By Johan Laubscher
1. The Weekend
Focussing this week on the weekend of 7 - 8 July 2012.
2. The Events
- FIA GT1
- FIA GT3
- Italian GT
- Portuguese GT
- Swedish GT
- Midas Clubmans
2.1. FIA GT1 World Championship
Round five of the FIA GT1 World Championship was hosted in Portugal. WRT arrived with high hopes at the circuit where the Audi R8 LMS cars had always done well in the past. The cars qualified in the lower half of the top ten. The #33 car performed miracles during the first race by climbing up to second and eventually finishing in third while the #32 car finished lower down. The team was ready for the Championship Race starting in third position but it all came to an end at the first corner as the #33 was involved in an incident. The remaining #32 car pushed hard to finish in sixth.
2.2. FIA GT3 European Championship
The FIA GT3 weekend also took place in Portugal. Only two Audis were entered in the ever decreasing FIA GT3 field. Team Novadriver and Saintéloc Racing entered the two cars. The two Audi R8 LMS ultra showed good pace during the weekend and placed well in qualifying. Race one saw both Audis finish in the top six. During race two the Portuguese Team Novadriver car stormed through the field from ninth to second to the delight of the Portuguse fans.
Round five of the German VLN series took place at the traditional Nürburgring circuit. Three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were at the event. Unfortunately the two Phoenix Racing cars retired from the race but there was success for the third car from Raeder Motorsport. The Raeder car put aside its recent bad luck to claim third place during the race. The Raeder team also took victory in the SP4T class with the Audi TT RS. In total eleven Audi cars took part in the event
2.4. Italian GT Championship
The third round of the Italian GT Championship saw the first appearance of Italian Audi legend Dindo Capello. Now that Dindo has completed his Le Mans obligations he will contest the rest of the 2012 Italian GT Series. Audi Sport Italia had a dominant race weekend at Misano. The team took a 1-2 finish in race one and another race victory in race two.
2.5. Portuguese GT Championship
Round four of the Portuguese GT Championship was held alongside the FIA GT1 and GT3 weekend. Team Novadriver had two cars at the event, the yellow R8 LMS ultra was used for the FIA GT3 races while the red coloured car was used for the Portuguese GT races. The team scored two podium finishes during the weekend’s Portuguese GT races.
2.6. Swedish GT Championship
The Swedish GT Championship was hosted at Falkenberg for round three of the series. The top category of the series consist of FIA GT3 specification cars which only race at selected events. The third round was the second appearance of the GT3 cars of which one was an Audi R8 LMS from the Alfab Racing team. The team did well during the weekend and scored second place during the race.
Round four of the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship was held at Mantorp Park. The event saw the first Semcon Cup class victory for the new BMS Racing Audi A4 team. Andreas Ahlberg took victory in the first race followed by second in race two aiding him to close the gap to the championship points leader. Andreas and his brother Joakim lie second and third in the Semcon Cup standings for privateer teams.
2.8. Midas Clubmans
Nieyaaz Modack continued his domination of the Midas Clubmans series in South Africa. The Audi A4 driver took another double victory in his Johan Fourie Racing prepared car during round seven hosted at Killarney in Cape Town.
2.9. Other Audi news
The annual Le Mans Classic Artcurial Auction had a very special Audi going under the hammer this year. A 2007 Audi R10 TDI (#201) which twice raced at Le Mans and won the 2008 LMS championship had an estimated auction price of 1300000 – 1600000 Euros. The car exceeded 1100000 Euros on the stand but it did not meet the reserve, thus the car was unsold and is still for sale.
Ironically just after the Artcurial auction of the R10 TDI, news arrived that another Audi Le Mans race car was soon to be auctioned as well. The 2012 Monterey RM Auction will see a 2001 Audi R8 (#501) and a 2001 Bentley EXP Speed 8 (Audi R8 3.6 V8 engine), both of which are currently owned by the same owner. Audi R8 #501 has competed as a factory car in 2001 ALMS and ELMS before being sold to the Japanese Team Goh in 2002. The auction will be held on 17-18 August 2012.
On Monday the 2012 Le Mans winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro was at the Audi Sport headquarters in Neckarsulm, Germany for the traditional post Le Mans victory celebrations.
The 2012 Spa 24 Hours entry list has been announced. A total of ten Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars are confirmed for the event with an additional R8 LMS on the waiting list. The ten entries includes the seven regular Blancpain Endurance Series entries from WRT, Saintéloc Racing, GT3 Racing and JB Motorsport. The additional entries are from United Autosports, Alfab Racing and Phoenix Racing. Phoenix Racing will field two cars of which one has multiple Le Mans winners Fässler, Lotterer and Kristensen.
3. Next Weekend’s events (14-15/07/2012)
- DTM Munich
- Superstars GT Sprint
- Australian GT
- ADAC GT Masters
- French GT
- GT Open
- Kerrick Sports Sedans
- GT Asia
All photos are hosted at their respective website which are listed within the Weekend Round Up