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Apr 13, 2014 - 05:35 PM
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World Champions Trio In Spa 24 Hours
Posted by: newsla on Apr 13, 2014 - 05:33 PM
Le Mans News
World Champions Trio In Spa 24 Hours


From Le Mans to Spa-Francorchamps: Audi factory drivers Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer, the winners of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), will form a team at the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS ultra for the first time, contesting the Spa 24 Hours (July 26/27) for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT.

 

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World Champions trio in Audi R8 LMS ultra in Spa 24 Hours

Marcel Fässler (CH), André Lotterer (D) and Benoît Tréluyer are sharing the wheel of an Audi in the Spa 24 Hours this year. The trio that won the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2012 will be competing together for the first time in an R8 LMS ultra on July 26/27. The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT – the 2011 winner of the endurance race in the Ardennes – will be fielding the GT3 sports car for the Audi drivers. Marcel Fässler was the overall winner in the classic Belgian event in 2007 with Phoenix Racing and since 2009 has contested all five races of the R8 LMS at Spa. André Lotterer was on the grid with Audi in the past two years and took third place last year. Benoît Tréluyer will be making his debut in the world’s major GT3 race. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer have been competing in sports car races for Audi since 2010 and in 2011 and 2012 won the Le Mans 24 Hours. René Rast, Laurens Vanthoor and Markus Winkelhock will be running in another WRT Audi.

Second place in season opener

The Sainteloc Racing squad started the new season of the Blancpain Endurance Series (BES) with a podium finish. In the season opener at Monza, Italy, Edward Sandström, Stéphane Ortelli and Grégory Guilvert in the Audi R8 LMS ultra designated as car number 26 started from sixth place on the grid and finished as the runners-up. The best Audi R8 LMS ultra of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT barely missed a podium position: Marc Basseng, Laurens Vanthoor and César Ramos took fourth place. Their team-mates Christopher Mies, James Nash and Frank Stippler retired after a collision in which they were not at fault.

Podium at the Nürburgring

Marcel Fässler and Markus Winkelhock in the Audi R8 LMS ultra of Team Phoenix Racing took second place overall in round two of the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring. Following a crash, the four-hour race had to be interrupted after 51 minutes to repair the guard rail. In the second, two-hour stint, Fässler and Winkelhock were the front runners.

Success at Hockenheim

‘Maximilian Stein’ started the new season of the ‘Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy’ (STT) at the Hockenheimring by clinching two podium results. The privateer driver from Bobenheim took third place in Class D1-2 in his Audi R8 LMS. In the second race on Sunday, he managed to up the ante and finished as the runner-up. Slobodan Cvetkovic in the Audi R8 LMS ultra (Prosperia C. Abt Racing) took fourth place in both races.

Fifth Audi R8 LMS ultra in ADAC GT Masters

In the 2014 season, Audi again numbers among the most popular brands with customers in the ADAC GT Masters. Following three nominations submitted by Team Prosperia C. Abt Racing and the single nomination by Yaco Racing, a new name appears on the entry list. Team kfzteile24 APR Motorsport relies on an Audi for Daniel Dobitsch/Florian Stoll (A/D). The name stands for the squad of team boss Harald Böttner, who won the 2012 drivers’ and team classification in the ADAC GT Masters.

Mattias Ekström and the zest for speed

In 2.6 seconds from zero to one hundred – the two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekström is intimately familiar with acceleration like this. But on Thursday it wasn’t his Audi RS 5 DTM that propelled him but a 1,500-hp race truck with 5,000 Nm of torque. The Audi factory driver enjoyed a day as a guest of MAN. The two board members Heinz-Jürgen Löw (Marketing, Sales & Services) and Jörg Astalosch (Finance, IT & Legal) welcomed the Swede who was given the opportunity to drive the entire range of vehicles from trucks to buses on the run-in and test track in Munich. Ekström circled through the banked turn without touching the steering wheel, on the shake-test track he was amazed about the loads acting on the vehicle and performed drifts like a rally driver. And when he selected braking points as he would in DTM driving, black marks with 50 meters in length were left as silent witnesses of his wild act. Finally, on up- and downhill gradients of 45 percent and when driving through deep water, the Audi factory driver marveled at the powerful off-roading capabilities of an 8x8 32-ton truck. Ekström: “It was simply brilliant and one of the greatest days I’ve had in a long time. I’d like to thank the guys at MAN for this experience and highly respect the wealth of engineering capabilities and technology at MAN.” The MAN team was delighted with the race driver’s visit as well. Mattias Ekström spontaneously decided to tackle the challenge of getting a driver’s license for commercial vehicles at MAN’s in-house driving school.

Tom Kristensen at Royal presentation with Audi

Audi factory driver Tom Kristensen enjoyed an unusual media event on Wednesday. The Dane was a guest at Kensington Palace. Together with other representatives of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) the nine-time Le Mans winner promoted the WEC season opener at Silverstone on April 20 on the Media Day. At the Orangery of the Palace, the members of the media not only met with the race drivers. Prince Michael of Kent, the President of the Royal Automobile Club, addressed the journalists as well. Afterwards, Kristensen personally presented his World Championship winning race car, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, to the interested prince.

All Audi drivers in DTM test at Hockenheim

The season is about to start in earnest: The four-day official track tests at Hockenheim starting on Monday are the ‘rehearsal’ for the series’ season opener at the same venue on May 4. Four Audi RS 5 DTM cars and all eight Audi drivers will participate in the final strength comparison of the three manufacturers. During the track tests the grandstands will be open for spectators.

Edo Mortara promotes DTM race at Oschersleben

At a DTM PR event in Braunschweig, Audi factory driver Edoardo Mortara used the opportunity to promote the second round of the season at the Motorsport Arena in Oschersleben on May 18. In spring-like weather, the Italian answered the questions of journalists and avidly signed autographs for the numerous fans.

A word from ... Benoît Tréluyer

You’ve been a sports car driver for Audi since 2010. This year, the Spa 24 Hours are on your race calendar for the first time. How did this come about?
The Spa 24 Hours is so attractive because there’s a huge field consisting exclusively of GT3 race cars. There’s hardly another racing series in the world with such a homogenous field. The opportunity to participate in this event this year together with my WEC team-mates André Lotterer and Marcel Fässler is fantastic. We’ve been planning to do this for some time.

You’re intimately familiar with the track at Spa from the WEC and won there last year. Will you still have to do a bit of learning there?
First of all, getting used to the R8 LMS ultra quickly will be crucial. Driving this car will be quite a bit different than driving a sports prototype, but I’m very much looking forward to Audi’s GT sports car. I once had the opportunity to test a GT Daytona-specification R8 LMS. At Spa, about 60 GT3 cars are expected to compete at a similar level. I’ve still got to learn a few things and won’t be running at the front right away. After all, I’m a rookie in this 24-hour race. I trust the advice of my two co-drivers who know this race inside out.

You’re driving for a team that has already celebrated an overall victory with Audi at Spa. What is your aim for the event in July?
I’m very happy that we’re driving for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. I greatly respect the performance of Vincent Vosse and his squad. I’m already getting more and more excited about the event. Our aim is clear: We want to do our best to win every race that we’ll be running in. I’m going to contribute my performance in every way so that we’ll be in contention for victory at Spa this year.

Coming up next week

19/04 Silverstone (GB), round 1 ELMS
20/04 Silverstone (GB), round 1 WEC


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