Sunday, September 2, 2012

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (1-2/09/2012)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing this week on the weekend of 1 - 2 September 2012

2. The Events

  •           FIA GT1
  •           FIA GT3
  •           Italian GT
  •           Swedish GT
  •           Brazilian GT
  •           VdeV
  •           SCCA Nationals
  •           CMRC
  •           Canadian Super Production
  •           Mexican SuperTurismos
  •           Austrian Hillclimb
  •           French Rallycross

2.1. FIA GT1

The FIA GT1 World Championship headed to Moscow this weekend for the second round since the revision of the series calendar. The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT was there armed with their two regular Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. The cars proved to be on the pace with both placing in the top five during qualifying. Race one, run alongside the FIA GT3 category was very wet. The two WRT cars stormed into the lead and led comfortably. An intense battle ensued between the two Audis for the race win. Ultimately the #32 won the race as the #33 slipped to third and defended the podium place on the last lap. Race two saw WRT on pole thanks to the qualifying race finish earlier in the day. Heavy rain greeted the field for race two. The race started under safety car conditions and the Audis lost the lead going into turn one once the green flag dropped, and they continued dropping back. After the pitstops both cars were in the lower half of the top ten. The WRT cars then started moving back towards the front and both finished within the top four, the #33 claimed third spot.

2.2. FIA GT3

FIA GT3 was held alongside the FIA GT1 World Championship this weekend. Both categories raced on track at the same time. Only one Audi R8 LMS ultra team went to Russia to compete in the FIA GT3 category, the Portuguese NovaDriver team. The team achieved fourth in qualifying followed by fifth in the first race. Race two saw the grid racing in heavy rain. The NovaDriver car did well by using a very long first stint. They ran as high as third overall during the pitstop phase and came out in the lead of the GT3 category as the race approach the closing stages. Their tremendous pace continued as they won the GT3 category and placed seventh overall as well, not far behind the two GT1 WRT Audis in the top five.

2.3. Italian GT

Imola hosted round five of the Italian GT Championship. Audi Sport Italia arrived at Imola after the recent balance of performance altercations were now favoring the competators. The weekend proved to be difficult. Race one saw the car of Capello and Sonvico only achieving seventh place and their teammates not finishing after an off. Race two finished with a podium for the team. The #32 came third leading the #31 which was fourth. Sonvico now leads the championship points standings. 

2.4. Swedish GT

The second last Swedish GT round was held at Anderstorp this weekend. This event hosted the last race of the season for the FIA GT3 specification cars in the series. The GT3 cars only competed in select events during the 2012 Swedish GT season. Regular 2012 entrants, Alfab Racing were joined by JB Motorsport at Anderstorp. JB have been concentrating on the Blancpain Endurance Series this year but they decided to take part in this Swedish GT event. The cars were competitive during the weekend and scored a double podium as Alfab took second place, followed by JB in third. 

2.5. Brazilian GT  

Ebrahim Motors in Brazil upgraded their Audi R8 LMS to the new ultra specification this week. The upgrade came just in time for round five of the Brazilian GT Championship held at Guaporé. The upgrade paid dividends immediately. The practice sessions were treated as a run in for the car followed by fourth and pole position respectively for races one and two during qualifying. The Ebrahims held fourth all the way to the line in race one. The Audi started race two from pole but it was passed soon after the start. The Audi displayed great defensive driving but they were eventually pushed back to fifth and ultimately fell to eighth after issues. The debut of the newly upgraded ultra specification car showed great promise this weekend and will be back next time out.

2.6. VdeV

Round five of the French VdeV series was hosted at Paul Ricard for a four hour event. The AB Sport Auto team entered a second Audi R8 LMS at this event. Car #46 is the team’s second Audi, joining the #323 R8 that they have used all year. The two Audis ran well during the race and held high positions overall. By the end of the race the two AB Sport Auto R8 LMS cars finished fifth and sixth overall. The #46 debuted with  second position in class followed by the #323 with third in class.

2.7. SCCA Nationals  

Don Istook and his SCCA World Challenge Audi TT RS took part in a SCCA National event this weekend. The event was a SCCA Double National race at MSR Houston. Istook put the TT RS on pole for the STU class grid.

2.8. CMRC

Round three of the Caribbean Motor Racing Championship was held in Barbados this weekend. Doug Maloney, part of the Barbados team, was at the event. He was racing his monstrously modified ex-BTCC Audi A4 STW in the top group 4 category. Doug was competitive during the weekend. Unfortunately the ABT-Audi TT-R of Doug Hollywood Gore was not at this event. Gore has now missed round two of the CMRC after his crash during round one which damaged the chassis. The car is still being evaluated and repaired in Europe. 

2.9. Canadian Super Production

The finale of the Canadian Super Production Championship was hosted at Calabogie. One of the Audis from the Ingolstadt Competition team was at the event, their Audi A5. The team’s cars include an ex-Stasis SCCA Touringcar Audi A4 B7 and the Audi A5 race car.

2.10. Mexicam SuperTurismos

The Mexican SuperTurismos series is little known to most Audi fans. There are various Audi and Audi bodied cars taking part. The cars include an Audi A3 and many silhouette bodied cars that utilise Audi styling, such as the #13 car which is inspired by B7 Audi A4 DTM cars. The series held round seven this past weekend and many of the cars did well.

2.11. Austrian Hillclimb

The St Urban Hillclimb in Austria was held this weekend. Various Audis took part including a highly modified Audi S2, an Audi Coupe and an Audi Sport quattro replica.

2.12. French Rallycross

The French Rallycross series visited Lohéac for round eight this weekend. The ex-Racing Team Jagu #466 Audi A3 was at the event, competing in division four. Jimmy Terpereau was driving the Audi A3 and scored his first victory with the car this weekend at Lohéac.

2.13. Other Audi news

Rob Austin Racing started a support campaign this week. The team is offering fans the opportunity to support the private Audi BTCC team by letting them buy a photo spot on the roof of Rob’s car. For just £35 fans can have a 10cm x 5cm photo on the roof of the Audi A4. Rob Austin Racing is hard at work to prepare for the end of the BTCC season. The team is fully committed to attempt running all the final races. Along with the photo campaign Rob is also selling his Yamaha R1 to raise funds for the cars, pure commitment right here. This is the spirit of pure privateer racing.

The Ferodo Racing Audi S4 debuted in the South African Bridgestone Production Cars Championship last weekend. It was a baptism of fire for Gennaro Bonafede but he and the team will be back fighting at the next round, hosted at Killarney in Cape Town. VMP Motorsport, the team who run the Ferodo S4, have added various systems on the ex-Johan Fourie Racing Audi S4, having upgraded it during this week. VMP Motorsport will be continuing development on the S4 as they use the rest of 2012 as a learning period for the team and driver, preparing for the 2013 season.

The JWS Racing R8 LMS suffered damaged during the last French GT Tour event. Sadly the car could not be repaired and they have decided to purchase an Audi R8 LMS ultra. The team will receive technical support from fellow French team, Saintéloc. JWS have debuted their new car during a test at Magny Cours last week. They are preparing for the GT Tour round next weekend.

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT were at Zolder on Thursday, testing for the Zolder 24 Hours. Anthony Kumpen, who is making his return to WRT, tested the car on the day. The team used an Audi R8 LMS ultra in plain silver bodywork for the test. Many rumours about the car and news about its fuel tank size as per the rules have been circulating on the internet. Rumours aside, WRT will be at the Zolder 24 Hours with one car to mount their title defence after winning the event in 2011.

The SCCA World Challenge season may be over but the Arc Audi Racing Program (Istook Motorsport) crew are still working hard. The team built and raced a TT RS during the 2012 season. As the season finished the team announced they would be building a second car. An Audi TT will be built into TT RS configuration and will race alongside the team’s current TT RS next year.

The GMG Racing Spider Audi R8 LMS was seen at the Carc and Coffee Irvine event this weekend, hosted in Southern California.

Racing Team Jagu is a French Rallycross team who previsouly competed with a first generation Audi A3. The team sold their A3 before the 2012 season as they started development of a new smaller Audi rallycross car. Racing Team Jagu have been building an Audi A1 rallycross car and they had the car on display at the most recent French Rallycross round last weekend. When the car will debut is not yet known.  

3. Next Weekend’s events (8-9/09/2012)

  •           Grand Am
  •           Continental Tire Challenge
  •           Zolder 24 Hours
  •           British GT
  •           French GT Tour
  •           DMV TCC
  •           GT Open
  •           Barcelona 24 Hours
  •           RCN
  •           Japanese Super GT
  •           SVRA
  •           STCC
  •           Audi Endurance Experience
  •           GT Cup
  •           Cup & Tourenwagen Trophy
  •           IMG Racing
  •           Histo Cup
  •           Midas Clubmans exhibition race
  •           Dutch Supercar

All photos are hosted at their respective website which are listed within the Weekend Round Up