Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (23-24/03/2013)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing this week on the weekend of 23 - 24 March 2013

2. The Events

  •           MSS
  •           SCCA World Challenge
  •           V de V
  •           BTCC Media Day
  •           VLN
  •           Portuguese GT
  •           Kerrick Sports Sedans
  •           Austrian Rallying

2.1. MSS

The MSS (Malaysian Super Series) held its opening round this weekend. The series is hosted at Sepang and was one of the support events for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Absolute Racing entered three cars for their clients: Jeffrey Lee (J-fly Racing), Philip Ma (Team Hong Kong Racing) and Francis Hideki Onda (Tunewear Racing). All three cars were 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra cars and this event played host to the worldwide race debut of the new specification ultra. The cars did well and Jeffrey Lee topped practice. The pace increased in qualifying and the race and ultimately the highest Audi in race one was sixth, followed by all three Audis in the top ten. Race two saw fourth as the highest placed finish, will all three in the top seven. The fourth overall was also a third in the GT Class for Lee.

2.2. SCCA World Challenge

The streets of St. Petersburg hosted the opening round of the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge. Five Audi cars were on the gird. Four Audi R8 LMS cars from GMG Racing and one new Audi R8 GRAND-AM car from Jeff Courtney Racing. James Sofronas was very fast this weekend, qualified in the top four and finished second in the first race after being promoted from third when the race winner was disqualified. The second race saw another traffic effected event with the #14 Audi R8 LMS of James Sofronas gaining the lead in the closing stages. He defended his position and crossed the line to take the first R8 LMS victory in the SCCA World Challenge. 

2.3. V de V

The first round of the French V de V Championship was held at Catalunya. AB Sport Auto entered one of its Audi R8 LMS cars at the event.

2.4. BTCC Media Day

The annual BTCC Media day was held at Donington on Thursday. Both Audi A4 NGTC cars from Rob Austin Racing were present at the test day. Rob Austin’s Audi A4 has retained the yellow and black Wix Racing livery and Will Bratt’s Audi A4 is now in a white and black Wix Racing livery. The Audis were twelfth and thirteenth fastest on the day, with Rob Austin leading Will Bratt in the times.

2.5. VLN

The first round of the VLN championship was set to take place this weekend. The dangerous weather conditions unfortunately led to the cancelation of the race meeting. This was the second cancellation as the official VLN test day was also cancelled, which would have taken place last weekend.

2.6. Portuguese GT

Team Novadriver were entered for the first Portuguese GT round, which was scheduled for this weekend. The Portuguese team have entered a two-car team this year, with both of their cars having been updated to 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra specification. The first round of the championship was however cancelled due to technicalities within their GT Cup rules, thus the Portuguese GT championship will only be getting underway in April. Team Novadriver have completed a number of tests in the last three weeks.

2.7. Kerrick Sports Sedans

The Australian Kerrick Sports Sedan Series got underway at Sydney Motorsport Park. The Audi A4 silhouette of Darren Hossack was very fast this weekend. The Chevrolet powered machine qualified and finished second in race one.

2.8. Austrian Rallying

The Rebenland Rallye was hosted in Austria this weekend. A number Audi cars took part.

2.9. Other Audi News

The Prosperia C.ABT Racing team were testing at Mugello this week. A Photo was posted onto Facebook via the Christian Abt Facebook page. The photos revealed that the Prosperia C.ABT Racing cars have been upgraded to 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra specification. The team will be competing in the ADAC GT Masters this year.

Audi Sport Team Joest remained at Sebring this week to complete more testing following their 2013 Sebring 12 Hours victory. Many older Audi R8 LMP cars were also present at Sebring. Chassis #405, #605, #606 and #607 were at the track. The teams running the cars used the track time to complete testing and ECU maintenance on the R8s. These cars, with the exception of chassis #605, will again be seen in North American historic sportscar racing this year.  

Doug Smith

Twin Busch Motorsport have officially revealed their 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra this week. They revealed the updated car with its livery and new Kumho Tyres partnership.

The “Audi endurance experience” will be back in 2013. The one-make Audi A1 championship is run by Audi France. The series will have four rounds at various French circuits, and a 24 Hour finale held at Paul Ricard at the end of the year.

The Stuck brother have joined Phoenix Racing for the VLN and the Nürburgring 24 Hours later in the year. Johannes and Ferdinand Stuck will share an Audi R8 LMS ultra with Michael Ammermüller and Frank Stippler in the endurance race.

Hitotsuyama Racing are working hard on both their cars. Their new 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra will be competing in the Super GT and their older Audi R8 LMS will be seen in other series. These other series for the second car are yet to be announced.

Phoenix Racing have published their 2013 race liveries. The team will competed in the Blancpain Endruance Series and the FIA GT Series.

Don Istook underwent quadruple bypass surgery this week. The announcement was made last Sunday and the procedure took place on Monday. The surgery has been reported as a success and Istook is recovering well. With the procedure the team did not compete at St. Petersburg this weekend, SCCA World Challenge round one. GMG Racing with Istook’s good friend, James Sofronas, hosted the ARC members this weekend on behalf of Istook’s ARC Audi Racing Team. The team aims to be back at the Circuit of Americas in May.

After the cancelation of the Portuguese GT this weekend Team Novadriver will now compete at Nagaro for their first 2013 event, the opening round of the FIA GT Series. They will enter one car in the series. The car was seen with its new red livery this week, and the team’s second car, which will compete in the two-car Portuguese GT effort, can be seen with its yellow livery in the background of the photo above.

3. Next Weekend’s events (30-31/03/2013) + 01/04

  •           FIA GT Series
  •           BTCC
  •           ELMS Test
  •           British GT (1 April)
  •           BTCC Super Touring

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