Friday, May 31, 2013

BES: Eight Audi R8 LMS ultra for round 2 at Silverstone

By Tarek Ramchani

Silverstone is hosting the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series this weekend. A traditional 3-hour race format, and no less than eight Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will be entered for the event.

Eight cars from three different Audi Sport customer racing teams. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is fielding three cars, all of them in the upper Pro-Cup class. The  #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra will be shared by Stephane Ortelli, Laurens Vanthoor and Rene Rast. The #2 car will be driven by Rahel Frey, Matt Halliday and Niki Mayr-Melnhof. The #13 machine is for Edward Sandstrom, Christopher Mies and Frank Stippler. The Belgian team had a mixed race last time out at Monza. Strong performances on track but also a lot of bad luck. The best ranked car was the #13 Audi in fourth, losing the podium spot in the last corner to a McLaren MP4-12C. Silverstone should be more favorable for the Audi R8 LMS ultra, the Belgian team is aiming high in Britain. In the team standings Belgian Audi Club Team WRT are fourth with 12 points.

The second Audi entry is from Phoenix Racing. The German team has a two-car effort in the demanding Pro-Cup class. The #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Christopher Haase, Oliver Jarvis and Harold Primat, and the sister #16 car for Enzo Ide, Anthony Kumpen and Markus Winkelhock. At Monza Phoenix Racing performed very well, both cars entered the top 10 on a very penalizing track which had a very healthy grid. Phoenix Racing is fifth in the points standings with 10 points.

Sainteloc Racing is the third Audi team in the series. The French privateer team will have three cars. The #42 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Ronnie Latinne, David Hallyday and Romain Monti in the Pro-Am class, and the sister #41 car of Pierre Hirschi, Marc Sourd and Claude-Yves Gosselin in the Gentlemen Trophy. Their Pro-Cup entry will again be the #40 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Alexander Müller, Michael Ammermuller and Gregory Guilvert.

As seen at Monza, the 2013 Blancpain Endurance Series has an impressive level of competition. The largest and most competitive GT3 racing series around. The six Pro-Cup Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will have to fight very hard against very strong rivals from Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Porsche and the full factory Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3.

Photo credit: Blancpain Endurance Series