By Johan Laubscher
1. The Weekend
Focussing on the weekend of 6 - 7 July 2013
2. The Events
- FIA GT Series
- Spa 24 Hours Test Day – 03/07
- Audi R8 LMS Cup
- SCCA World Challenge
- French GT-Tour
- Italian GT
- SCCA US Majors
- Audi endurance experience 3-4/7
- Canadian Super Production
- Midas Clubmans
2.1. FIA GT Series
The FIA GT Series headed to the Netherlands this weekend, hosting round three at Zandvoort. The regular five Audi R8 LMS ultra entries from Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Phoenix Racing and Team Novadriver were all present. They showed well, and four Audis made it into the top ten during qualifying. The start of the Qualifying Race was exciting as an Audi emerged at the front after it was three-way-wide in turn one. Vanthoor continued to lead the race and his teammate Ortelli brought the #11 Audi R8 LMS ultra home for another race victory. Four Audis finished within the top ten, all three WRT cars and the Team Novadriver entry. The main Championship Race on Sunday saw only two Audi cars finishing the race. The #11 and #13 WRT cars both battled to the line for second position, thus completing a double podium as #11 finished second ahead of #13 in third. Ortelli and Vanthoor have maintained their lead in the driver's standings and WRT is still leading the team's standings. The Phoenix Racing entry and the #12 from WRT both retired from the race. The Novadriver Audi suffered a hard crash, but luckily Cesar Campanico was reported as unharmed.
2.2. Spa 24 Hours Test Day
The Spa 24 Hours Test Day was held on Wednesday. A total of seven Audi R8 LMS ultra cars took part, three from Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, two from Phoenix Racing, one from United Autosports, and then also one from Audi AG. It was a wet and cold day at Spa, which ended with four Audis in the top ten, and the #13 WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra with the fastest overall time. The race itself will be held on the last weekend of the month, 27-28 July.
2.3. Audi R8 LMS Cup
The second meeting of the Audi R8 LMS Cup headed to Ordos in China. An all-Audi R8 LMS grid was ready for the event. Alex Yoong was able to pass Lee and held the lead to the finish. Yoong won the race ahead of Lee, Fong and Cheng. Yoong was later penalized for a false start, which gave the race win to Marchy Lee. The second race again saw Yoong crossing the finish line in first place, this time taking the win ahead of Bamber, Fong and Frey.
2.4. Pirelli World Challenge
Round five of the Pirelli World Challenge was at Lime Rock this weekend. Four Audi R8 LMS cars from GMG Racing were joined by the returning Don Istook in his TT RS. The Audis performed well, but the weekend was dominated by the opposition. Duncan Ende was the highest Audi in race one, placing fourth ahead of James Sofronas in sixth. The second race saw Sofronas finishing in fourth, followed by his three GMG teammates placing seventh through ninth.
2.5. French GT-Tour
The French GT-Tour was at Val de Vienne this weekend, with four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars on the grid. Qualifying saw good results for the Audis, two within the top three for race one, and also a third for the race two grid. During the first race the highest Audi was the #42 Sainteloc car which was battling for third, and ultimately finished fourth, the only Audi inside the top ten. Two Audis entered the top ten during race two, with the #42 as the highest Audi once again, finishing in sixth, ahead of the Team Speed Car Audi in seventh.
2.6. Italian GT
Mugello hosted the third Italian GT round this weekend. Audi Sport Italia was entered with their two-car Audi R8 LMS ultra team. They showed good pace during practice and Alex Frassineti was able to take pole position for race one, and fifth for race two. His teammates suffered an engine problem during qualifying and placed lower down. The first race proved to be very difficult and both Audis finished in the lower half of the top ten, in positions eight and nine.
2.7. SCCA U.S. Majors
The final round of the SCCA U.S. Majors Eastern Conference was at Watkins Glen. Limitless Racing has competed in the series all year long with Dr Jason Lee driving his Audi R8 GRAND-AM. Dr Lee qualified fourth in class for race one and third for race two.
The Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy was at Oschersleben this weekend. This championships has a number of Audi cars taking part, including Audi A4 DTM R11, Audi TT RS (SP4T), ex-ROC Audi 80, Audi A3 and more.
2.9. Audi endurance experience
The Audi endurance experience is an-all Audi series hosted by Audi France. They use a full grid of Audi A1 race cars. The latest round of the series was held during this week, a three hour endurance race at the Nogaro circuit in France.
2.10. Canadian Super Production
The Canadian Super Production was at the Grand Prix ICAR. Three Audis are competing in the 2013 series: an Audi A5, an Audi TT and an ex-Stasis Audi A4 SCCA World Challenge Touring Car.
2.11. Midas Clubmans
The Midas Clubmans Championship was at its home base of Killarney in South Africa. The ex-Terry Moss Racing Audi A4 driven by Andre Johnson took part in the event. He finished fourth in race one, followed by seventh in race two. Various other Audis also took part in the other categories on the day.
2.12. Other Audi News
The Le Mans 24 Hours race winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro and the three drivers, Tom Kristensen, Loic Duval and Allan McNish, visited the Audi Forum Ingolstadt on Monday. It was the first of a number of celebratory events this week.
Following the display in Ingolstadt, the 2013 Le Mans winners traveled to Neckarsulm on Tuesday, for further display celebrations.
The Le Mans victory celebrations at Neckarsulm also included a victory lap around the Audi Sport / Neckarsulm facilities, where Loïc Duval was behind the wheel of the race winning #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro. Duval and McNish were both present on the day.
Audi held a DTM promotion event in Moscow on Tuesday. Three Audi race cars were on display, accompanied by drivers: Timo Scheider, Emanuele Pirro and Roman Rusinov. The cars included an Audi RS 5 DTM (show-car), Audi R18 e-tron quattro (show-car) and an Audi R8 LMS (2012 Bathurst 12 Hour livery).
On the morning of the Spa 24 Hours Test Day, which was held on Wednesday, Belgian Audi Club Team WRT announced their plans for the Spa 24 hours. The big news was the addition of a fourth Audi R8 LMS ultra and three more drivers joining their nine-man regular squad. The three additions included Mattias Ekström, Marcel Fässler and André Lotterer. They also announced the driver line-ups for each car. The fourth entry will be driven by Mathias Ekström, Marcel Fässler and Edward Sandström, in the #13 Audi. André Lotterer will join Christopher Mies and Frank Stippler in the third Audi, car #2. The other two crews will remain with their current Blancpain Endurance line-ups. The #1 driving crew will be Stéphane Ortelli, Laurens Vanthoor and Rene Rast, and the #0 with Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof, Matt Halliday and Rahel Frey.
The provisional Spa 24 Hours entry list was also revealed on Wednesday at the Test Day. The list includes nine Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT with four cars, Phoenix Racing and Sainteloc with two each and United Autosports with a single entry. The provisional entry list can be seen HERE.
A special entry was included at the Spa 24 Hours Test Day on Wednesday. A seventh car was entered under the team name of “Audi AG”. This Audi Sport customer racing Audi R8 LMS ultra acted as a test car on the day, and was driven by André Lotterer with the #160 as its number.
The Nova Engineering team tested their Audi R8 LMS ultra at Twin Ring Motegi on Thursday. Seiji Ara, the 2004 Le Mans 24 Hours winner with Audi Sport Japan Team Goh, also took part in the test. The test session was held as part of preparation for round three of the Japanese Super Taikyu Championship.
MS Racing has revealed a new livery for their #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra, which competes in the ADAC GT Masters. The car will now feature a red/black livery which marks the re-launch of EK Automation, one of the team’s partners.
The #13 Wix Racing Audi A4 NGTC from Rob Austin Racing was on display at the Go Motorsport Live Show, which was held at Silverstone this weekend. The car competes in the British Touring Car Championship and is driven by Rob Austin.
Wix Racing UK FB page
GMG Racing is also hard at work on their Audi S4 Competition, one of the ex-Champion Racing Audi S4 cars from the SCCA World Challenge from years past. The car is lovingly referred to as "Sophie", and the team is busy getting her ready to run in a few races later this year.
GMG Racing AUDI S4 Comp aka "Sophie" FB page
3. Next Weekend’s events (13-14/07/2013)
- Australian GT
- SCCA World Challenge
- GT Asia
- GT Open
- French Rallycross
All photos are hosted at their respective website which are listed within the Weekend Round Up