in the Cup’s penultimate race weekend.



“I expect very intense races in Shanghai. I think the championship will only be decided at the final race weekend in Abu Dhabi,” commented Rene Koneberg, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “Our race weekend in Shanghai, alongside the World Endurance Championship, is very special for us as it brings together the Asian motorsport family of Audi with the global motorsport program and the WEC team of the brand.”

With four races left to go in the 2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup, Alex Yoong goes to Shanghai with 121 points, after retaking the lead in the overall championship with his win in Round 8. His position is not secure though, as only a two-point lead separates him from André Couto (119 points) in second place. Rahel Frey (106 points) should not be overlooked either, as she looks to bounce back from a disappointing seventh place finish in Round 8.


Gentleman driver Steven Lin strengthened his position at the top of the amateur championship with a double win in Rounds 7 and 8. With 193 points and an 80-point lead over his closest rival, Ashraff Dewal, Lin could take the Amateur title this weekend if results go his way. Qualifying will be held on Friday, October 31, with Rounds 7 and 8 taking place on Saturday, November 1.

The Audi R8 LMS Cup is being held alongside the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai this weekend. Audi is fielding two Audi R18 e-tron quattro entries in the WEC this season. The trio of André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler were victorious in the event last year and the trio will be looking for another win in Shanghai to add to their victories in Le Mans and Austin earlier this season. The second Audi team consists of Loïc Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Tom Kristensen. The WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai will be held on Sunday, November 2. 


2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup
Rounds 9 & 10, Shanghai International Circuit, China
Provisional Entry List (v 1.05)


Am = Am Cup Competitor      4R = Four Rings Trophy Driver      G = Guest Driver

Photo credit: Audi R8 LMS Cup


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bathurst 12 Hour: Strong Audi entry count up to six cars - Five Audi R8 LMS ultra entries


By Johan Laubscher

The latest entry list for the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour was released today. With one hundred days to go until the event the entry list has exceeded fifty cars.

The original count of five Audi entries has been upped to six in total so far, five of which are Audi Sport customer racing Audi R8 LMS ultra entries.


The additional entry is that of EVA Racing, the 2012 specification Audi R8 LMS ultra of Peter Fitzgerald and Fitzgerald Racing Services. Thus far it is known that Peter Fitzgerald and Michael Almond will be two of the drivers behind the wheel.

They will be competing alongside five more Audi R8 LMS ultra entries. Melbourne Performance Centre will be out in force with their customers at Bathurst once again. They will be running three 2013 specification Audi R8 LMS ultra cars, all of which were upgraded during the course of 2014.


The first MPC entry is the R8 LMS ultra owned by Mark Eddy and Marc Cini, which was last seen at the 2014 Sepang 12 Hours in Malaysia. The second entry is the newly repaired Audi R8 LMS ultra of Rod Salmon which suffered weekend-ending damage during qualifying at the 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour, he will be joined by Nathan Antunes. The third entry is that of Steve McLaughlan, who also had his Audi upgraded to 2013 specification following accident damage in the Australian GT Championship.

United Autosport will also be returning to Mount Panorama with their 2012 specification Audi R8 LMS ultra. The Bathurst 12 Hour has been a regular feature on the Anglo-American team’s schedule in recent years.


The sixth Audi on the grid is in Class D, the production car classed Audi TT RS run by Performance Parts and Engineering (PPE). The car made its debut in Class A of the 2014 Australian Manufacturers Championship with Glyn Crimp and Matthew Cherry behind the wheel. The car is entered under the name of Kintyre Motorsport.

Audi entries as of 30 October 2014:

Class A:
Marc Cini (MPC) - 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra
United Autosports - 2012 Audi R8 LMS ultra
Rod Salmon (MPC) - 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra
Steve McLaughlan (MPC) - 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra
Eva Racing (Fitzgerald Racing Services) - 2012 Audi R8 LMS ultra

Class D:
Kintyre Motorsport (PPE) - Audi TT RS


The provisional entry list can be seen HERE

The 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour will be taking place from 6-8 February.

Photo credit: 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pirelli World Challenge: Cameron Racing fielding an Audi R8 LMS ultra with Drew Regitz in 2015


By Johan Laubscher

Another new Audi Sport customer racing team will be joining the ranks of the Pirelli World Challenge in 2015. Cameron Racing will be fielding an Audi R8 LMS ultra in the ever expanding GT3 field of this North American sportscar series. 


The team was out testing at Sonoma last weekend. They will be running the car in the GTA class for Drew Regitz, who will be aiming to win the 2015 GTA drivers’ title.  

Multiple Audi R8 LMS ultra teams are again expected to be seen in the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge and it is always exciting to see new teams joining the Audi Sport customer racing family.


Photo credit: Cameron Racing

Highlands 101: Rod Salmon Audi R8 LMS ultra repaired and new livery


By Johan Laubscher

Rod Salmon will have a new look at the Highlands 101 in New Zealand. His Melbourne Performance Centre run Audi R8 LMS ultra has been repaired and has also received a new-look livery.

His Audi R8 LMS ultra was heavily damaged in February, when Jason Bright suffered a heavy crash during qualifying for the Bathurst 12 Hour. The car was sent back to Germany for repairs and Salmon then leased the Peter Conroy Motorsport Audi R8 LMS for the rest of the Australian GT Championship season, in which he and his teammates performed very well. Salmon is currently leading the Trophy class points standings.


His Audi R8 LMS ultra subsequently arrived back in Australia and Melbourne Performance Centre completed the rebuild and also added a stunning new livery. The car has also been upgraded to the 2013 R8 LMS ultra specification and will be seen at the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour and in the Australian GT Championship next year.

The Highlands 101 will be taking place from 7-9 November. The weekend consists of the Australian GT season finale and the special 101 lap endurance event. The #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra will only be taking part in the Highlands 101 endurance event, whilst Salmon will again be seen in the #6 R8 LMS for the Australian GT races.

Rod Salmon will be joined by Nathan Antunes for both the Australian GT races and the Highlands 101 endurance race.

Photo credit: Melbourne Performance Centre


 

GT Open: Team Novadriver entering two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars at season finale


By Johan Laubscher

Team Novadriver is heading to the final round of the International GT Open with a two-car entry. The finale will be held at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain from 1-2 November.

The Portuguese Audi Sport customer racing team has competed in the GT Open all season long with the #58 Audi R8 LMS ultra driven by César Campaniço and Aditya Patel in the GTS class (GT3).


They will be adding their second Audi R8 LMS ultra to the grid, making its first appearance in the 2014 season, for drivers Fernando Monje and Fabian Hamprecht.

The team’s aim is clear, as they are aiming to take the GTS class victories in the upcoming weekend’s two races.

Photo credit: Team Novadriver