Sunday, October 27, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (26-27/10/2013)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 26 - 27 October 2013

2. The Events

  •           VLN
  •           Audi R8 LMS Cup
  •           GT Tour
  •           V de V
  •           VSCRC
  •           Superstars
  •           SVRA
  •           JDRC Heroes of Speed (21 Oct)
  •           Curbstone Track Events
  •           Bördesprint Cup 

2.1. VLN

The 2013 VLN Endurance Championship came to a close at the Nürburgring this weekend. Many Audi teams competed and performed very well with more victories. A total of nine Audis were entered. The SP9 class (GT3) included three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. The #44 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Twin Busch Motorsport was back after their victory at the previous round with Marc and Dennis Busch. They were joined by a two-car entry from Phoenix Racing. The #15 Audi R8 LMS ultra was driven by Frank Stippler, Ferdinand Stuck and Johannes Stuck, and their #37 entry by Marc Basseng, Laurens Vanthoor and Christian Mamerow. Four Audi Sport customer racing / Raeder developed Audi TT RS cars were entered. One of these cars was entered in the SP4T class, the #249 entry with Robb Holland, Ng Charles and 2012 WTCC champion, Rob Huff. The remaining three TT RS cars were all entered in the SP3T class: the #331 from Raeder Motorsport, the #334 from Møller Bil Motorsport and the #290. Two more Audi TTS cars were also entered in SP3T. Qualifying saw an Audi on pole position. The #37 Audi R8 LMS ultra took pole with Marc Basseng behind the wheel, followed by the #15 Phoenix Audi in third. Twin Busch Motorsport qualified sixteenth with their #44 R8 LMS ultra. Rotek Racing took pole in the SP4T class and Raeder Motorsport took pole in SP3T, with Rotek and Raeder placing seventeenth and eighteenth overall respectively. The race itself got underway with tricky wet conditions, but it soon began to dry. Phoenix Racing led from the front with the #37 Audi. By the end of the four hours the #37 Phoenix Racing crew brought their Audi across the line for victory at the final 2013 VLN race. They were followed by the #44 Twin Busch Motorsport Audi R8 LMS ultra in fourth place. The #15 Phoenix Racing Audi finished twenty-fifth, after losing time in the pits, whilst they had been battling up at the front of the race. The #290 TT RS took the SP3T victory and Rotek Racing was the highest placed SP4T runner, despite retiring from the race. This VLN round concluded the 2013 VLN Endurance Championship, a season which saw class and overall race victories for the Audi teams.

2.2. Audi R8 LMS Cup

The Audi R8 LMS Cup held its fifth and penultimate meeting at Shanghai this weekend. A total of twenty Audi R8 LMS cars took part, all prepared and fielded by Absolute Racing. Rahel Frey made her return to the series this weekend. Alex Yoong arrived at the event as the overall championship leader and he continued his good form. Yoong won both races at Sepang last time out and he qualified on pole for the first race at Shanghai. The grid for race one saw Yoong ahead of Rahel Frey and Marchy Lee. The first race concluded with Yoong getting his hat-trick, by winning ahead of Adderly Fong  and Franky Cheng Congfu. The second race again saw Alex Yoong starting from pole. Rahel Frey came home to win the second race in Shanghai, taking victory ahead of Alex Yoong and Marchy Lee. Yoong remains in the lead of the championship points.

2.3. GT Tour

Paul Ricard played host to the French GT Tour finale this weekend. A total of six Audi cars were entered. Sainteloc entered four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars and Team Speed Car entered one R8 LMS ultra and one older R8 LMS. The fourth Sainteloc car was the #43 Audi R8 LMS ultra, a once-off entry which included Stephane Ortelli as one of the drivers. The #009 Team Speed Car R8 LMS was on site, but did not take part. Qualifying for the first race only had one Audi within the top ten, with the #43 Sainteloc car placing tenth. The grid for race two saw two Audis within the top ten, as the #43 and #82 Sainteloc cars qualified ninth and tenth respectively. The first race got underway on Saturday and concluded with Team Speed Car as the highest Audi in fourth with their #36 Audi R8 LMS ultra. Two Audis made it into the top ten, as the #82 Sainteloc car finished eighth. The second and final race was very hard for the Audi teams. Only four cars started the race, as the #42 Sainteloc car did not take part. Only one of the four cars finished the race. The #83 Sainteloc Audi R8 LMS ultra finished twenty-first, whilst all three of the remaining cars retired.

2.4. V de V

The sixth and penultimate V de V Endurance Series round was held at Magny-Cours this weekend. A single Audi R8 LMS was entered by AB Sport Auto. The team has been a regular entrant in the 2013 V de V season. They have entered their #46 Audi R8 LMS at five of the six rounds, driven by Harry Teneketzian, Julien Jousse and Grégoire Chaix. The trio were back at Magny-Cours this weekend, after having missed round five at Motorland Aragon. They were entered in the GTV-2 class for older GT3 machinery. Qualifying saw the trio achieving second place within GTV-2, taking ninth place overall. The six hour race got underway on Sunday morning heading into the late afternoon. The AB Sport Auto squad was running solidly inside of the top ten, until they unfortunately lost a lot of time in the pits, dropping to fifteenth. They then recovered up to fourteenth before they unfortunately retired from the race at just over half distance. They were listed as a non-finisher in seventeenth overall.

2.5. VSCRC

Round four of the Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships (VSCRC) took place at Phillip Island this weekend, it was the finale of this Australian series. Melbourne Performance Centre took part with customer Audi R8 LMS cars. Melbourne Performance Centre had been seen testing Audi R8 LMS cars for two new customers in recent weeks. The two cars are for two new customers, Robert Marshall and Steven McLaughlan. They took part in various test sessions at Phillip Island, where Robert Marshall unfortunately rolled his #22 MPC Audi R8 LMS a few weeks ago, but it was repaired. Three cars were entered for the fourth VSCRC round: the #75 R8 LMS of McLaughlan (JAMEC PEM Racing), the #22 R8 LMS of Marshall (PIARC), and the #79 R8 LMS of Ockert Fourie (Ockert Fourie Dental), who had debuted his green R8 LMS in the VSCRC earlier in the year. Robert Marshall was on the entry list and overall results, but he did not take part in the races this weekend. The Audi R8 LMS cars were entered in the VSCRC Sports Cars class. During qualifying McLaughlan achieved a front row starting position, by qualifying in second place, followed by Fourie in twenty-second. The first race concluded with Steven McLaughlan finishing third, taking a podium on his debut with his Audi. Ockert Fourie recovered up to seventeenth position. The second and final race saw victory going to Steven McLaughlan in his #75 Audi R8 LMS. He won the race convincingly and also took the overall win for the weekend. Ockert Fourie finished eleventh and placed fourteenth overall for the weekend.

2.6. Superstars

The Superstars Series was at Franciacorta this weekend. The International Superstars Series, featured on tracks in various European countries, concluded at Vallelunga two weekends ago, when Gianni Morbidelli was crowned as the champion. There is also an Italian Superstars Series, which is comprised of all the Italian venues visited by the Series. This Italian series component of the Superstars hosted its final round at Franciacorta this weekend. Gianni Morbidelli was once again in the think of the title fight, as he arrived lying second in the points, trailing Vitantonio Liuzzi by only four points. Audi Sport Italia entered two cars this weekend, Gianni Morbidelli was joined by Ermanno Dionisio, who was making his return to the Audi Sport Italia team. Morbidelli dominated practice, setting the fastest time during both sessions, followed by Dionisio in second and fourth in the two sessions respectively. Gianni Morbidelli continued his good pace by taking pole position, backed up by Dionisio on the second row. Race one saw Morbidelli taking victory and the points lead. Dionisio finished third in race one, ensuring that both Audis were on the podium. The weekend was concluded by Morbidell taking the second race win as well, leading an Audi 1-2 with Dionisio in second. These results meant that Morbidell added the 2013 Italian Superstars crown to his International crown as well.

2.7. SVRA

The SVRA hosted the U.S. Vintage Racing National Championships at the Circuit of The Americas this weekend. It was the first event of its kind at the new circuit. A massive entry list was present at the event, including one Audi. The Audi R8 (#606) of Travis Engen was entered. The car is prepared and run by GMT Racing.

2.8. JDRC Heroes of Speed (21 Oct)

The Heroes of Speed was hosted in Jamaica on Monday, 21 October. It was the scene for the return of Doug Gore and the ATL Automotive ABT-Audi TT-R. The Dover circuit in Jamaica hosted the Heroes of Speed race meeting. This event was held over the long public holiday Heroes Day weekend and featured the final round of the Jamaica Race Drivers Club (JRDC) 2013 Circuit Racing Championship. It was the scene for the long-awaited return of Doug Gore and the ABT-Audi TT-R. The team had competed in the Jamaican and Caribbean series earlier this year, before they withdrew from recent Dover events due to a protest made by the team. The protest was regarding tyre allocation regulations, specifically the number of tyres allowed to be used during a race meeting. Despite the absence at the previous event, the ATL team was back on Monday and aimed to continue their unbeaten run in 2013. Doug Gore was entered in the Thundersport Two (TS2) and Modified Production Four (MP4) classes. All of the main Jamaican motorsport protagonists were present, including Doug Gore in the Audi facing off against David Summerbell’s Mitsubishi, an ex-Time Attack car, and Peter Rae’s Mazda. Much excitement and press surrounded the duo of Gore and Summerbell, as it was the first time in months that these two giants of Jamaican motorsport were on track together again. Both were aiming for victory and the Dover lap record. Qualifying got the day’s proceedings underway early on Monday morning. Doug Gore took pole position in the MP4 and TS2 classes, with a fastest time of 1:18.095, just under two seconds faster than David Summerbell. Summerbell suffered a turbo failure during qualifying, but the car was repaired in time for the first MP4 race, starting from pitlane. Doug Gore led at the front, whilst Summerbell had recovered up to fourth, before suffering another mechanical issue. Up front Doug Gore dominated the MP4 race and took his first victory of the day. Both Gore and Summerbell were not on the grid for the second MP4 race, which was won by Andre Anderson. They opted to focus on the Thundersport race, which was the finale at the end of the race day. The Thundersport race was held late on Monday afternoon and both Gore and Summerbell were on track. With ever decreasing light the race got underway. Gore led from the front, perused by a fast charging Summerbell, who had progressed well through the field. Summerbell managed to pass Gore into the first corner during the fourth lap and then the brief chase began. Gore was pushing very hard and clipped a wall on his left in the “Pinky's Bluff” section of the circuit, just a few corners later, causing a puncture and a subsequent spin, resulting in damage to the left rear of the Audi. The race was red flagged after only three completed laps and Doug Gore was classified in first place, as he had led the penultimate lap before the red flag.

2.9. Curbstone Track Events

Curbstone Track Events hosted a track day at Spa on Saturday. A large number of cars took part, including the blue/white Audi R8 LMS ultra that has been seen at recent Curbstone events. The car is prepared and run by WRT for their customer/owner of the vehicle.

Curbstone Track Events FB page

2.10. Bördesprint Cup 

Round eight of the Bördesprint Cup was held at Oschersleben this weekend. Rotary Motorsport IG entered their Audi R8 LMS ultra for Berthold Gruhn. He finished second during race one and fourth in race two.

2.11. Other Audi News

The DTM celebration continued on Wednesday. Mike Rockenfeller was in Neckarsulm, taking part in post-DTM season celebrations. Rocky and his #19 Phoenix Racing Audi RS 5 DTM were on display in Neckarsulm, with many PR activities and victory laps around the Audi Neckarsulm facilities. The newly crowned champion was also on hand to sign autographs inside of Audi Forum Neckarsulm. The celebrations were organised in order to say thank you to all of the Audi Sport staff responsible for the developed at Audi Sport in Neckarsulm.  It has been a terrific year for Audi in the DTM, as the drivers’ and teams’ titles were returned to the family of the Four Rings, with Rocky and Phoenix Racing as the champions.

Mike Rockenfeller has been voted as the ADAC Motorsportsman of the Year 2013. The newly crowned DTM champion has had a tremendous year and this prestigious award just adds even more success to his great 2013 season.

W Racing Team will be competing at the final of the International GT Open in November. Filipe Albuquerque announced this, along with the fact that he will be one of the WRT drivers at the event, via his Facebook page on Tuesday.

Audi Sport Club Italia had a display at the Auto e Moto D'epoca show in Italy this weekend. Their display included a very special tribute to one of Audi’s legendary race drivers. This is the fifth year that Audi Sport Club Italia had attended the show with a display of Audi cars. They normally attend the show with a theme. Last year it was a rally theme and this year their display was a tribute to a legendary Italian Audi race driver, none other than, Rinaldo Capello. Four race cars were on display, all of which were driven by Capello. Audi Sport Italia provided three of the cars. The first two cars included the 1994 Audi 80 Competition and the 1998 Audi A4 STW, which were driven by Rinaldo Capello in the Italian Super Touring Championship. The third car was the Audi R8 LMS ultra which Capello drove during the 2013 Italian GT season, the car was displayed next to an Audi R8 V10 plus road car. Capello’s 2012 Sebring 12 Hours winning Audi R18 TDI was the fourth car on display, the car that now resides at one of Capello’s Audi dealerships in Italy.

Dindo Capello was also at the Auto e Moto D'epoca show in Italy this weekend. He was seen at the Audi Sport Club Italia stand, signing autographs for the fans.

Doug Gore has announced that his incident at Dover on Monday had not caused any substantial damage. The car suffered bodywork damage, but all of the mechanical components were intact. The team has repaired the car and prepared it for its shipment to Guyana. The car left Jamaica on Friday, heading to the third and final round of the Carribean Motor Racing Championhip (CMRC), which will be held in Guyana in November.

The Istook’s Motosports Audi TT RS was on display at the Audi Fort Worth Dealership in Texas. This is the #01 Audi TT RS which competed in the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge with Don Istook behind the wheel.

The 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show took place in South Africa during this past week. Engen has a very nice display at the stand, along with Terry Moss Racing who are sponsored by Engen. Terry Moss Racing and Engen Xtreme had a number of Audi related components present as part of their display at the show. The Engen stand was housed inside of the allied industry hall at the show, hall nine. Outside of the hall there was a Terry Moss Racing / Engen Xtreme show car on display. It is a show car based on the team’s older Audi A4 B7 3.2 quattro race cars which use to compete in the South African Bridgestone Production Car Championship. A very intriguing lights display was on offer at the Engen stand. A white 1:1 half Audi S4 model was part of the lights display, which displayed various images on the car during a video clip, depicting the Audi S4 livery of Michael Stephen’s Audi S4 race car. A video of the lights feature can be seen HERE. Current championship points leader, Michael Stephen, was also on hand the Engen and official Audi South Africa stands this week, to autograph posters for race fans. This begins a very big and busy week for Stephen as he travels home to Port Elizabeth on Sunday, only to return to Johannesburg later in the week for the finale of the South African Bridgestone Production Car Championship at Kyalami next weekend, where he is poised to take his third consecutive Class A drivers’ title.

Three of the four South African Audi S4 race drivers were at the 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show. Michael Stephen, Gennaro Bonafede and Melvill Priest were signing posters at the official Audi South Africa stand.

United Autosports held a special VIP event at Jerez this week. A variety of United Autosport’s race cars were on site, including the team’s Audi R8 LMS ultra, which competed in the 2013 British GT Championship. It was a client corporate day held by United Autosports.

The finale of the 2013 International GT Open will be taking place in Barcelona in two weeks time. W Racing Team (WRT) has already been mentioned as an entrant, with Filipe Albuquerque as one of their R8 LMS ultra drivers. Another entry has been mentioned this week. Team Novadriver will be fielding their two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars at the event, which also includes the Spanish IBER GT Championship.

3. Next Weekend’s events (2-3/11/2013)

  •           SA Production Cars
  •           Britcar
  •           MSS
  •           Brazilian GT
  •           Super GT

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