Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rallycross: Audi of America enters Global Rallycross with two Audi S3 Supercars

By Tarek Ramchani

Great news coming from America for all Audi and rallycross fans. Audi of America is about to join the highly competitive Global Rallycross Championship with two factory supported cars.

After great yeas in the American Le Mans Series with Audi LMP cars, the Audi Sport North America banner is back. Two brand new Audi S3 rallycross racers will compete in the upper Supercar class.

The GRC effort is a factory entry and will have full support from quattro GmbH and Audi Sport customer racing. The two drivers' names will be announced very soon.

The Audi S3 Supercars will not take part in the Global Rallycross Championship season opener in Fort Lauderdale, the race debut will be at Daytona International Speedway.

And also a friendly reminder that everyone should check which day it is on the calendar

Photo credit: Audi of America

VIDEO: The road to the 2015 Audi Sport TT Cup

A great video from Audi Media featuring the road to the 2015 Audi Sport TT Cup season including the successful tests at Barcelona.

18 young and talented drivers will compete in the very first season, they will be joined by guest stars and wild car entries in all six rounds.

Photo credit: Audi Media

Blancpain Sprint Series: The Audi squad ready for Nogaro's Coupes de Pâques

By Tarek Ramchani

The beautiful Nogaro circuit in France will play host to the opening round of the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series. Audi Sport customer racing will be very well represented with no less than seven R8 LMS ultra cars.

Three teams will represent the Ingolstadt brand in the French event. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will field four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. The #1 will be shared by 2014 Blancpain GT Series champion Laurens Vanthoor and Robin Frijns. The #2 car will be driven by Christopher Mies and Enzo Ide.The #3 entry will have an all Monaco drive line-up with Stéphane Ortelli and Stéphane Richelmi. The #4 R8 LMS ultra will be driven by James Nash and Frank Stippler.

Phoenix Racing is returning to the SRO organised series with one Audi R8 LMS ultra. The #6 car will be shared by Markus Winkelhock and Niki Mayr-Melnhof.

I.S.R. Racing from the Czech Republic will be in Nogaro with two cars. Thomas Fjordbach and Anders Fjordbach will be behind the wheel of the #74 Audi. Their team-mates Filip Salaquarda and Marco Bonanomi will share the sister #75 R8 LMS ultra.

The Audi teams will face strong teams representing Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Porsche.

Nogaro Coupes de Pâques entry list is here.

Action will start on Saturday with two practice sessions. The qualifying session and the qualifying race will be held on Sunday. The Coupes de Pâques weekend will conclude on Monday with the warm-up followed by the 1-hour main race.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Flashback: Le Mans 2001 and TFSI gasoline direct injection

Audi Press Release

Ingolstadt, March 29, 2015 – The Audi R8 won the Le Mans 24 Hours for the second time in the 2001 season. In addition to the sporting success, Audi caught the public’s attention with a technological innovation as well.

Heavy rain was the major acid test in the 69th running of the race, as a result of which the drivers were not able to run flat-out even on the straights. “Before my team-mates Emanuele Pirro, Frank Biela and I mounted the podium, Jacky Ickx told us that he’d never before experienced such a tough race at Le Mans,” Tom Kristensen recalls. The Belgian racing legend Ickx, with six victories under his belt, was the Le Mans record holder at the time.

On the wet tarmac, the Audi drivers benefited from a technology that Audi Sport had previously developed in a highly confidential project. When it was used for the first time in a race at Jarama, Spain, in spring of the same year, nobody had any inkling of this innovation -- and during the event at Le Mans the technology was initially not discovered either. It only came to light after the 24-hour race. The V8 biturbo engine had a gasoline direct injection system. The technology called FSI – or TFSI in the case of turbo engines – caused a sensation. Response was improved, fuel consumption reduced and the engine could be started again faster – a measurable time advantage after each pit stop.

“The technology benefited us drivers more than we realized before the race,” says Frank Biela. “Back then, we had to make very precise use of the engine’s power output so that we wouldn’t slip off track. The FSI technology ideally assisted us in this effort. The responsiveness of the Audi R8 notably improved.” The system injects the fuel directly into the combustion chamber instead of into the intake manifold.

With this ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ Audi impressed at Le Mans, just like the brand previously had with quattro four-wheel drive on rally racing tracks, in US racing, in the DTM and in super touring car racing. It marked the beginning of an innovation boost of the brand at Le Mans that has been continuing to this day.

NASA Utah: Victory for TW Racing Audi R8 LMS at Miller Motorsports Park season opener

By Johan Laubscher

The NASA Utah region of the National Auto Sport Association in North America hosted its opening event at Miller Motorsports Park this weekend.

TW Racing was out on track with its #08 Audi R8 LMS. The car was driven by Derek Wolthoff and Allen Turner. The TW Racing squad was entered in the GTSU class of the HPDE Time Trail and the two 30-minute Thunder category races.

Madison Snow was also at the event this weekend, coaching both of TW Racing's drivers in the Audi R8 LMS, Derek Wolthoff and Allen Turner.

Both Wolthoff and Turner were behind the wheel of the #08 Audi R8 LMS on Friday and they then split the driving duties for the rest of the weekend thereafter.

TW Racing finished with the second fastest time in the combined HPDE Time Trails results on Saturday and first on Sunday.

The driving duties for the Thunder races were split, with Allen Turner driving on Saturday and Derek Wolthoff on Sunday. Turner qualified the #08 Audi R8 LMS in fourth place overall and finished fifth in the race on Saturday. On Sunday Wolthoff qualified on pole position and finished off TW Racing's weekend with a race victory.

The weekend's results can be seen HERE.

Round 2 of the NASA Utah season will be taking place on the Miller Motorsports Park west course from 24-26 April.

Photo credit: TW Racing

Pirelli World Challenge: Audi teams at St. Petersburg and race 1 podium for Skeen and CRP Racing

By Johan Laubscher

The Pirelli World Challenge moved to the streets of St. Petersburg for rounds three and four of the 2015 season. Six Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were entered by five different teams this weekend.

GMG Racing arrived with two Audi R8 LMS ultra entries: James Sofronas (#14 Audi – GT) and Brent Holden (#44 Audi – GTA). CRP Racing fielded its #2 Audi R8 LMS ultra with Mike Skeen (GT), Stephen Cameron Racing with the #19 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Drew Regitz (GTA), M1 Racing with the #23 Audi R8 LMS ultra bring driven by Walt Bowlin, and JCR Motorsports with the #99 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Jeff Courtney.

It was a wet qualifying session which was dominated by Ryan Eversly and his four-wheel-drive Acura. Mike Skeen was the highest placed Audi during qualifying, despite not getting a clear lap, he was able to qualify seventh. James Sofronas qualified twentieth, ahead of Drew Regitz in twenty-seventh, Jeff Courtney in twenty-eighth and Walt Bowlin in thirty-second.

Race one was held on a sunny Saturday and Ryan Eversly won from pole position, defending from Ryan Dalziel in his Porsche. The start of the race unfortunately saw Drew Regitz involved in an incident with stalled vehicles on the front straight, ending his and a number of competitors’ race. Mike Skeen had a good start and continued to move up through the field, ultimately finishing third under caution.

James Sofronas also moved forward during the race and finished thirteenth. Jeff Courtney progressed up to twenty-first finishing position, followed by Walt Bowlin in twenty-seventh. Brent Holden did not start the race.

The second and final race was held on Sunday. Mike Skeen was the highest Audi on the grid. The first lap saw a number of different incidents which resulted in a caution period that lasted for over half of the race duration. Unfortunately the #23 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Walt Bowlin was involved in one of the opening lap incidents and retired with damage, luckily Bowlin was unharmed.

A twenty-minute sprint began when the race went green. Mike Skeen moved up to fourth place and held that position until he was passed by Ryan Dalziel and spun around by Davison in the Nissan.

James Sofronas finished as the highest placed Audi in eighth, ahead of Jeff Courtney in nineteenth, Skeen in twenty-eighth and Drew Regitz in thirty-second.

The weekend’s results can be seen HERE.

The Pirelli World Challenge will now be heading to Long Beach from 17-19 April.

Nürburgring 24 Hours: Audi race experience driver line-ups revealed for two Audi R8 LMS ultra entries

By Johan Laubscher

The driver line-up for Audi race experience's two-car Nürburgring 24 Hours campaign has been revealed by Audi Sport's weekly newsletter.

Audi race experience, run by TKL Motorsport, will be entering two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars.

The team's first car is the already announced Audi Sport customer racing Asia entry. This car will be entrusted to four Audi R8 LMS Cup race drivers. The quartet includes the reigning Cup champion, Alex Yoong, who will be joined by the 2012 Cup champion, Marchy Lee, and also Franky Cheng Congfu and Shaun Thong.

The second Audi R8 LMS ultra will be driven by a multi-national crew which includes Niki Mayr-Melnhof, Ronnie Saurenmann, Micke Ohlsson and Australian GT Audi R8 LMS ultra owner, Rod Salmon.

The Nürburgring 24 Hours qualifying race will be taking place from 11-12 April, followed by the 24-hour race itself from 14-17 May.

Photo credit: 
Audi Communications - Motorsport

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Britcar: Class podium for Simpson Motorsport Audi R8 LMS ultra at Silverstone

By Johan Laubscher 

Britcar was at Silverstone this weekend for its opening round of 2015. The grid for the MSA British MSA British Dunlop Endurance Championship included two Audi race cars.

Simpson Motorsport entered its Audi R8 LMS ultra, a car that is for sale at the moment, in Class 1. The #30 Audi was driven by Peter Cook and Frank Pelle, the same duo who drove this car in the championship during 2014. This Audi R8 LMS ultra is fitted with a mixture of 2012 and 2013 specification aerodynamic components.

Backdraft Motorsport debuted its white Audi S3 with Nick Jarvis behind the wheel this weekend.

The Silverstone National track layout was used. Qualifying saw Simpson Motorsport taking an overall front-row starting position, second overall and on pole in class.

Two 90-minute races were run on Saturday. The Simpson Motorsport squad unfortunately dropped back with damage during the first race, but soldiered on to finish twelfth overall, thirty-one laps down on the race winners. They were classified as second in class.

The second race faired much better for the #30 Simpson Motorsport Audi R8 LMS ultra with Peter Cook and Frank Pelle piloting the car to fourth place overall, third in class.

The Audi S3 of Nick Jarvis was qualified in sixteenth place and unfortunately retired on lap fifty of the first race and did not take part in race two.

Round two of Britcar will be taking place at Zandvoort from 20-21 June.

Photo credit: 
Audi Communications - Motorsport / Stevie Borowik Photography
Backdraft Motorsport

FIA WEC: Audi prepares for Silverstone season opener

Audi Press Release

Ingolstadt/Le Castellet, March 28, 2015 – Audi used the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Prologue at Le Castellet to thoroughly prepare for the season opener. In the official track test of the racing series in southern France, the engineers tested the two R18 e-tron quattro cars that will be competing in the first WEC race in the United Kingdom.

Audi tested the latest generation of its hybrid sports car on the high-speed track in France for two days. Both Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars reeled off more than 2,500 combined kilometers and achieved many of the engineers’ testing requirements in the process. Audi Sport and Audi Sport Team Joest tested the durability of the tires supplied by partner Michelin, as well as various suspension kinematics, and gathered practical experiences for the racing commitments.

Audi Sport Team Joest and the six race drivers Marcel Fässler (CH), André Lotterer (D), Benoît Tréluyer (F), Lucas di Grassi (BR), Loïc Duval (F) and Oliver Jarvis (GB) experienced two intensive days. Pit stop practice sessions with driver changes sharpened the senses and reflexes of the drivers and mechanics for the first 6-hour race of the year that will be held at Silverstone on April 12. Filipe Albuquerque (P), Marco Bonanomi (I) and René Rast (D), the drivers of car #9 in the races at Spa and Le Mans, watched the test at Le Castellet as well and were closely involved in the team’s work.

“Following our tests at Aragon in January and at Sebring in March we again learned a lot at Le Castellet,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “The two days were profitable for the whole squad. The race cars completed their initial kilometers and will now be thoroughly prepared for the season opener. The test at Le Castellet in which we met with our competitors for the first time showed that we can look forward to a thrilling season.”

TCR: Audi TT race debut with Liqui Moly Team Engstler in Malaysia

By Johan Laubscher

The new TCR International Series held its first ever event at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Sepang hosted the event which included a grid of seventeen TCR entries.

Liqui Moly Team Engstler entered three cars for the opening round, two Audis and one SEAT. The German team has been granted special authorisation to run two Audi TT cars in the first meetings of the season. This was done in order to allow Liqui Moly Team Engstler to run German cars, a specific requirement of the team’s title sponsor, whilst its TCR specification Golf GTI cars are completed.

The #6 Audi TT had Franz Engstler behind the wheel, who was joined by his teammate, Mikhail Grachev, in the #8 Audi TT.

The weekend began with the practice sessions and a balance of performance adjustment for the Audi and Honda cars, with additional weight being added, only to be removed following the first practice session. The two Audi TT cars occupied positions in the lower half of the field during practice. However, Franz Engstler put a strong lap together during qualifying and secured fourth place on the starting grid. Mikhail Grachev qualified eleventh.

Race one was held on Saturday. Franz Engstler had a very good start and was challenging for third place, but contact from behind resulted in broken steering and retirement for the #6 Audi TT at the very first corner. Mikhail Grachev was able to move forward and was running strongly in sixth, until he began to slow on track with mechanical issues, also retiring from the race.

Both Audi TT cars had shown good pace during qualifying and the first race, and Liqui Moly Team Engstler was eager to put the disappointment of Saturday’s double retirement behind them.

The second and final race took place on Sunday morning before the Malaysian Grand Prix. Engstler started from sixth place and Grachev eighth. Both of the TT cars launched well off the line. Engstler was holding sixth on the opening lap and was followed by Grachev into turn four. This time it was the turn of Grachev to be collected from behind, a trio of SEAT cars made contact coming into turn four and collected the rear-end of Grachev. He was able to continue, but had dropped outside of the top ten.

Franz Engstler began dropping back to eight place before he unfortunately started to slow towards the end of the race and coasted to retirement. Mikhail Grachev continued his recovery and finished eighth, salvaging a top ten result for Liqui Moly Team Engstler and the race debut of the Audi TT.

Round two of the TCR International Series will take place at Shanghai in China from 10-12 April.

Photo credit: TCR International Series

FIA WEC: Porsche tops Paul Ricard testing ahead of Audi and Toyota

By Johan Laubscher

The official ‘Prologue’ test days of the FIA World Endurance Championship concluded on Saturday. Porsche enforced its dominance at the test days by setting the fastest time in all five test sessions across the two days of testing.

Audi Sport Team Joest was present in France with its two new 2015 Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars. The #7 Audi was driven by Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Treluyer. Audi #8 had the trio of Oliver Jarvis, Loïc Duval and Lucas di Grassi behind the wheel. Porsche and Toyota were also at Paul Ricard, each with two cars. Nissan was absent from the official testing.

Friday saw Audi as the second fastest manufacturer and this result was repeated on Saturday.

Saturday morning’s session was topped by the #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid. The Audi cars finished second and third (#7 and #8), ahead of the #18 Porsche and the two Toyota TS 040 Hybrid cars (#2 and #1).

The final test session was held on Saturday afternoon. The #18 Porsche set the fastest time ahead of the #17 Porsche. Audi placed third and fourth (7# and #8) and Toyota rounded out the top six (#2 and #1).

The overall combined results from the two days of testing saw the manufacturers in LMP1-H finishing in pairs. Porsche stamped its authority in France with a 1-2 result, followed by the Audis and Toyotas.

Overall combined results for LMP1-H
1. #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid - 1:37.220
2. #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid - 1:38.552 +1.332
3. #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro - 1:39.058 +1.838
4. #8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro - 1:39.354 +2.134
5. #1 Toyota TS 040 Hybrid - 1:39.949 +2.729
6. #2 Toyota TS 040 Hybrid - 1:40.819 +3.599

The results can be seen HERE.

Silverstone will be hosting the season opening six-hour race on 12 April.

VLN: First round red flagged after tragic accident - Audi R8 LMS race debut

By Johan Laubscher

The opening VLN Endurance Series round held on Saturday was red flagged following a tragic accident on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Jann Mardenborough in the #23 Nissan GTR NISMO GT3 was involved in an accident at Flugplatz. His car took flight and crashed over the catch fencing into a spectator area. The event was red flagged and subsequently cancelled to allow emergency personnel access to the track.

It has been announced that there was one fatality amongst the injured spectators. Our thoughts go out to all those involved in the incident, the injured spectators and their families and friends. RIP.

Race report for the Audi teams:

This weekend’s VLN event was the race debut of the brand new 2015 Audi R8 LMS. Two new cars joined the field, one entered by Audi Sport Team Phoenix and the other by Audi Sport Team WRT. The factory-supported Audi R8 LMS entries included the driver line-ups of Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase, Mike Rockenfeller and Frank Stippler (Phoenix #15), and Christer Jöns, Laurens Vanthoor, Edward Sandström and Nicki Thiim (WRT #37).

Phoenix Racing also entered one of its older Audi R8 LMS ultra cars (Audi #5) with Christian Mamerow, Markus Winkelhock, Christopher Zoechling and Frank Stippler. This older R8 LMS ultra was the highest placed Audi during qualifying, securing ninth place on the grid. The two new Audi R8 LMS cars were qualified in positions eleven and twelve, WRT ahead of Phoenix Racing.

At the time that the red flag was waved the field was split with different pit-stop intervals. The three SP9 class (GT3) Audi entries were running fifth (#15 Audi R8 LMS), seventeenth (#5 Audi R8 LMS ultra) and twenty-fourth (#37 Audi R8 LMS).

A total of twelve Audi race cars were entered this weekend. The SP9 GT3 machines were joined by Düchting Motorsport’s Audi R8 V10 in the SP8 class, a number of Audi TT RS and Audi TTS entries in SP3T and SP4T (Rotek Racing, LMS Engnieering, S.Pace Racing, race&event), an Audi A4 B7 from Tuning Akademie Ingolstadt and the Frikadelli Racing TT RS.

The #303 Audi TT RS from LMS Engineering was leading the SP3T class when the race was stopped.

Phoenix Racing also debuted its new Race-Taxi at the Green Hell this weekend. The #4 Audi R8 LMS ultra driven by Hans-Joachim Stuck has the “Crocodile” livery that was seen at the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour.

Round two of the VLN Endurance Series will be held at the Nürburgring Nordschleife on 25 April.