Sunday, May 24, 2015

Blancpain Endurance Series: Second, third and fourth for Audi teams at Silverstone

By Tarek Ramchani

The Audi Sport customer racing squad performed very well at Silverstone. The Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were among the fastest in the Blancpain Endurance Series field this afternoon at the British track.

At the end of a hard and fought three-hour endurance race, the Audis take second, third and fourth places.

Laurens Vanthoor, Robin Frijns and Jean Karl Vernay took a strong second place overall. They were behind the wheel of the #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. The three drivers ended right behind the winning McLaren 650S GT3.

In the closing stages of the race, 2014 champion Laurens Vanthoor chasing the leading McLaren but time run out and the Belgian ace crossed the finish line in second place.

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT drivers Frank Stippler, Stephane Ortelli and Stephane  Richelmi were third. They shared the #3 Audi R8 LMS ultra.

ISR Racing #75 Audi R8 LMS ultra performed very well but was hit by a penalty for exceeding track limits. The Czech car ended the race in fourth place overall with Filip Salaquarda, Marco Bonanomi and Frederic Vervisch behind the wheel.

More to come.

Photo credit: Patrick Hecq Photography 

World RX: Mattias Ekström and EKS Audi narrowly missed victory at Lydden Hill

By Tarek Ramchani

An amazing performance from Mattias Ekström at Lydden Hill, round four of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship. The Swedish driver narrowly missed the race victory with his Audi S1 quattro.

It was a hard and fought final with difficult track and weather conditions. Mattias Ekström finished the 6-lap final in second place right behind Petter Solberg. The two drivers gave the fans on site and around the world a thrilling last lap battle for the outright victory. Petter Solberg the 2014 champion took his joker at the very last lap and managed to stay ahead of Mattias Ekström. The double DTM champion put a great pressure on the Norwegian but was not able to pass.

Mattias Ekström:

"I missed the race win in the opening metres of the final, I lost some time at the start of the race. The team worked very well this weekend, and these are big points."

Earlier in the first semi final, Robin Larsson finished the race in sixth place behind the wheel of his Audi A1. The 2014 FIA European Rallycross champion pushed hard but it was not enough to reach the final.

Photo credit: EKS

Blancpain Endurance Series: Belgian Audi Club Team WRT third fastest in Silverstone qualifying

By Tarek Ramchani

Audi dominated the Blancpain Endurance Series pre-qualifying session yesterday at Silverstone. The Audi R8 LMS ultra cars performed very well again in qualifying this morning at the "Home of British Motorsport".

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT drivers Laurens Vanthoor, Robin Frijns and Jean-Karl Vernay were the fastest within the Audi squad. Behind the wheel of their #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra, the three drivers qualified in a strong third place overall. They were right behind the leading #23 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 from Nissan GT Academy and the second placed #333 Ferrari 458 GT3 from Rinaldi Racing.

The #3 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Belgian Audi Club Team WRT was eighth fastest. The car is driven by Frank Stippler, Stéphane Ortelli and Stéphane Richelmi.

Marco Bonanomi, Salaquarda and Frederic Vervisch qualified their #75 Audi R8 LMS ultra from ISR Racing in a strong tenth overall. Phoenix Racing narrowly missed the Top 10, Shaun Thong, Marchy Lee and Markus Winkelhock qualified in eleventh place with their #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra.

The three-hour endurance race will start at 13:45 GMT.

Photo credit: Patrick Hecq PhotographyBlancpain GT Series

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blancpain Endurance Series: Audi dominates Silverstone pre-qualifying

By Tarek Ramchani

Audi dominated the Blancpain Endurance Series pre-qualifying session this afternoon at Silverstone. Two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were among the Top 3.

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT drivers Laurens Vanthoor, Robin Frijns and Jean-Karl Vernay were the fastest. Their #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra set the fastest time in the session, 2:01.097. They were ahead of the second placed BMW Z4 GT3 from TDS Racing.

Phoenix Racing performed very well too. The Nürburgring based squad ended in a strong third place overall with Shaun Thong, Marchy, Markus Winkelhock driving the #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra.

The other Audi entries were outside the Top 10. The qualifying session and the 3-hour race will be held on Sunday.

Photo credit: Blancpain GT Series

World RX: Mattias Ekström third overall after Lydden Hil day 1 action

By Tarek Ramchani

Mattias Ekström performed very well today at Lydden Hill with his #10 Audi S1. The British track is playing host to the fourth round of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship.

The EKS star and team-owner concluded the opening day in a strong third overall after Saturday's two heats. In Heat 1, Mattias Ekström was seventh. Later in Heat 2, Eki won his race and ended in a strong third overall. The Swedish ace collected 79 points and was behind leading Petter Solberg and second placed Johan Kristoffesrsson.

ALL-INKL Münnich Motorsport scored its best result so far this season in FIA World Rallycross Championship with an improving Audi S3. Alx Danielsson ended in a positive fourteenth place with his #55 Audi S3.

The second EKS driver, Anton Marklund was fifteenth overall with his #92 Audi S1. Robin Larsson was a position behind, in sixteenth place with his #4 Audi A1. ALL-INKL Münnich Motorsport team-owner, René Münnich was twenty-seventh overall with his #77 Audi S3.

Audi drivers standing after Heat 1 and Heat 2:

P3 Mattias Ekström (Audi S1) - 79 points
P14 Alx Danielsson (Audi S3) - 58 points
P15 Anton Marklund (Audi S1) - 57 points
P16 Robin Larsson (Audi A1) - 53 points
P27 René Münnich (Audi S3) - 39 points

World RX action at Lydden Hill will resume tomorrow with Heat 3, Heat 4, the two Semi-Finals and the big Final. We wish the best of luck to all Audi teams and drivers.

Photo credit:  World RX 

Australian GT: JAMEC-PEM Racing Audi wins Philip Island 101 endurance race

By Tarek Ramchani

A great race win for Audi today at Philip Island, round two of the 2015 Australian GT Championship. The Audi R8 LMS ultra took a third race win in the series this year.

Victory went to JAMEC-PEM Racing Audi with drivers Christopher Mies and  Greg Crick. The two drivers shared the #74 Audi R8 LMS ultra run by Melbourne Performance Centre (MPC). They started the 101-lap race from the front row.

Christopher Mies was running third overall with an impressive pace when saftey car was deployed. The Audi GT factory driver took full advantage of that and passed both of the second placed Mercedes-Benz SLS and the leading Ferrari 458 GT3.

Once in the lead Christopher Mies was able control and give the JAMEC-PEM Racing a first victory in Australian GT Championship. Second place went to the # 7 McLaren 650S GT3. The #27 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 was third.

More to come.

Photo credit: Australian GT Championship

Friday, May 22, 2015

BTCC: Nicolas Hamilton tested AmD Tuning Audi S3 at Brands Hatch

BTCC Press Release

Nicolas Hamilton made his BTCC test debut today (22 May), completing some solid mileage at an often sun-baked Brands Hatch.

Driving his Monster-backed AmD Audi S3 Hamilton clocked a number of trouble-free laps throughout the day as he focused on acclimatising himself to NGTC machinery. The BTCC rookie had a few minor off-track excursions during the day, including an incident where he was tapped into a spin by another car, but overall he enjoyed an extremely successful test bow in perfect conditions.

Hamilton approached the day’s challenges with supreme professionalism and showed steady improvement throughout, much to the satisfaction of the man himself and his team.

“Today was all about getting myself used to the car,” said Nic. “It’s nothing like anything I’ve driven before so it’s a steep learning curve. I’m just delighted to have been out there as it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. Now we can focus on making progress ahead of our first race weekend.”

The younger brother of Formula 1 World Champion Lewis made the headlines when announcing he would be contesting a half-season campaign in the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, becoming the series’ first ever disabled driver. His competitive debut will take place at Croft at the end of June with today marking a significant milestone in preparation ahead of that weekend.

“It’s been the kind of day you would expect and everything has pretty much gone to plan,” he continued. “We’ve been running on old tyres and not overly focused on set-up as the whole day has really been based around making myself familiar with new surroundings.

“We’re hoping to have another three or four test days before my first race weekend and I’m looking forward to joining the action at Croft. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself or setting any targets at this stage but I’m just really looking forward to the challenge.”

Team Principal Shaun Hollamby was pleased with Hamilton’s progress and that of his team which has undertaken the essential modifications to the stunning looking machine. Hamilton – who suffers from Cerebral Palsy – has required significant changes to the pedal set-up in his car while his clutch his hand controlled from the steering wheel via a paddle shift.

“Everyone has worked really hard to get to this point,” said Hollamby. “Team Manager Rob Tickner and the boys have done a great job and we’re really pleased with how Nic has approached his first day behind the wheel. We’ll gradually up the ante and I’m sure we’ll be ready for Croft.”

Part of that effort over the next few weeks also includes the rebuilding of Mike Bushell’s Ford Focus, which was involved in a hefty shunt at Thruxton last time out. The reigning Clio Cup champion was also on hand to oversee Hamilton’s maiden run as he awaits medical clearance to resume his own campaign at Oulton Park next month.

It’s set to be an extremely busy period for everyone involved in the Thurrock-based squad with further test dates for Hamilton already scheduled at Donington Park and Snetterton.

Photo credit: AmD Tuning

Thursday, May 21, 2015

World RX: Raise the bar in Lydden Hill - Audi EKS

EKS Press Release

EKS is on its way to the ‘Home of Rallycross.’ Round four of the FIA World Rallycross Championship will take place at Lydden Hill Race Circuit, founded in 1955 and just a stone’s throw away from Dover. The region is known as the Garden of England, but EKS won’t have an eye for the outstanding natural beauty. The team’s sole interest is grabbing first victory of the 2015 campaign.

“It’s my first time at Lydden Hill, but I know there are a lot of race circuit parts on the track, which suits me well”, says EKS team boss and driver Mattias Ekström. “After Mettet we made some further adjustments to our two Audi S1 EKS RX quattro and I’m really looking forward to racing. Hopefully the rain holds up the whole weekend.” After reaching the semi final in Belgium, Anton Marklund raises the bar: “I can feel my improvements in the car. In Mettet I was really close to the final and I’ll fight even harder to reach it in Lydden Hill.”

The challenge before the challenge …

Friday is a quiet day in Lydden Hill – no racecar engines are allowed to start. But a day without racing? Not with us! Join us in our paddock Friday, 22 May at 17.00 for a very special edition of EKS Friday’s. Mattias and Anton will challenge all of the World RX drivers on our race simulators. Who will set the fastest time and step up onto the podium?

Here comes the rain again …

Just in case it’s raining during the weekend (and it has been raining at each of the three rounds of 2015 World RX so far) you will find a warm and dry spot in our paddock. Have a look at our cars, chat with our drivers or watch the action on our big TV screens.

About Lydden RX

Location: South East England, next to Wootton, Kent, three miles from Dover
Residents: app. 4,500 (Wootton), county of Kent has a population of 1.75 million people
Track length: 1,170 metres (1,233 metres with joker)
Tarmac / Gravel: 60 / 40 %
Supercar entrants: 30
EKS drivers: #10 Mattias Ekström, #92 Anton Marklund

Where to watch live?

UK & Ireland: British Eurosport 2 (as-live Sunday, 22.50 BST)
Sweden: Viasat Motor (as-live Sunday, 21.30–23.30 CEST), TV10 (Sunday, 16.00–17.00 CEST)
Germany: Motorvision TV (Sunday, 15.00–17.00 CEST)
Internet: Live Stream (Sunday, 15.00–17.00 CEST)

Schedule (local time = CEST -1h)

Friday, 22 May
16.00 World RX Press Conference and Draw for Heat 1
17.00 EKS Friday’s

Saturday, 23 May
10.00 RX Open Practice
12.30 RX Heat I
14.30 Autograph Session at Podium
15.00 RX Heat 2

Sunday, 24 May
10.30 RX Warm-up
11.30 RX Heat 3 & 4
13.45 Autograph Session at Fanzone
15.00 Supercar Semis & Finals
16.10 Winner's Press Conference

Photo credit: EKS

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Blancpain Endurance Series: Belgian Audi Club Team WRT heading to Silverstone

Belgian Audi Club Press Release

The Blancpain Endurance Series is back with the second round of the season and yet another rendez-vous among the most traditional: Silverstone. In the fast and legendary Northamptonshire track, the Belgian Audi Club will try to keep the advantage in the Pro Cup standings, both Drivers’ and Teams’, resulting from the class top honours collected in the season-opener at Monza. The team will arrive in England following an epic triumph last weekend at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, as one of the new R8 LMS ran by the Belgian squad on behalf of Audi Sport conquered the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, arguably the thoughest endurance race for GTs, with Laurens Vanthoor, Edward Sandström, Nico Müller and Christopher Mies at the wheel. It is an unforgettable first win on the “Green Hell” for the squad and one that left everybody quite pleased. At Silverstone, the Belgian Audi Club will race in its usual 3-Audi R8 LMS ultra configuration, with a fourth car entered under the Team WRT banner.

Team Principal Vincent Vosse, despite the cold he contracted in the long and chilly weekend at the Nürburgring, is a happy man: “Conquering the Nürburgring 24 Hours with the new car was really great”, he reckons, “It’s a nice one, that will stick out in our roll of honour and makes us proud, because it is not the ground that we know the best and it is probably the toughest race of all.” This being said, the team’s focus is already entirely on Silverstone. “Now comes another challenging one”, says Vosse, “as we will be faced with very strong opposition, and an all-time record entry for the Blancpain Endurance Series. Still, Silverstone should be more favourable to us than Monza and we will try to do as well as we can. We have had an excellent start of the season, basically winning at every weekend so far, and we will try to keep both the momentum and first spot in both the Endurance and overall standings.”

Car #1 of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will be entrusted, as customary, to Laurens Vanthoor, Robin Frijns and Jean-Karl Vernay, with the young Belgian sporting his new status of ‘Ringmeister’. “The Nürburgring will be an unforgettable moment, it is such a difficult race”, commented the young Belgian, “Our objective was to go through the night without trouble and then charge. It has been a real sprint race, but the new Audi R8 proved perfect and the team did a wonderful job.”

There was little rest for Laurens, as on Monday he was at Spa testing the LMP2 car he will drive in his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans! But now all his attention is on Silverstone: “It will be a big battle, on one of the fastest tracks of the season, but I enjoy the prospect and we are determined to keep the leadership.”

Car #3 will see Stéphane Richelmi joining Frank Stippler and Stéphane Ortelli, while a third car (#2) will be entered in the Pro-Am Cup for local hero James Nash and French GT Tour regulars Philippe Gaillard and David Hallyday. The latter is no new face to the team as he raced two seasons in French GT with Team WRT. An additional car in the Pro-Am Cup is under the Team WRT banner for the trio of ‘youngsters’ which debuted in Monza: Bottemanne-Koebolt-Schothorst.

The Silverstone enduro will follow the usual Blancpain Endurance Series format, with track activity over only the weekend days and the 3-hour race kicking-off at 2:45 pm (UK time) on Sunday.

Photo credit: Belgian Audi Club

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TCR: Exemption ended for the Audi TT cars

TCR Press Release

WSC Ltd., the Promoter of the TCR International Series, has announced that the special exemption granted to the Liqui Moly Team Engstler to run two Audi TT cars in the first events of the season has now expired.

Marcello Lotti, WSC CEO explained: “The exemption was granted with the spirit to support our new series and also to allow Audi Sport customer racing to collect information about the necessary requirements for a successful technical platform, which could fit to the TCR regulations. In the light of the latest results, we believe that both these aims have been successfully achieved. Therefore, together with the team and Audi Sport customer racing we have decided to end this exemption; also in the respect of the other competitors that have accepted the situation with a true sporting spirit.”

Photo credit: TCR International Series

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Nürburgring 24 Hours: Audi wins the Nürburgring 24 Hours with the new R8 LMS

By Tarek Ramchani

A brilliant victory for Audi at the demanding and prestigious Nürburgring 24 Hours. The  Ingolstadt brand the Nordschleife endurance classic after a titanic battles against BMW and Porsche.

It's the first ever victory for the brand new Audi R8 LMS in a 24-hour endurance race. The winning car #28 car entered by Audi Sport Team WRT was shared by Christopher Mies, Edward Sandström, Nico Mueller and Laurens Vanthoor.

This is the third outright victory for Audi at the Nürburgring 24 Hours following wins in 2012 and 2014.  Audi Sport Team WRT won the German endurance event for the first time after wins at the Spa 24 Hours.

The four Audi drivers pushed hard all race long and had a breathtaking threeway battle with a BMW Z4 GT3 from BMW Marc VDS and a Porsche 997 GT3-R from Falken Tire. The race lead has changed several times all race long and especially since this morning. At the end of a hard and fought race, the #28 Audi R8 LMS took the checkered falg victorious.

The second Audi Sport Team WRT performed well too. The #29 Audi R8 LMS driven by Nicki Thiim, Christer Joens, Pierre Kaffer and Laurens finised the race in seventh overall.

The Audi R8 LMS ultra cars had a solid race as well. The privateer Twin Busch Motorsport narrowly missed the Top 10, they ended the race in eleventh place with their #16 Audi R8 LMS ultra. Audi race experience with their #15 R8 LMS ultra was twelfth overall.

Bad luck hit the two Audi Sport Team Phoenix entries. Both #1 and #4 Audi R8 LMS cars were forced to retire following race incidents. A hard event for the local team who performed very well in the opening stages of the race.

More to come.

Photo credit: Autorennsport

Saturday, May 16, 2015

World RX: EKS Audi's Mattias Ekström led Mettet RX day 1 action

By Tarek Ramchani

A great Saturday for Audi star Mattias Ekström at Mettet, home of round three in the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship. The EKS team-onwer performed very well at the Belgian track today.

Behind the wheel of his #10 Audi S1 quattro,  Mattias Ekström ended the day co-leading with the reigning world champion Petter Solberg with 84 points each.

In Heat 1, Mattias Ekström was simply flying. The Swedish driver won his race and lead the field setting the best time overall, 02:49.587.

The other Audi drivers were further behind. Robin Larsson with his #4 Audi A1 was eighteenth. Anton Marklund driving the second entry from EKS was ninteenth with his #92 Audi S1. Bad luck again hit again the ALL-INKL Münnich Motorsport's Audi S3 RXs. Alx Danielsson ended in twenty-fifth place with his #55 Audi S3. Team-owner René Münnich got a DNF with his #77 Audi S3.

Mattias Ekström was again the strongest within the Audi squad in Heat 2. The double DTM champion was tenth overall with his #10 Audi S1. His team-mate Anton Marklund (#92 Audi S1) managed to improve ending in twelfth place overall.

Alx Danielsson (#55 Audi S3) was again the best at ALL-INKL Münnich Motorsport, he ended in seventeenth place. A harder second heat for Robin Larsson (#4 Audi A1), the 2014 Euro RX champion was only twenty-sixth. While René Münnich (#77 Audi S3) was thirty-second with the second ALL-INKL Münnich Motorsport entry.

Audi drivers standing after Heat 1 and Heat 2:

P1 Mattias Ekström (Audi S1) - 84 points
P14 Anton Marklund (Audi S1) - 57 points
P23 Alx Danielsson (Audi S3) - 46 points
P25 Robin Larsson (Audi A1) - 44 points
P36 René Münnich (Audi S3) - 18 points

FIA World Rallycross Championship action will resume tomorrow at Mettet. The World RX Supercars will hit the track again for Heat 3, Heat 4, the Semi-Finals and the big Final.

Photo credit:  World RX