Monday, April 1, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (30-31/03 - 01/04/2013)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing this week on the weekend of 23 - 24 March and 1 April 2013

2. The Events

  •           FIA GT Series
  •           British GT
  •           DTM Test
  •           BTCC
  •           Dover

2.1. FIA GT Series

The FIA GT Series got underway at Nogaro this weekend. Five Audi R8 LMS ultra car arrived at the track, but to everyone’s surprise they were in 2012 specification. The 2013 updates have not yet been homologated and thus the cars had to run in the older specification. Despite the set back the Audis were fast and Rene Rast claimed pole position for the qualification race. The WRT entry of Rene Rast and Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof held the lead until the closing stages when Loeb managed to claim the win in his McLaren. Three Audis finished within the top five. The main championship race took place in wet weather on Monday afternoon. Mayr-Melnhof remained in second and stayed in contention with Loeb during the first stint, and took the lead during the pitstops. Rast eventually lost the lead due to a touch but regained it when the leading McLaren was called in for a pitstop infringement. During the closing minutes the #13 and #11 WRT cars also made it onto the podium to complete a WRT Audi 1-2-3 overall finish. In doing so WRT won the Pro class and the Pro-am class. The other Audis also did well, Phoenix Racing finished fifth overall and Team Novadriver finished second in Pro-am, which rounded off a 1-2 finish for Audi in both classes.  

Update: The #12 WRT entry was later penalised with a 30 second penalty, thus giving the overall victory to the #13 WRT entry of Edward Sandström and Frank Stippler. The Team Novadriver Audi squad thus also took the Pro-Am class victory.

2.2. British GT

Oulton Park hosted the British GT Championship over the Easter weekend. Three Audi cars entered the event which included a R8 LMS and a 2012 and 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra. The United Autosports Audi R8 LMS ultra (2012) performed well this weekend and finished race one within the top ten. Race two saw the United Autosports entry battling at the front and they were part of the lead battle during the closing stages. The #25 UA entry finished in a well deserved second place during race two, after a dash to the flag following a late race caution.

2.3. DTM Test

The DTM held an official week-long test at Catalunya in Spain. All three manufactures were present at the test which focused on the new option tires and the evaluation of the new DRS system. Audi Sport was present at the test with four cars and all eight of its drivers split into different groups on the various days of testing. The cars preformed well and set competitive times.

2.4. BTCC

The 2013 BTCC got underway at Brands Hatch. The pair of Audi A4 NGTC cars from WIX Racing (Rob Austin Racing) showed good pace during testing, and Rob Austin continued this good form by qualifying in the top ten. Austin chose to use his soft tires for the first race and he rocketed from seventh to second after the first sequence of corners. He then took the lead and led the first lap of the new BTCC season. Ultimately the soft tires gave in and Austin finished in third. Race two and three saw DNF finishes for Austin with race three seeing a large crash for him. The driver was unharmed and the car has been reported as repairable. Rob’s teammate Will Bratt fought hard and achieved a twelfth and fourteenth.

2.5. Dover

Dover hosted its annual Easter Weekend Carnival of Speed. Dover is Jamaica’s premier race circuit and the ATL Automotive team were present at the event. This was the return of the ATL ABT-Audi TT-R to the Dover track following its crash and lengthy repair last year. Doug Gore was very fast this weekend and claimed pole position.

2.6. Other Audi News

The DTM tests in Spain included DRS testing this week. All three manufactures tested the new system, which is being evaluated for DTM use. The system is a standard unit provided by the organisers. It remains to be seen if the new DRS system will be used in the DTM. More can be read HERE

Hitotsuyama Racing has revealed their new livery after having teased it via their Facebook page all week. The new read and silver livery looks very good on their new Audi R8 LMS ultra, as they continue to prepare for the Super GT season.

Audi Belgian Club Team WRT held their team presentation this week. The team officially announced their three-car efforts in the Blancpain Endurance Championship and the FIA GT Series. The official press release can be read HERE.

Preparations for the 2013 Audi endurance experience continues. The series is a one-make series utilizing Audi A1 cars run by Audi France. The new livery for the cars was revealed this week.

The big news this weekend was the emergence of the fact that the 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra updates have not yet been homologated. The new updated cars had their international race debut at Sepang last weekend and it was expected that the cars at Nagaro would all have the updates for the FIA GT Series as well. However, the cars arrived in France with the 2012 specification and the news followed that the new parts have not yet passed homologation. A lot of other news and speculation has since followed, however as it stands Audi Sport customer racing and the FIA are working on the homologation process of the new updates.  

Audi Sport Italia did not attend the official Superstars test at Monza this week, but they did complete testing at Adria. Their two Audi RS 5 race cars were on tack as well as their R8 LMS ultra. The RS 5 cars were also seen testing a new aerodynamic package.

3. Next Weekend’s events (6-7/04/2013)

  •           Grand-Am
  •           SA Production Cars
  •           Superstars
  •           BRCC
  •           Hungary 12 Hours
  •           Super GT
  •           SVRA
  •           DMV TCC

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