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Mar 02, 2014 - 03:39 PM
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Audi Motorsport-Newsletter 05/2014
Posted by: newsla on Mar 02, 2014 - 03:34 PM
Grand Am News
Audi Motorsport-Newsletter 05/2014


Audi factory driver Tom Kristensen treated Audi Sport Team Joest to a day filled with excitement and variety in his native Denmark. Audi customer teams prepare for the season and announce their drivers.

 

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Tom Kristensen gets team in the mood for 2014

Tom Kristensen invited the employees of Audi Sport and Audi Sport Team Joest, personal friends and his early supporters to an event in Denmark on Thursday. In Hobro, the home town of the Audi factory driver, his guests had the opportunity to meet the mayor. A curling competition and a karting event in Århus treated the group of about 60 invitees to experiences of fun and excitement. Ralf Jüttner, the Team Director of Audi Sport Team Joest, was presented with a gift of symbolic value by the Audi factory driver: a trophy which Kristensen’s late father had won in his own motorsport career. For Tom Kristensen, the gift was a way of saying thank you for having been signed by the Joest squad in 1997. The Dane back then managed to immediately win the first of his – now – nine Le Mans victories with the team based in the German Odenwald region.

Audi with three R18 e-tron quattro cars at Le Mans

The Selection Committee of the Le Mans organizer ACO has accepted Audi’s three nominations for the Le Mans 24 Hours. Lucas di Grassi (BR) together with last year’s winners Loïc Duval (F) and Tom Kristensen (DK) will compete in car number ‘1.’ The number ‘2’ Audi R18 e-tron quattro will be shared by Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F), who won the endurance classic with Audi in 2011 and 2012. Car number ‘3’ will be driven by Filipe Albuquerque/Marco Bonanomi/Oliver Jarvis (P/I/GB). Audi with its newly designed hybrid sports car is aiming for its 13th victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 14/15.

Audi wins readers’ vote with motorsport program

Readers of the auto motor und sport special-interest magazine voted Audi the most successful brand in motorsport. As part of its ‘Best Cars’ readers’ choice the magazine had surveyed the image of various automotive brands. Audi decided the ‘Successful in motorsport’ category in its favor ahead of Porsche and BMW. In the 5/2014 issue, the editors have now published the results of the voting in which 115,285 readers participated. “The result honors us and spurs us on to continue the success we achieved on winning last year’s DTM and WEC titles. And to our customers who represent the brand in GT sport around the world we wish a lot of success as well,” emphasizes Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.

Marcel Fässler visited trade show in Freiburg

Audi factory driver Marcel Fässler attended the 29th ‘Automobil’ trade show in Freiburg im Breisgau as a guest. The two-time Le Mans winner visited the booth of Audi’s partner organization Baden-Auto and signed numerous autographs as a driver who is popular with many fans. The Swiss 2012 WEC World Champion was a sought-after guest in interviews as well.

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT with international driver line-up

The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will contest the Blancpain GT series with up to four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars and a driver line-up from nine nations. In the Blancpain Endurance Series, FIA GT Champion Laurens Vanthoor (B) will compete with Marc Basseng (D) and the Brazilian César Ramos in car number ‘1.’ Number ‘3’ will be shared by Christopher Mies (D), Frank Stippler (D) and James Nash (GB). Both squads are running in the Pro category. In the Gentleman classification, Yves Weerts (B), Jean-Luc Blanchemain (F) and Christian Kelders (B) are taking the wheel of car number ‘4.’ The two R8 crews of cars number ‘3’ and ‘4’ will also be contesting the Spa 24 Hours. In addition, there are two other driver teams at Spa yet to be nominated. In the Blancpain Sprint Series, WRT is fielding four cars: #1 Laurens Vanthoor/César Ramos (B/BR), #2 René Rast/Enzo Ide (D/B) and #4 Vincent Abril/Mateusz Lisowski (F/PL). Starting under the banner of G-Drive Racing will be #3 Stéphane Ortelli/Roman Rusinov (MC/RUS). Furthermore, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is venturing into the ‘Green Hell.’ In the Nürburgring 24 Hours, the team is banking on Stéphane Ortelli/Edward Sandström/Roman Rusinov (MC/S/RUS) and another driver yet to be named.

PK Carsport ready for title defense

The Belgian PK Carsport team is returning to the Belgian Racing Car Championship (BRCC). Following its re-launch last year, the squad immediately won the title with an Audi R8 LMS. Last year’s champions Anthony Kumpen and Bert Longin have a new team-mate: Their Belgian compatriot Frank Beliën completes the line-up at the six BRCC endurance races.

Sébastien Loeb Racing taking delivery of two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars

The Sébastien Loeb Racing team took delivery of two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars at quattro GmbH in Heilbronn-Biberach. The squad of the nine-time World Rally Champion relies on Audi’s customer sport race car for the first time this year and will be competing in the French GT Tour Championship. In addition, Sébastien Loeb Racing is planning to run in the GTC class of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS).

Driver teams nominated for Sebring 12 Hours

The Audi teams competing in the GTD class of the Tudor United Sports Car Championship have nominated their driver squads for the next major classic racing event. In the Sebring 12 Hours on March 15, Flying Lizard Motorsports will be relying on Nelson Canache/Tim Pappas/Spencer Pumpelly/Markus Winkelhock (YV/USA/USA/D). They are currently the runners-up on the leaderboard of the North American Endurance Challenge. The sister car will be shared by Filipe Albuquerque/Alessandro Latif/Dion von Moltke/Seth Neiman (P/GB/USA/USA). GMG Racing will be contesting the race with Marc Basseng/James Sofronas/Alex Welch (D/USA/USA). Fall-Line Motorsports will be competing in Florida with Charles Espenlaub/Christopher Mies/Charlie Putman (USA/D/USA). The R8 LMS of Paul Miller Racing will be driven by Matthew Bell/Christopher Haase/Bryce Miller (GB/D/USA) who are currently in third place of the standings.

Six Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in Pirelli World Challenge

In North America, Audi, with currently five R8 LMS cars in the field, not only has a strong presence in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship. The Pirelli World Challenge, as the second major GT Racing series in the United States, has attracted six Audi drivers this year. Last year’s runner-up James Sofronas will be attacking again in his Audi R8 LMS ultra. Alongside the Californian, Andrew Palmer (USA), Bret Curtis (USA) and Bill Ziegler (USA) will be competing for Team GMG. For the season opener at St. Petersburg on March 30, two other Audi privateer drivers, Jeff Courtney (JCR Motorsports) and Elton Julian (DragonSpeed), have announced their participation. For the second round of the season held at Long Beach two weeks later six Audi drivers have submitted their nominations to date.

A word from Marco Bonanomi

This year, you’ll be participating in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the biggest race of the year, for Audi. To top it off, this is a year in which three manufacturers are battling for overall victory.

It feels good to return to the team of the race drivers. I’ve been to Le Mans with Audi three times – in 2011 as a reserve driver, in 2012 as a race driver and in 2013 as a spotter for my team-mates. Each of these activities has given me a different perspective and that’s very positive. The big interest by the manufacturers can clearly be felt this year. A lot of media already started to intensify their coverage of the WEC and Le Mans in winter.

Oliver Jarvis and Filipe Albuquerque are your team-mates. How well do you get along with them?
I’ve celebrated a few successes with both drivers on previous occasions. With Oliver Jarvis, I was on podium at Le Mans in 2012. Filipe and I finished the Italian GT Championship in the Audi R8 LMS as the runners-up in 2010. A year later, he helped me win the champion’s title in the finale, on my guest run for Audi Sport Italia. We’re a well-balanced team. Our lap times are similar, we’re bringing some experience from our careers to the team, and we get along with each other really well. At the teambuilding event in Lanzarote, we could already tell how well the whole team of Audi Sport harmonizes with each other.

This year, completely new rules apply. You started to be involved in the tests at an early stage. What will be the biggest challenge in 2014?
Last June, I started testing the new tire generation and have reeled off many more days of testing ever since then. The car feels very good and, due to the regulations, the tires have to be clearly slimmer. This is a big challenge for our partner Michelin with whom we worked in the right direction very constructively. The tires, like many other areas, will show that those with the most efficient driving style will be the front runners. The 2014 season feels like going back to school again and learning a lot of new things – that’s a nice challenge for the engineers and for us drivers.

Coming up next week

04/03 Geneva (CH), Audi press conference


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