Sunday, October 13, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (12-13/10/2013)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 12 - 13 October 2013

2. The Events

  •           VLN
  •           GT Asia
  •           BRCC
  •           GT Tour
  •           DMV TCC
  •           Superstars GT Sprint
  •           Superstars
  •           BTCC
  •           French Rallycross
  •           Canadian Super Production
  •           Dutch Power Pack
  •           Swiss Hillclimb
  •           Mull Rally
  •           Bathurst 1000 (Mattias Ekström)

2.1. VLN

The penultimate VLN round, the ROWE DMV 250-Meilen-Rennen, was held at the Nürburgring. It was a very successful weekend for the Audi Sport customer racing teams. A total of nine Audis were entered this weekend. This included two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars, one each from Twin Busch Motorsport and Phoenix Racing. Three Audi Sport customer racing developed Audi TT RS cars were entered in the SP3T class: the #1 from LMS Engineering, the #331 from Raeder Motorsport and the #290. Four more Audis were also entered in the SP3T class, which included three TTS cars and one TT. Twin Busch Motorsport qualified in third position followed by the Phoenix Racing entry in nineteenth. SP3T class pole and twentieth overall went to the #1 TT RS from LMS Engineering. By the end of the endurance race held on Saturday it was a case of double victory for the Audi Sport customer racing teams. Twin Busch Motorsport took the overall and SP9 victory with their #44 Audi R8 LMS ultra driven by Marc and Dennis Busch. In SP3T it was also an Audi victory, as the #1 Audi TT RS from LMS Engineering, driven by Christian Krognes, Constantin Kletzer and Ullrich Andree, took the class honours.

2.2. GT Asia

Zhuhai in China played host to the penultimate GT Asia round this weekend. Absolute Racing fielded a trio of Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. The three regular Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra cars took part in round five of the 2013 GT Asia season at Zhuhai, the only three Audi cars in the field this weekend. All three cars are entered under the team/entrant name of Team R8 LMS ultra, which represents Absolute Racing’s three customer teams: J-Fly Racing (Audi #7), Team Hong Kong Racing (Audi #98) and Tunewear Racing (Audi #888). Absolute Racing’s regular driver line-ups were again behind the wheel of the three cars this weekend. Jeffrey Lee and Marchy Lee were driving the #7 J-Fly machine, Philip Ma and Cong Fu Cheng in the #98 and Francis Hideki Onda and Alex Yoong in the #888. Qualifying for the first race saw the #888 as the highest Audi in fifth place, followed by the #7 in ninth and the #98 in tenth. The grid for race two yielded Audi #7 in sixth followed by the #98 in ninth and #888 rounding out the top ten in tenth. Race one was held on Saturday, with the highest Audi being that of Philip Ma and Cong Fu Cheng in the #98, as they finished fifth. They were followed home by their teammates in the #7 Audi in eighth. The #888 Tunewear Audi unfortunately retired from race one. The second and final race was held on Sunday. Francis Hideki Onda and Alex Yoong brought the #888 R8 LMS ultra home as the top placed Audi, taking fifth place by the finish. They were followed by their teammates in the #98 Audi, who finished eighth. The #7 Audi R8 LMS ultra unfortunately retired from the second race. Absolute Racing, with the team name of Team R8 LMS ultra, are still leading the GT Asia team's championship points standings.

2.3. BRCC

The finale of the Belgian Racing Car Championship was held at Zolder this weekend. PK Carsport arrived with their drivers leading the championship. PK Carsport has been an all-season competitor in the BRCC, fielding their #7 Audi R8 LMS driven Anthony Kumpen, Bert Longin and Maarten Makelberge. The trio had retaken the lead in the BRCC endurance championship standings following the last round at the 600 km of Spa in September. They arrived at Zolder with a mere five point lead in the driver’s standings. PK Carsport was also in the hunt for the team’s title, as they were in third place, just three points behind the leaders. They qualified third on the gird for the race at Zolder, taking position three behind the two GPR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 cars. The finale arrived on Sunday with high drama during the morning. News of possible sabotage emerged from the PK Carsport pits. This came after the PK Carsport engineers discovered that sticker seals, placed on the car the night before, had been broken. This raised the suspicion that the car might have been tampered with during the night, and with the title fight hanging in the balance, the PK Carsport team worked hard on Sunday morning to thoroughly check the car and replace many components. After the morning's drama the race got underway on Sunday afternoon. PK Carsport finished the season by taking second place overall by the end of the race, finishing behind the #100 GPR Aston Martin. This result was enough to crown the PK Carsport driving trio as the 2013 BRCC Endurance champions.

2.4. GT Tour

Lédenon played host to the sixth and penultimate French GT-Tour round. Five Audi cars were entered this weekend: Sainteloc entered three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars, along with Team Speed Car entering two cars, one Audi R8 LMS ultra and one older R8 LMS. Sainteloc suffered a hard crash with their lead car during the sessions, resulting that their #42 car was out for the remainder of the weekend. Team Speed Car was the only Audi within the top ten during the first qualifying session, their #36 R8 LMS ultra qualified sixth. Qualifying for race two saw the #82 Sainteloc entry taking third on the grid. The first race concluded with the #36 Team Speed Car Audi R8 LMS ultra finishing in ninth, the only Audi within the top ten. The second race again only saw one Audi within the top, the #36 Audi which finished sixth.

2.5. DMV TCC

The finale for the DMV Touring Car Challenge took place at Hockenheim this weekend. RS Tuning again performed well with their pair of Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. Originally three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were included on the provisional entry list, as YACO Racing had entered their R8 LMS ultra, along with RS Tuning’s two cars. However, YACO Racing did not take part this weekend. RS Tuning again entrusted their two cars to their drivers: Dietmar Haggenmüller (#8) and Suzanne Weidt (#88). Both cars have competed in the full 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra specification during the 2013 DMV TCC and AvD 100 Meilen seasons, the full specification with the addition of the original 2013 rear diffuser. Qualifying for the first race yielded two class top ten results for the Audis, as Weidt qualified seventh in class followed by Haggenmüller in eighth. The grid for race two saw Haggenmüller fifth in class and Weidt was seventh again. The first race on Saturday concluded with the Audis finishing in their class starting positions, with Weidt seventh ahead of Haggenmüller in eighth, both finishing nineteenth and twentieth overall respectively. The second race marked the final race of the 2013 DMV TCC season. Haggenmüller finished the race by placing sixth in class and ninth overall. He was followed by his teammate in thirteenth overall, taking eighth in class.

2.6. Superstars GT Sprint

The Superstars GT Sprint finale was at Vallelunga this weekend. MTM Motorsport topped off a great season with a tremendous result with their Audi R8 LMS in Italy. MTM’s lead driver, Thomas Schöffler, arrived at Vallelunga as the driver’s championship points leader. He was again joined by Johan Kristoffersson, after their double victory at Imola last time out. The MTM pairing qualified third for race one and sixth for race two. Race one saw them finishing in eighth place. This result was enough to ensure that Thomas Schöffler was crowned as the 2013 GT Sprint champion, with one race to spare. The second and final race of the day yielded a ninth place classification, closing off the 2013 GT Sprint season. It has been a great season for MTM Motorsport and their Audi R8 LMS with Thomas Schöffler as champion.

2.7. Superstars

The Superstars Series finale was also held at Vallelunga this weekend. Gianni Morbidelli arrived at the finale as the championship points leader in his #45 Audi Sport Italia RS 5 quattro. He was joined by Andrea Larini in a second Audi RS 5 quattro from Audi Sport Italia for this event. Both drivers showed excellent pace by topping both free practice sessions. Morbidelli qualified on the front row, but most importantly, he was ahead of his championship rivals. Larini qualified sixth. The first race concluded with Morbidelli finishing third, ahead of Larini in fourth. These results were enough to crown Gianni Morbidelli as the 2013 Superstars champion, his third title with Audi Sport Italia, his fifth in total. The second race of the day marked the final 2013 Superstars race. The season closed with another victory for Audi Sport Italia during the second race, as Larini won ahead of Morbidelli in seventh.

2.8. BTCC

The BTCC finale was held at Brands Hatch this weekend. Rob Austin Racing fielded both of their Audi A4 NGTC cars, with a new look. Rob Austin Racing was back with his #13 Wix Racing A4 and he was joined by a new teammate. Youngster, Jake Hill, joined RAR driving the #9 Exocet Racing Audi A4. Hill showed excellent pace all weekend long and was able to qualifying in tenth place, followed by Rob Austin in thirteenth. Races one and two on Sunday saw Hill finishing fourteenth and eleventh respectively, whilst Rob Austin unfortunately retired from both races. The third and final race of the day and the season saw Hill finishing fifteenth and Austin eighteenth.

2.9. Fench Rallycross

The French Rallycross Championship held the Rallycross de Dreux round this weekend. Two Audi cars were entered: the Racing Team Jagu Audi A1 driven by Yvonnick Jagu, and the ex-Jagu Audi A3 of Jimmy Terpereau.

2.10. Canadian Super Production

The Canadian Super Production Challenge was at Autodrome St-Eustache for the eighth event of the season. Three Audis are competing in this championship. The Ingolstadt Competition team fields two cars, an Audi A5 and an ex-Stasis Audi A4 B7 World Challenge Touring Car. The third Audi is a privately entered Mk1 Audi TT.

2.11. Dutch Power Pack

The final race weekend of the Dutch Power Pack was held at Zandvoort this weekend. The Burando Production Open was also held at the event which saw the participation of Twan Knop’s #121 Mk1 Audi TT.

2.12. Swiss Hillclimb

A round of the Swiss Interswiss Trophy / Hillclimb was held this weekend, the Slalom Ambri event. Danny Krieg won in his Audi A4 STW and was also crowned as champion.

2.13. Mull Rally

The 2013 Mull Rally took place this weekend. The rally included private Audi entrants, including an Audi Sport quattro S1 E2 replica.

2.14. Bathurst 1000 (Mattias Ekström)

The Bathurst 1000 was held at Mount Panorama this weekend. Two DTM superstars joined the 2013 Bathurst 1000. One of the two international DTM drivers was non-other than Audi Sport factory DTM driver, and two-time DTM champion, Mattias Ekström. Mattias Ekström was joined by BMW’s Andy Priaulx, the multiple WTCC champion and current BMW factory DTM driver. The pair were behind the wheel of the Xbox One Holden Commodore wild card entry, entered and run by Triple Eight Race Engineering. Priaulx had competed at Bathurst before, but for Ekström it was his debut at Mount Panorama and in an Australian V8 Supercar. The pair showed good pace during the weekend and qualified eighteenth. The race itself saw both drivers leading the race at different stages of the proceedings amongst the pitstop cycles. By the end of the race the DTM pair rounded out the top ten by placing tenth, in what was a very exciting race.

2.15. Other Audi News

The sixtieth Macau Grand Prix is set to take place in November. The annual Macau GP press conference was held this week, along with the release of the provisional entry lists, which includes an army of twenty-seven Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars. The big news is the return of Mr Macau, Edoardo Mortara, the two-time reigning Macau GT Cup champion. He has been unbeaten at Macau for the previous four seasons: two years in Formula 3 and then 2011 and 2012 in the GT Cup with Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars fielded by Absolute Racing. Audi race cars will be seen in two sets of events at Macau this year: the Macau GT Cup and the Audi R8 LMS Cup. The 2013 Macau GT Cup is the premiere GT event at the Macau Grand Prix and also features the finale of the 2013 GT Asia Series season. The entry list includes seven Audi R8 LMS / ultra cars. Edoardo Mortara will be leading the Audi Sport customer racing squad in the #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra, entered under the name of Audi R8 LMS Cup, run by Absolute Racing. The Audi R8 LMS Cup will also be racing at Macau, hosting its season finale on the famous street circuit. A total of twenty Audi R8 LMS cars, all run and prepared by Absolute Racing, will be lining up on the grid. Most of the notable regular drivers are listed on the entry list, along with a number of additions. Edoardo Mortara will be driving the #5 Brothers Racing Team (BRT) Audi R8 LMS. Mortara has previously competed in the series, when he dominated the final round of the 2012 season at Shanghai last year. Other notable additions this weekend include: Rahel Frey, Philip Ma and Francis Hideki Onda.

LMS Engineering made an announcement regarding 2014 on their Facebook page during the week. They announced that they are planning to run two Audi TT RS race cars in the SP3T class of the VLN during 2014. Both cars will be featuring their two litre five cylinder engines, which allow them to compete in the smaller capacity SP3T class.

Melbourne Performance Centre has announced the 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour driver line-up for the Rod Salmon Audi R8 LMS ultra. The #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra will be driven by Rod Salmon, Warren Luff, Liam Talbot and Jason Bright. This entry is being described as an entry which is going for outright victory.

DragonSpeed headed to the Circuit of the Americas for post-season testing with their Audi R8 LMS ultra, as they prepare for the 2014 season. Their Audi R8 LMS ultra was seen in its plain black carbon fibre finish.

GMG Racing tested their Audi S4 Competition this weekend. The team has been working to prepare the car for its possible race debut. This is one of the ex-Champion Racing Audi S4 Competition cars, which were seen in the SCCA World Challenge from 2000-2004.

3. Next Weekend’s events (19-20/10/2013)

  •           FIA WEC
  •           DTM
  •           Dutch Supercar Challenge
  •           Italian GT
  •           STT
  •           RCN
  •           Cup und Tourenwagen Trophy
  •           Slovakia Cup
  •           NSW
  •           TSF
  •           Dover

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