Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (27-28/07/2013)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 27 - 28 July 2013

2. The Events

  •           Spa 24 Hours
  •           Grand-Am / NAEC
  •           BRCC
  •           Brazilian GT
  •           Super GT
  •           DMV TCC
  •           Britcar
  •           Norwegian GT
  •           French Rallycross
  •           Silverstone Classic
  •           SCCA Regional
  •           Eifel Rallye Festival

 2.1. Spa 24 Hours

The Spa 24 Hours, round four of the Blancpain Endurance Series, was held at Spa in Belgium. Seven Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were entered by Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Phoenix Racing and United Autosports. It proved to be a difficult weekend as the Audi teams struggled with the Balance of Performance. Only one Audi made it into the top twenty Superpole. Vanthoor had an incident during Superpole and the only Audi in Superpole ended last, thus meaning that the highest placed Audi on the grid was twentieth. The race got underway with the Audis coming from further back. United Autosports were sadly involved in a touch from behind which resulted in a wheel bearing needing to be replaced, costing a lot of time. The cars progressed well during the early stages and a few Audis crept into the top ten. Unfortunately starter problems dropped the #1 WRT out of contention after they had been the highest Audi in the top five. As the race went into the night difficulties hit the Audi teams. The #1 WRT Audi was the first to retire (gearbox), followed by the #125 United Autosports Audi (engine related problems). The #13 WRT Audi then became the best ranked car, until contact during the night caused race-ending damage, when the #49 Ferrari made contact with Marcel Fässler. The night was not over for WRT, as their third retirement occurred in the early morning. The #0 WRT Audi, driven by Matt Halliday at the time, suffered a puncture and a resulting crash at Raidillon. The damage to the suspension and chassis ended the #0 Audi's participation. By the time dawn broke the #2 WRT Audi was battling for the podium, and the two Phoenix cars had moved into the top ten. The Phoenix cars remained strong within the top ten until a crash for Enzo Ide in the #16, he was thankfully unharmed. Within the last ninety minutes the #2 WRT Audi was holding fifth, followed by the Phoenix Racing #6 Audi in sixth. Within minutes of each other technical difficulties befell the third and fourth placed Ferrari and BMW entries, thus promoting the two Audis into third and fourth. The top four positions would remain stagnant for the final hour, and the two remaining Audis came home for third and fourth place. The #2 WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra driven by André Lotterer, Frank Stippler and Christopher Mies finished on the podium, ahead of the #6 Phoenix R8 LMS ultra with Oliver Jarvis, Christopher Haase and Harold Primat in fourth. A difficult race, where the Audis were driven to their limits, ended with two positive results which included a podium.

2.2. Grand-Am / NAEC

The Grand-Am Rolex Series headed to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend, for the Brickyard Grand Prix. This event was the eighth round of the Rolex Series, and more importantly, it was the third and final round of the North American Endurance Championship. Two Audi R8 GRAND-AM cars were entered, the factory #24 Audi and the Fall-Line Motorsports car. The factory Audi squad showed excellent pace all weekend, and qualified in third for the three hour event, followed by the Fall-Line Motorsports entry in ninth. Filipe Albuquerque took the green flag in the #24 Audi R8 GRAND-AM and remained within the front battle for the first hour. He was running as high as second for the majority of his stint and things were looking good. Unfortunately tragedy struck within the second hour. The #94 BMW M3 lost control in the in-field section and collected Albuquerque from behind. The resulting damage ended the #24 Audi’s race and their bid for the NAEC title. Further back the Fall-Line Motorsports Audi R8 GRAND-AM soldiered on well and came home for a top ten result, finishing ninth within the GT class.

2.3. BRCC   

The Belgian Racing Car Championship (BRCC) was at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend. They hosted round four of the series as a support event for the Spa 24 Hours. PK Carsport was there and achieved very good results. The team achieved pole position for the BRCC race at Spa, which was held on Friday afternoon, before the Spa 24 Hours Superpole. They were over a second ahead of the field during the wet qualifying session. The hour-long race itself saw the PK Carsport squad converting pole into a solid finish. Third place overall and yet another podium finish and good points for the season. 

2.4. Brazilian GT

The Brazilian GT Championship was at Tarumã for round three. The Ebrahim Motors Audi R8 LMS ultra was at the event and they qualified on the front row for both races. Race one saw the Ebrahim pairing battling well and maintaining their position, bringing the R8 LMS ultra home for yet another second place finish and good points. The second race saw the Ebrahim Audi gaining the lead, but they were soon passed by the race winning Lamborghini. Ultimately the Ebrahim brothers brought their R8 LMS ultra across the line for another strong second place finish, despite a deflating tire.

Ebrahim Motors FB page

2.5. Super GT

Round four of the Japanese Super GT was at Sugo for a 300 km event. Only one Audi was entered, the 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Hitotsuyama Racing. It has proven to be a difficult year in Super GT. The Hitotsuyama R8 LMS ultra qualified in nineteenth. The race itself saw the team progressing steadily. A good call on strategy, which saw them running on slicks in difficult weather, netted them a good top ten result by finishing in eighth (within the GT300 class). A very positive result for the team in a very testing season.

2.6. DMV TCC

The DMV Touring Car Challenge (DMV TCC) hosted round five at Hockenheim this weekend. This championship features a variety of race cars, including GT3 cars. A new Audi R8 LMS ultra team was present this weekend. The RS Tuning Audi R8 LMS ultra was the only Audi entered in this event, and was driven by Suzanne Weidt. The car was in the full original 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra specification, that with the original aggressive rear-diffuser. It was a learning experience for Suzanne Weidt, as she got to grips with the new Audi. She qualified twenty-third for race one and twenty-second for race two. She unfortunately dropped back in race one and finished the second race, after progressing well, in nineteenth. 

2.7. Britcar

The Britcar Endurance Championship was at Brands Hatch for the fourth round. A new Audi R8 LMS team competed at the event. Simpson Motorsport is now running the ex-GT3 Racing team’s R8 LMS, and they have entered it in Britcar, replacing their Porsche 911. They qualified eighth overall and first in class. Mott and Cook performed very well during the race and progressed within the overall top ten. They were as high as third overall during the event. By the end of the three hour race they finished fifth overall, and first in class.

2.8. Norwegian GT

The Norwegian GT Racing Championship held its third round at Kinnekulle this weekend. A number of Audis take part in this championship, which includes appearances of an Audi A4 DTM R13, Audi A5 TDI, Audi RS 4 and Audi 80.

2.9. French Rallycross

Two Audis were entered for the Kerlabo-Cohiniac French Rallycross Championship event, the fifth round of the series. The Racing Team Jagu Audi A1 (Super 1600 class) and the ex-Jagu Audi A3 (Division 4 class) of Jimmy Terpereau.

2.10. Silverstone Classic

The Silverstone Classic was held this weekend, a massive annual historic racing event. A modern touring car category is also included which is open to 1990’s Super Touring cars and other types of touring cars. No Audi super touring cars were present this year, but the QR Sport Audi 80 was entered, driven by Jan Van Nierop. The car is one of the ex-ROC cars which competed in the French Supertourisme at the beginning of the 1990’s (1990-1992).

2.11. SCCA Regional

A SCCA regional event was held at Road America. The Continental Racing team was at the event as preparation for the SCCA National Runoffs which will be taking place at Road America in September. The Continental team runs an ex-Stasis Audi A4 B7 SCCA World Challenge Touring car, which is driven by Joel Weinberger.

2.12. Eifel Rallye Festival

The Eifel Rallye Festival was held in Germany this weekend. The historic rally event included a large entry list. A total of fourteen Audi rally cars were entered, including an Audi Sport quattro from Audi Tradition driven by Harald Demuth.

2.13. Other Audi News

The ROFGO Collection was on display at the Spa 24 Hours. This private collection features Gulf liveried race cars. Among the cars was the Audi R8 which competed in Gulf colours during the 2001 ALMS, ELMS and Le Mans. This specific car is chassis #403, the actual Gulf car in 2001.

Five DTM championship winning Audi race cars will be on display at the 2013 Essen Motors Show. The 1990 Audi V8 quattro DTM, the 2002 ABT-Audi TT-R and the 2004, 2009 and 2011 Audi A4 DTM cars.

Audi Sport Team ABT Sportsline appealed the exclusion of Mattias Ekström at the Norisring. Ekström won the race, but was excluded for a breach of Parc Ferme rules. The ruling for the appeal will take place on Tuesday with the DMSB court of appeal.

The 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours race winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro was on display at the Spa 24 Hours.

The ATL Automotive team, who competes with an ABT-Audi TT-R in Jamaica and the Caribbean, have decided to withdraw from the next event at Dover as a form of protest. Their protest is regarding the tire allocation rules which have been changed mid-season, and the team is unhappy on safety-grounds. They will be back in action at the other Jamaican and Caribbean rounds later in the year.

The DTM held a promotional event in Moscow, promoting the first DTM event in Russia which will be taking place next weekend. All three brands were present, including a Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM (Mattias Ekström car), which was driven by Mike Rockenfeller at the event.

3. Next Weekend’s events (3-4/08/2013)

  •           DTM
  •           BTCC
  •           SA Production Cars
  •           Australian GT
  •           Dutch Supercar Challenge
  •           Australian Sports Sedans
  •           Pirelli World Challenge
  •           Czech MMCR
  •           Audi R8 LMS Cup
  •           ADAC GT Masters

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