Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Audi: Growth also in motorsport


Audi Press Release

  • Audi Sport’s activities will feature even greater diversity in 2015
  • Le Mans prototypes and DTM as top-level commitments
  • New race car for GT racing and racing series for rookies
Ingolstadt/Neckarsulm, December 17, 2014 – AUDI AG is proud of another year of record sales. In motorsport, the brand with the four rings is poised for growth as well. The world of Audi Sport which, in addition to the motorsport commitments in factory-backed and customer sport, includes the RS models, the Audi R8 and the Audi driving experience, will be featuring even greater diversity in the 2015 season. 

“Success on the race track, more than ever before, has become an important tool to thrill customers,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich on Wednesday on the occasion of the Audi Sport Finale at the Audi Forum Neckarsulm. “That’s why our motorsport program will be extended further next year. In the new Audi Sport TT Cup, young drivers will be given an opportunity to enter motorsport with Audi.”


The one-make cup of AUDI AG will line up on the grid at a total of six events in Germany and Austria, doubling up with the DTM. 165 drivers from 30 nations have applied for the Audi Sport TT Cup. The selection process for the 18 available slots has already begun.

The winner of the Audi Sport TT Cup can look forward to support in the company’s GT program that will be in focus next year. The car to follow the successful Audi R8 LMS is ready to race. Audi will be subjecting the new GT3 sports car to tough testing in selected endurance races before customer deliveries begin at the end of 2015. Tests in the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring (Germany) and at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) will be the highlights.

In top-caliber racing Audi opts for continuity. In the internationally popular DTM touring car series and in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with its pinnacle event of the season at Le Mans (France), Audi will be competing with a minimally changed driver line-up.


Only the place that has become vacant due to the retirement of Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen will be filled – and, as usual at Audi, with a driver from the brand’s own young-driver promotion program: Oliver Jarvis (GB) will move up from the third Le Mans car into the WEC regular driver squad and contest the full WEC season in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro.

In the WEC, Audi continues to rely on Audi Sport Team Joest as in the past. The most successful Le Mans team of all time will be fielding two further-developed Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars in all eight races. An additional R18 will be entered in the 6-hour race at Spa and in the Le Mans 24 Hours, with GT driver René Rast (D) completing the line-up for these events.

Responsibility for fielding the total of eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars will be assumed by the seasoned Audi Sport Teams Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg. Three DTM Champions – Mattias Ekström (S), Mike Rockenfeller (D) and Timo Scheider (D), who have won nearly half of all DTM titles for Audi since 2004 – will continue to spearhead the DTM squad.


In Jörg Zander (50), Audi Sport will have a new Head of Technology starting on January 1. Zander, who holds an engineering degree, has more than 20 years of experience with major automobile manufacturers and renowned race teams under bis belt. In 2009, Zander became self-employed on starting his own engineering office that used to work for Audi Sport as well. His successful predecessor Dr. Martin Mühlmeier will be switching to production development at Audi.

2015 WEC driver teams 


Marcel Fässler (CH)/André Lotterer (D)/Benoît Tréluyer (F)
Loïc Duval (F)/Lucas di Grassi (BR)/Oliver Jarvis (GB)
Filipe Albuquerque (P)/Marco Bonanomi (I)/René Rast (D)

2015 DTM drivers


Mattias Ekström (S), Jamie Green (GB), Miguel Molina (E), Edoardo Mortara (I), Nico Müller (CH), Mike Rockenfeller (D), Timo Scheider (D), Adrien Tambay (F)

2015 Schedule


FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC)

12/04 Silverstone (GB)
02/05 Spa-Francorchamps (B)
13-14/06 Le Mans (F)
30/08 Nürburgring (D)
19/09 Austin (USA)
11/10 Fuji (J)
01/11 Shanghai (CN)
21/11 Bahrain (BRN)


DTM

02-03/05 Hockenheim (D)
30-31/05 Lausitzring (D)
27-28/06 Norisring (D)
11-12/07 Zandvoort (NL)
01-02/08 Red Bull Ring Spielberg (A)
29-30/08 Moskau (RUS)
12-13/09 Oschersleben (D)
26-27/09 Nürburgring (D)
17-18/10 Hockenheim (D)


GT racing (24-hour races)

16-17/05 Nürburgring (D)
25-26/07 Spa-Francorchamps (B)


Audi Sport TT Cup

02-03/05 Hockenheim (D)
27-28/06 Norisring (D)
01-02/08 Red Bull Ring Spielberg (A)
12-13/09 Oschersleben (D)
26-27/09 Nürburgring (D)
17-18/10 Hockenheim (D)


Photo credit: Audi Communications - Motorsport

GT Tour: Team Speed Car testing Audi R8 LMS ultra at Catalunya


By Johan Laubscher

Team Speed Car is already hard at work preparing for their 2015 season. The French Audi Sport customer racing team was out testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain this week.

The team's 2015 plans have not yet been announced, but the potential exists that they will be continuing with their French GT Tour campaign. 2015 will be the team's third season with Audi Sport customer racing and the Audi R8 LMS ultra.

A new red livery was seen on the Team Speed Car Audi R8 LMS ultra during the testing at Catalunya.

Photo credit: Team Speed Car


Dakar: CR Racing and Audi Sport Italia in a race against time


By Johan Laubscher

Audi Sport Italia's workshop is a hive of activity as the team is working very hard to complete the CR Racing car-build before its journey to South America for Dakar 2015.

A few weeks ago it was announced that there will be a Dakar entry from Italy with Audi flavour.

CR Racing will be fielding a purpose-built spaceframe T1 class rally raid vehicle in the Dakar rally during January 2015. This Audi 3.0 V6 TDI powered car, named the Titano-Audi, will be driven by Michele Cinotto and Fulvio Zini with the race number of #399.


The Audi powered Titano will feature unique non-Audi bodywork, but it does have some Audi touches with B7 Audi RS 4 headlights from the team’s parts bin following their Superstars Series RS 4 race car campaigns from years past.

This project is a collaboration between Audi Sport Italia's Emilio Radaelli and Michele Cinotto, which has resulted in an exciting T1 class Dakar entry with the team name of CR Racing.

We wish the best of luck to Audi Sport Italia as they complete the building process of the Titano and getting everything ready to be transported to South America.


You can find CR Racing on Twitter HERE (@CRracing_dakar) and Facebook HERE.

Dakar 2015 will get underway from 4-17 January.

Photo credit: CR Racing / Audi Sport Italia

DTM: Great 2014 for Mattias Ekström with Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline


By Tarek Ramchani

The Audi brand won the prestigious DTM manufactuers' title this year beating arch rivals from BMW and Mercedes Benz. The Four Rings clinched two race victories at the end of the season with the very same driver, Mattias Ekström.

The Swedish touring ace had a great 2014 season with Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. The double DTM champion (2004 and 2007) was not only the best ranked driver within the Audi squad but finished second overall behind series champion, BMW's Marco Wittmann.

Mattias Ekström was the only driver - excluding Marco Wittmann - to collect more than 100 points after 10 rounds in the German Touring Car Masters with a total of 106 points.


The race victories came at Circuit Park Zandvoort (The Netherlands) and the season finale at the Hockenheimring showing a great pace and strong performances against top class drivers.

2014 was a great year for Mattias Ekström in the most demanding touring car series in the world. There are no doubts that Eki will be among the fastest drivers and big favourites for the title next year.

Photo credit: DTM


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

VLN: Møller Bil Motorsport Audi TT RS set to return to the VLN in 2015


By Johan Laubscher

Møller Bil Motorsport has announced that they will be returning to the VLN Endurance Series in 2015. They will be contesting six rounds of the German series hosted at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

The team will again be fielding their Audi TT RS in the SP3T class with the same crew and driver line-up as was seen in 2014. The team’s three drivers are Håkon Schjærin, Atle Gulbrandsen and Kenneth Østvold.

Møller Bil Motorsport will also be continuing their technical partnership with Raeder Motorsport.

It is very exciting news that the Møller Bil Motorsport TT RS will be competing in VLN 2015. The team enjoyed a very successful 2014 season and they are aiming for more success next year.

Photo credit: Møller Bil Motorsport



Monday, December 15, 2014

Gulf 12 Hours: Ho-Pin Tung 6th in Gulf 12 Hours race at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit


Ho-Pin Tung Press Release

Dutch-Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung managed to score 6th place in the GT3 / Pro Am-class in this weekends Gulf 12 hours race at the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina circuit. Ho-Pin Tung debuted in the Audi R8 Ultra GT3 fielded by Team Absolute Racing from Hongkong. Ho-Pin Tung joined efforts with Sun Jing Zu and Jian Wei Wang.

In q 1 Ho-Pin Tung secured 5th fastest lap time overall, 2nd in Pro Am-class. His less experienced team mates did 15th and 19th in the following qualification sessions. The combined results in qualification resulted in 14th place on the starting grid.


The more experienced Ho-Pin Tung did very constant and fast stints in the 5 1/2 hours he was at the wheel of the Audi R8. Two unplanned pit stops due to a relatively harmless crash and a spin influenced the result of Team Absolute Racing. At midnight on Saturday the team secured its 6th place in their class and 9th overall.

Abu Dhabi, December 14th, 2014.

Photo credit: hopintung.net

FIA WEC: 2015 Le Mans 24 hours - 10 teams invited


ACO Press Release

Taking into account the results in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours, the Asian and the European Le Mans Series and the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, 10 teams have won invitations to take part in qualifying for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours. This represents a possible entry of 13 cars out of the 56 places available on the grid for the race on 13-14 June.

Two invitations for:

AF Corse: victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours in the LM GTE Pro category and second in the LM GTE category in the European Le Mans Series - one invitation in LM GTE Pro and another to be chosen between LM GTE Pro and LM GTE Am.
SMP Racing: victory in the LM GTE and GTC categories in the European Le Mans Series - one invitation in LM GTE Am and another to be chosen between LM GTE Pro and LM GTE Am.
Team AAI: victory and second place in the GTC category in the Asian Le Mans Series - two invitations in LM GTE Am.

One invitation for:

Audi Sport Team Joest: victory in the LM P1 category in the Le Mans 24 hours: one invitation in LM P1.
Jota Sport: victory in the LM P2 category in the Le Mans 24 hours: one invitation in LM P2.
Aston Martin Racing: victory in the GTE Am category in the Le Mans 24 Hours: one invitation in LM GTE Am.
OAK Racing Team Total: victory in the LM P2 category in the Asian Le Mans Series: one invitation in LM P2.
Signatech Alpine: victory in the LM P2 category in the European Le Mans Series: one invitation en LM P2.
Wayne Taylor Racing: designated by the Tudor United SportsCar Championship: one invitation in LM P2.
Scuderia Corsa: designated by the Tudor United SportsCar Championship: one invitation in LM GTE Am.
Each invitation can be awarded only if the car in question has been entered for one of the following three championships in 2015: the Asian Le Mans Series, the European Le Mans Series and the Tudor United SportsCar Championship.

Entries for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours will open on 18th December 2014 and will close on 27th January 2015.

The entry lists for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours, the FIA World Endurance Championship, and the European Le Mans Series will be announced on February 2015 in Paris.

Photo credit: 24 Heures du Mans - ACO Official / Sebastien Bassani (ACO)

Successful season for Audi Sport customer racing


Audi Press Release

  • Three championship wins and twelve other titles for Audi teams
  • Endurance racing success in Germany, Belgium and the USA
  • Driver variety ranges from gentleman drivers to top-flight pros
Ingolstadt, December 15, 2014 – The Audi R8 LMS ultra has never before been as successful as in the past racing season. The teams of Audi Sport customer racing won a total of 15 titles in Australia, Asia and Europe. Three major endurance racing victories complete the track record of the successful model. 


The Audi R8 LMS ultra shaped the 2014 GT season like hardly any other race car. More than a dozen different sports cars by renowned automobile manufacturers are pitted against each other in various worldwide GT3 racing series – and the production-based race car from Audi again set the benchmark.

In three series, Audi achieved overall victory in the drivers’ classification. In the ADAC GT Masters – arguably one of the world’s toughest national GT3 racing series – René Rast/Kelvin van der Linde (D/ZA) prevailed. Laurens Vanthoor won the Blancpain Endurance Series as the major international endurance racing series and the 23-year-old Belgian also decided the overall classification in the Blancpain GT Series in his favor.


In the major endurance races, the Audi R8 LMS triumphed as well. For the second time, victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hours went to Audi. As in 2012, Phoenix Racing prevailed, this time with Christopher Haase/Christian Mamerow/René Rast/Markus Winkelhock (D/D/D/D). In the 24-hour race at Spa (B), Audi achieved an amazing third victory in four years. The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT won its home round with the Audi R8 LMS with René Rast/Laurens Vanthoor/Markus Winkelhock (D/B/D). Both races practically had the character of sprints that did not forgive the slightest mistake or weakness. In the case of Spa, the advantage merely amounted to 7.077 seconds. In the 10-hour ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta in the USA, Matt Bell/Christopher Haase/Bryce Miller (GB/D/USA) won the GT Daytona class in the R8 LMS of Paul Miller Racing.


In a dozen other classifications of international racing series, the Audi teams and their drivers prevailed as well. The Audi R8 LMS Cup in Asia that was held in its third year was won by Alex Yoong from Malaysia for the first time.

In addition to the championship titles, many Audi teams recorded further remarkable results. For instance, Mike Skeen (USA) with CRP Racing just barely missed the Pirelli World Challenge title in the finale in the United States. Christopher Haase/Bryce Miller (D/USA) achieved the runner-up’s spot in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship with Paul Miller Racing. In France, Team Sébastien Loeb Racing with Henry Hassid/Mike Parisy (F/F) took second place. In Italy, Marco Mapelli/Thomas Schöffler (I/D) are in second place of the standings subject to a decision by the appeal court.


In any of these events, the race drivers were able to rely on the powerful performance and reliability of the Audi R8 LMS with more than 50 percent of its components being production-based. Worldwide, since 2009, more than 120 Audi R8 LMS cars, which quattro GmbH delivers, builds and markets, have been delivered. This year, the spectrum of race drivers taking the wheel of the R8 was larger than ever before: from the classic gentleman driver to junior drivers such as Kelvin van der Linde, who was only 17 years old at the beginning of the season, experienced professional race drivers including the Le Mans winning trio Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) to extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner (A) more than 260 drivers around the world were at the wheel of an R8 LMS in the 2014 season. Felix Baumgartner, as a new driver with a different sporting background, used the unique opportunity of being trained as a race driver offered by the Audi race experience. Together with his team-mates Frank Biela/Pierre Kaffer/Marco Werner (D/D/D) he immediately achieved ninth place in the field of 165 participants in the Nürburgring 24 Hours.


Overall victories in 2014
ADAC GT Masters Kelvin van der Linde/René Rast (ZA/D)
Blancpain Endurance Series Laurens Vanthoor (B)
Blancpain GT Series Laurens Vanthoor (B)
Nürburgring 24 Hours Christopher Haase/Christian Mamerow/René Rast/Markus Winkelhock (D/D/D/D)
Spa 24 Hours René Rast/Laurens Vanthoor/Markus Winkelhock (D/B/D)


Other successes
‘Petit Le Mans’: GTD classification Matt Bell/Christopher Haase/Bryce Miller (GB/D/USA)
ADAC GT Masters:
Team classification Prosperia C. Abt Racing
Australia: GT Trophy Rod Salmon (AUS)
Blancpain Endurance Series:
Team classification Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
Blancpain GT Series:
Team classification Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
Blancpain Sprint Series:
Team classification Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
Pro-Am Cup Marc Basseng/Alessandro Latif (D/GB)
Pro-Am Cup team classification Phoenix Racing
Silver Cup Vincent Abril/Mateusz Lisowski (F/PL)
Silver Cup team classification Belgian Audi Club Team WRT
GT Asia: GTM Jacky Yeung (HK)
Italy: team classification Audi Sport Italia
V de V Endurance Championship:
GTV2 Franck Thybaud (F)


Photo credit: Audi Communications - Motorsport

ROC: Audi R8 LMS ultra results at Sunday's Race Of Champions in Barbados


By Johan Laubscher

The Race Of Champions took place at the Bushy Park circuit in Barbados this weekend. The ROC Nations Cup got the weekend underway on Saturday and it was victory for the Nordic team with Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg.

Sunday saw the feature event taking place in Barbados, the Race Of Champions with sixteen world class drivers facing off for individual victory. In the end it was victory for David Coulthard, ahead of Pascal Wehrlein.

The Audi R8 LMS ultra was among the cars selected for ROC 2014. Below we have included a run-down of all the race results where the R8 LMS ultra cars were used during the Race Of Champions on Sunday.


The full Race of Champions results can be seen HERE.

A total of four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were used during this weekend's events. Previously only the older Audi R8 LMS models had been used for the ROC events, but this year was the ROC debut of the newer Audi R8 LMS ultra variant. These Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were in the 2013 aerodynamic specification.

Photo credit: Race Of Champions


ROC: Audi R8 LMS ultra results at Saturday's ROC Nations Cup in Barbados


By Johan Laubscher

The Race Of Champions took place at the Bushy Park circuit in Barbados this past weekend. The ROC Nations Cup got the weekend’s proceedings underway on Saturday, where the drivers competed in pairs based on nationality.

In the end it was the Nordic team that was victorious with Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg.

The Audi R8 LMS ultra was among the cars selected for ROC 2014. Below we have included a run-down of all the race results where the R8 LMS ultra cars were used during the ROC Nations Cup on Saturday.


The full ROC Nations Cup results can be seen HERE.

A total of four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were used during this weekend's events. Previously only the older Audi R8 LMS models had been used for the ROC events, but this year was the ROC debut of the newer Audi R8 LMS ultra variant. These Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were in the 2013 aerodynamic specification.

Photo credit: Race Of Champions

ROC: Team Nordic win the ROC Nations Cup with Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg


Race Of Champions Press Release

Team Nordic’s Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg are celebrating after they took a stunning victory in the 2014 ROC Nations Cup at Bushy Park Barbados.

On a hot afternoon in the Caribbean, legends from many of the world’s biggest motor sport series teamed up in pairs to battle for national and regional pride. They raced a mix of cars – including the Ariel Atom Cup, Audi R8 LMS, Stadium Super Truck, VW Polo RX, KTM X-Bow, ROC Car and Euro NASCAR – on a purpose-built parallel track at Bushy Park Barbados.

Before the racing the drivers unfurled a banner in conjunction with the institute for advanced research into brain and spinal cord injuries ICM in honour of ROC’s absent friend Michael Schumacher as he continues his recovery from his skiing accident. Michael and fellow countryman Sebastian Vettel had won a record six consecutive ROC Nations Cup titles prior to today’s action.

But what an afternoon of action it was – as Le Mans legend Kristensen and FIA World Rallycross Champion Solberg prevailed in the final against Team Scotland. First Kristensen defeated Williams F1 official test driver Susie Wolff, then 13-time F1 grand prix winner David Coulthard won out against Solberg to take it to the decider. But Kristensen came out on top in the end, winning the final heat after Coulthard spun off at the final corner (see picture below).


Host nation Team Barbados (Dane Skeete and Rhett Watson) delighted the home fans with a magnificent ROC Nations Cup debut, making it through to the semi-final before they were beaten by Team Scotland. Skeete kept the crowd on the edge of their seats by defeating Wolff but Coulthard came out on top in the end with two wins.

Even more success lay ahead for Team Barbados as they went on to win the inaugural ROC Caribbean, beating Team Jamaica in the final after seeing off Team Guyana and Team Trinidad & Tobago in the group stages.

In the other ROC Nations Cup semi-final Team Nordic beat Team France pair Romain Grosjean and Esteban Ocon by two heats to one. Kristensen and Grosjean both won their original heats but the Dane avenged his defeat in the 2012 individual Race Of Champions final to take his team through.

Earlier in the afternoon, Team Nordic (four wins) and Team France (three wins) both progressed through the round-robin Group A to reach the semi-finals. Team Young Stars were only eliminated on countback of fastest lap time after they joined Team France on three group wins – two for Mercedes F1 reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein and one for GP2 Champion Jolyon Palmer.


Team Americas were also knocked out despite seven-time off-road champion Robby Gordon’s two wins. But World Touring Car Champion José-Maria ‘Pechito’ López did give the crowd some memorable early entertainment as he rolled one of team-mate Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks.

Team Scotland topped Group B with five wins out of six – three for Coulthard and two for Wolff. Team Barbados joined them in the semi-finals, knocking out Team USA on fastest lap time after both finished on three wins. 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay took two wins and NASCAR champion Kurt Busch one win but it was not enough. Team Australia’s five-time MotoGP world champion Mick Doohan and six-time V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup also went out despite Whincup’s late consolation victory.


Photo credit: Race Of Champions



TSS: Top 5 results for B-Quik Racing Audi R8 LMS at Bangsaen finale


By Johan Laubscher

The Chang Bangsaen Street Circuit played host to the fourth and final round of the Thailand Super Series this past weekend. It was also the eighth edition of the Bangsaen Thailand Speed Festival.

B-Quik Racing again entered their #26 Audi R8 LMS driven by Henk J. Kiks for the finale. The team had a very strong but unlucky penultimate round at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram a few weeks ago. Kiks was the fastest competitor in the GTM class (Class 2). Bad luck and on-track incidents resulted in two DNFs whilst he was battling for victory during both of the weekend's races last time out. Despite this, Kiks said that it was his best race weekends of his career to date. He and the team arrived at the season finally hoping for a repeat of the speed and pace they showed last time out.


Qualifying was a story of heavy traffic and red flag periods. Kiks was unable to find a clear lap and only qualified seventh in class.

The first race saw a fourth place for Kiks and the second and final race of the season concluded with a fifth place finish.

It was a good season for B-Quik Racing and the debut of the Audi R8 LMS in the Thailand Super Series.

Photo credit: Thailand Super Series