Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (8-9/06/2013)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 8 - 9 June 2013

2. The Events

  •           Le Mans Test Day
  •           Le Mans Test Day (Michelin Test)
  •           ADAC GT Masters
  •           French GT-Tour
  •           BRCC
  •           Superstars
  •           Superstars GT Sprint
  •           BTCC
  •           SVRA
  •           Norwegian GT Racing
  •           Midas Clubmans
  •           Austrian Hillclimb
  •           British Hillclimb

2.1. Le Mans Test Day

June has arrived and Le Mans fever is beginning to build. The annual Le Mans test day took place this weekend. All three race-ready Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars were present with the full line-up of nine drivers. The test day took place on Sunday following two days of scrutineering and other activities such as photography / PR work. The track action saw very fast times from the front runners, where Audi vs Toyota is the big story. The Audis topped the time sheets by the end of the first four hour session, with the #2 leading #1 and #3, in what was wet running. The most notable incident during the first session included an off for Duval in the #2, causing a lot of damage, but the car was repaired in time to take part in the second session. The afternoon session had a drying track and the lap times became very fast during the last two hours, entering the 3:25 minute bracket. By the end of the day the times saw that Audi had maintained its 1-2-3. Duval redeemed himself by setting a phenomenal lap time to close out the day, a 3:22.583 lap, 1.2 seconds clear of the 2012 pole position. The #2 lead home the #3 followed by the #1 inside the final top three. 

2.2. Le Mans Test Day (Michelin Test)

A fourth Audi R18 e-tron quattro was entered at the Le Mans Test day. The car was housed at an Audi Sport truck and tent set-up on the far side of the pits, near the pit entry, away from the team's three cars garaged at pit exit. The car was driven by Marco Bonanomi. The purpose of the fourth car was to serve as a 2014 tire test with Audi’s tire partners, Michelin. The characteristics and load carrying ability of the new 2014 tires were tested. The new tires differ from the current generation of LMP1 tires as they are narrower. 

2.3. ADAC GT Masters

The ADAC GT Masters was at the Sachsenring this weekend. A number of driver changes had occurred within the three Audi teams, but it remained five Audi R8 LMS ultra entries: three from Prosperia C.ABT Racing, two from MS Racing and one from YACO Racing. A BOP adjustment had been made in favour of the Audis ahead of this event, and the renewed performance paid dividends this weekend. Pole position went to Rene Rast and Christopher Mies in the #27 R8 LMS ultra, followed by the other Audis also placing well. The Rast / Mies duo made it a lights to flag victory as they took their second win of the season, leading home four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars within the top ten. There were again four Audis within the top ten in race two, lead by Rast / Mies on the podium in third. These results have elevated Rast and Mies into the lead of the championship points standings. 

2.4. French GT-Tour

The French GT-Tour was in Belgium, running round three at Spa. It was a weekend to remember for the Team Speed Car squad, as they claimed pole position and a dominant race one victory, with Vincent Abril and Dino Lunardi behind the wheel of the #36 Audi R8 LMS ultra. Only two Audis placed within the top ten during race one. The Team Speed Car squad was in top form again during race two, as they recovered to another podium finish, this time in third place.  

2.5. BRCC

The Belgian Racing Car Championship (BRCC) also held its third round at Spa this weekend. The PK Carsport Audi R8 LMS qualified on the front row and did very well during the race, finishing in third place.

2.6. Superstars

The Superstars Series returned to Central Europe for the second round in succession, as they headed to the Slovakia Ring following Brno in the Czech Republic last time out. The Slovakia Ring hosted the third round of the series. Audi Sport Italia arrived with their two RS 5 quattro cars and qualified seventh and thirteenth for race one. The first race proved to be very difficult as both RS 5 cars retired. The second race saw Morbidelli improving up to third place, salvaging a good result from a difficult weekend.

2.7. Superstars GT Sprint

The Superstars GT Sprint also held its third round alongside the Superstars at the Slovakia Ring. The MTM Audi R8 LMS was present, fitted with 2012 spec R8 LMS ultra rear-wing mounts for the first time. The driving was shared by Thomas Schöffler who was joined by Antti Buri this weekend. They qualified third and fourth respectively for the two races. Race one saw a great drive from the team as they won for the first time in the GT Sprint Series. After the success of the first race the MTM R8 LMS unfortunately retired during the second race. 

2.8. BTCC

The fourth round of the British Touring Car Championship was held at Oulton Park this weekend. It looked like another tough outing for Rob Austin Racing and their two Audi A4 NGTC race cars. They qualified well down the order with the highest placed RAR Audi in eighteenth. The first race saw both Audis recovering, but they finished outside of the top ten. Rob Austin put in a great drive to grab a top ten in race two, finishing in eighth. The third and final race of the day saw Austin starting third on the reverse grid. He rocketed into the lead and lead half of the race, before being punted out of the lead, he ultimately finished in fifth. His teammate, Will Bratt, came from much further behind and stormed into the top ten finishing in sixth place.

2.9. SVRA

The SVRA (Sportscar Vintage Racing Association) held the “Fingers Lakes Wine Classic” at Watkins Glen this weekend. There was one Audi entered in the event, the Audi R8 LMP (#606) owned and driven by Travis Engen.

2.10. Norwegian GT Racing

The Norwegian NBF GT Championship held round two at Rudskogen. A variety of Audi cars take part in this series, including: an Audi A5 TDI, Audi A4 DTM R13 and an Audi 80 race car.

2.11. Midas Clubmans

Regional racing took place in Cape Town this weekend, including Midas Clubmans at Killarney. Andre Johnson took pole position for race one, in his ex-Terry Moss Racing Audi A4. In torrential conditions Johnson made it pole and victory in race one followed by a fifth in race two, enough for second overall on the day.

2.12. Austrian Hillclimb

The St. Anton Hillclimb was held in Austria this weekend. The Audi A4 STW of Andreas Marko was amongst the competitors at the event.

2.13. British Hillclimb

The Loton Park Hillcimb was held this weekend, also hosting the MSA British Hillclimb Championship. A number of Audi cars were present, including the Audi Sport quattro (S1 replica) from Keith Edwards Motors. 

Keith Edwards Motors FB page

2.14. Other Audi News

The provisional Spa 24 Hours entry list was released this week. Four Audi Sport customer racing teams have so far been entered in the event: Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Phoenix Racing, Sainteloc and United Autosports.

Audi has released a new video this week featuring World Rally champion, Hanno Mikkola. The video includes an extended interview with Mikkola as he is reunited with one of the old Audi quattro rally cars.

The Audi R8 LMS Cup is hard at work preparing for round two of the championship at Ordos, in China. The field of twenty cars will soon be transported to the venue, for the event which takes place at the beginning of July. A number of new race liveries will also be seen on the cars at Ordos.

VMP Motorsport has been working very hard ahead of the next South African Bridgestone Production Cars event in Durban next weekend. They have done a lot of dyno work as well, searching for improved performance. The team completed testing at Zwartkops towards the end of this week.

A special total of fourteen original Audi race cars are on show at the Audi Museum in Ingolstadt, as of the beginning of this week. The line-up includes: Audi 200 Trans Am, Audi 80 Competition, Audi R8 LMS, Audi R8C, Audi A4 DTM R14 and many more.

The Limitless Racing Audi R8 GRAND-AM follows up its great results last weekend by being present at a great initiative this week. Dr Jason Lee’s car was on display at the “An Evening of Smiles” event, an Operation Smile fundraiser.

The Istook Motorsport team are continuing to work hard on their Audi TT RS race cars, ahead of their first SCCA World Challenge races later in the year.

Slobodan Cvetkovic, a co-owner of the Prosperia C.Abt Racing team, will compete in the DMV TCC at Hockenheim next weekend. He has previously competed with one of his team’s Audi R8 LMS cars, as he raced in a few DMV TCC / AvD 100 Meilen races last year. He will be driving an Audi R8 LMS, sharing with Christer Jöns.

3. Next Weekend’s events (15-16/06/2013)

  •           DTM
  •           Grand Am
  •           SA Production Cars
  •           British GT
  •           Italian GT
  •           STT
  •           Spanish GT
  •           DMV TCC
  •           GT Open
  •           Audi race experience 11-12/06
  •           Czech MMCR
  •           French Rallycross
  •           AvD 100 Meilen

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