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Oct 14, 2012 - 08:41 PM
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Motorsport-Newsletter 40/2012: Customer Team WRT Wins Blancpain Endurance Series
Posted by: newsla on Oct 14, 2012 - 08:39 PM
American Le Mans Series News
Motorsport-Newsletter 40/2012: Customer Team WRT Wins Blancpain Endurance Series

At the season finale of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Navarra (E), the Audi R8 LMS ultra made its race team win two titles. Edoardo Mortara will compete in Asia to defend the title at the prestigious race in Macau. Meanwhile, the seventh round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Japan attracted a lot of attention.


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Title defense in Spain: At the season finale of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Navarra, Spain, the Audi R8 LMS ultra of the Belgian Audi Club WRT customer team clinched as many as two titles. Thanks to a second-place finish Stéphane Ortelli/Christopher Mies/Christopher Haase took the drivers’ title in the Europe-wide series for GT3 sports cars. Third place went to Frank Stippler/Oliver Jarvis/Filippe Albuquerque in the sister car. In addition, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT secured victory in the team classification. Both titles had already gone to the Belgian squad of Team Principal Vincent Vosse last year. However, due to pending protests the results are considered provisional.

Project title defense: Edoardo Mortara is returning to the Macau Grand Prix. The Audi factory driver won the tradition-steeped Formula 3 Grand Prix there in 2009 and 2010 and decided the GT Cup in his favor at the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS last year. This year, he is aiming to celebrate his fourth consecutive victory at the city street race on November 18 in a privately entered Audi R8 LMS ultra. 33 entrants representing seven different brands have registered for the GT race.

Employee motivation: Before flying to Fuji, in the week before last, Allan McNish took part in a brainstorming workshop at Silverstone that was focused on fans. There, the two-time Le Mans winner worked with 160 employees of Audi UK on such topics as what it means to be an Audi fan, developing and fostering a fan culture, being a team player and working together to achieve victories.

Personal presentation: André Lotterer arrived at Fuji in a company car. The German who lives in Japan traveled to the race track in his Audi R8 Spyder. With that, he gave Leena Gade a special treat as well. A week ago on Sunday, Lotterer picked up his race engineer at the airport in the R8 Spyder and took her on a tour of Tokyo.

Test day at Fuji: Before the seventh race of the WEC season, an official test was scheduled at the Fuji race track on Wednesday. The teams had the opportunity to test their race cars for seven hours. Audi Sport Team Joest with the two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars completed a total of 254 laps equating to 1.159 kilometers.

For a good cause: André Lotterer competed in the WEC round in Japan wearing a helmet with special graphics. While retaining the previous graphics on the right-hand half of the helmet, the left half was adorned by a timepiece. The idea was generated in collaboration with partner TAG Heuer. After the race, the Audi factory driver gave the helmet up for an auction. The proceeds will go to the "Great East Japan Earthquake Children Support Project." It assists children who are still suffering from the consequences of the natural disaster that struck the eastern part of Japan in March 2011.

Award for most efficient drive: Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen at the seventh WEC round at Fuji received the award for the most efficient drive at the previous race in Bahrain. The Michelin Green X Challenge accolade was presented to them by Michelin manager Serge Grisin. At Fuji, the Scotsman and the Dane were again the most efficient drivers in the field.

Commitments for Audi: Loïc Duval supported his brand at the WEC race at Fuji. The French Audi factory driver with residence in Tokyo was involved in various programs for the guests, which included rides in sporty production models and a talk show in the entertainment sector. Seiji Ara, 2004 Le Mans winner with Audi, chauffeured the brand’s guests around the circuit in the Audi R8 as well.

Moving on to the next venue: The employees of Audi Sport Team Joest are staying in Asia for the WEC season finale. Instead of returning to their home base in Germany’s Odenwald region, the team-members are traveling to China early to privately spend a few days of vacation before the final race at Shanghai on October 28.

Joint appearance: The finale of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) from October 26 to 28 at Shanghai will not only involve the two Audi R18 cars of the factory team. Newly added to the supporting program have been two more rounds of the Audi R8 LMS Cup. In the Audi one-make cup, 16 GT sports cars, each delivering 560 HP, will be pitted against each other.

Recommendation by the pro: Edoardo Mortara was involved in a film production featuring the new Audi R8 since the beginning of October. The Audi factory driver tested particularly scenic routes in Italy. They will be recommended to future customers of the sports car in the form of a video road-book that presents the routes in detail.

Press conference at the Kart track: The DTM is inviting to a press conference before its season finale at Hockenheim. Audi factory driver Mike Rockenfeller and two other DTM racers will answer questions by the media at Planet Kart in Mannheim on Monday, starting at 10:30.

TV tips for Audi fans: Next Thursday, October 18, from 20:05 (CEST), the TV channel n-tv will air the 55-minute program "Top Cars" about the new Audi R8. The Audi R8 LMS ultra is featured in the program as well. Specifically for this TV documentary, quattro GmbH opened the doors to its factory halls in Heilbronn-Biberach where the GT3 race car from Audi is made.

Exhibition in Italy: Rally fans of the Audi brand can experience two historic cars in Padova. At the Salone Auto e Moto d’Epoca, the Audi Sport Club Italia will be showcasing the rally versions of a 1981 Audi quattro and a 1984 Audi Sport quattro.

Strong on television: At the TV total Stock Car Crash Challenge aired on ProSieben, Timo Scheider was rewarded for his endurance on Saturday night. In the rodeo discipline in which all vehicles that are still drivable participate, only the two-time DTM Champion and the former Formula 1 driver Adrian Sutil were left in the decision for the ultimate winner. However, as both stock cars gave up the ghost at the same time the race directors decided the race would end in a draw and for the first time honored two winners in the subsequent podium ceremony.

A word from ... Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich

At the seventh round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Audi missed victory by a very narrow margin of eleven seconds. Was the sporting penalty imposed on the number "1" Audi R18 e-tron quattro after contact with an opponent too harsh?
This is hard to judge. It was a decision by the race stewards. We were already punished by the fact that we had to change the damaged front hood. That the stop-and-go penalty followed on top of that was, in my opinion, a very severe action indeed. By the same token, I didn’t perceive the fault for the contact in the incident to be as clear as the decision presents it.

Did Audi’s efficiency technologies have an advantage yet again?
The technology is undisputedly good and the performance of our race cars was very good as well. Toyota, as our fiercest rival, had to make an additional refueling stop. And the Audi R18 e-tron quattro again won the Michelin X Challenge for efficient driving. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to convert this into a victory. But it was a very thrilling race for everybody.

The battle for the drivers’ world championship has remained open until the very end. Are you happy about that?
Indeed, the decision will only be made in the finale at Shanghai in what is Audi’s largest market worldwide. There, we’re aiming to clinch a very good result for Audi. Our two driver squads are battling for the title there. I’m sure they’re not going to give each other the slightest break.

Coming up next week

Oct 21 Hockenheim (D), round 10, DTM
Oct 21 Monza (I), round 7, Italian GT Championship
Oct 21 Gold Coast (AUS), round 6, Australian GT Championship

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