By Tarek Ramchani
The FIA GT Series will have the season finale in Azerbaijan this upcoming weekend. The event called Baku World Challenge will host no less than 28 GT3 cars from some of the best European teams around. Audi will be represented by six Audi R8 LMS ultra cars and will target strong performances and wins in the two 1-hour sprint races.
Leading the Audi squad this year in FIA GT Series is the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. The team managed by Vincent Vosse will have four cars at Baku. WRT competed this year with three cars in all previous rounds, the #11 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor, the #12 Audi R8 LMS ultra of René Rastand Niki Mayr Melnhof and the #13 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Frank Stippler and Edward Sandström. The fourth car will be the #18 Audi R8 LMS ultra and will be shared by Audi factory driver Filipe Albuquerque and Grégoire Demoustier from France. At Baku battle will rage between the WRT Audi drivers for the title, Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor leading overall but only 7 points ahead of their teammates Frank Stippler and Edward Sandström. In the previous rounds there were no team orders at team WRT and all three cars battled each other very hard on track for wins, positions and big points.
Phoenix Racing is back to FIA GT Series after missing the last two rounds of Slovakia Ring and Navarra. The German team will have a single Audi R8 LMS ultra at Baku for Enzo Ide and the fast Markus Winkelhock. The #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra is listed within the upper Pro-Cup class and will try hard to achieve strong performances after some hard moments all season long in the SRO organized series.
The sixth Audi R8 LMS ultra is from Team Novadriver. Unlike WRT and Phoenix, the Novadriver entry is competing in the Pro-Am class with one of the strongest lineups within the class. The #14 car will be shared by team manager/driver Cesar Campaniço and Michael Ammermüller. The two drivers performed very well last time out at Navarra and will target class honors at Baku.
Baku World Challenge will be the last ever event for the short lived FIA GT Series. Next year the series will change the name into Blancpain GT Sprint.
Photo credit: FIA GT Series