Saturday, December 28, 2013

GT Open: Audi teams 2013 season review

By Johan Laubscher

Team Novadriver fielded a two-car team in the 2013 Spanish IBER GT Championship, which coincided with three of the International GT Open rounds. They were also joined by Belgian Audi Club Team WRT's R8 LMS ultra that contested the final round of the year.

The season review has been compiled from the 2013 Audi Motorsport Blog Weekend Round Up posts. Each round has been added as was seen in the individual Weekend Round Up posts during 2013, which can be accessed via the links throughout the review below:

Round 2: Portimão

Team Novadriver competed in the Spanish IBER GT Championship this weekend. Round one of the Spanish GT was run together with round two of the International GT Open at Portimao. The team was fast in the sessions and qualified on the GTS (GT3 class) pole for race one. Novadriver took victory in the GTS class for both the Spanish GT and GT Open in race one, also achieving third place overall. The team unfortunately suffered a difficult race two with a DNF and a twenty-third place finish.

Round 4: Jerez

The second round for the Spanish IBER GT Championship at Jerez once again coincided with a round of the International GT Open, this being round four. Team Novadriver entered the event with their two-car Audi R8 LMS ultra team. They competed well during the red-flag affected first race. In the end they finished fifth overall with the #81, second in the GTS and Spanish GT category, whilst their teammates finished in eleventh overall. Race two saw the #80 Audi finishing third overall and second amongst the GTS competitors, but they did take the win within the Spanish GT category. Their teammates in the #81 had a hard race and finished in thirteenth.

Round 8: Catalunya

The International GT Open season concluded at Circuit de Catalunya this weekend. Two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were entered for the GT Open finale. The GT Open finale was held alongside the finale of the Spanish IBER GT Championship, with both series running together on track. 

Both championships are split into two categories: the SGT class for GTE specification vehicles and GTS for GT3 specification vehicles. Three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were on the grid, of which two were GT Open entrants. 

The first car was from Team Novadriver, who had entered their #81 Audi R8 LMS ultra in GT Open with drivers Cesar Campanico and GT Open GTS class (GT3) title hopeful, Rafael Hideo Suzuki. This #81 car was also entered for the Spanish IBER GT. Team Novadriver also entered a second Audi in the event, but this #80 car was only entered in the Spanish IBER GT class. Team Novadriver was aiming for the Spanish IBER GT title and Suzuki was aiming to become the GT Open GTS champion. The second GT Open entered car was entered by Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, the #88 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Filipe Albuquerque and Yves Weerts. 

Qualifying for race one saw the #81 of Campanico and Suzuki taking seventh on the overall combined grid. Thus they took seventh overall within the GT Open and second in the GT Open GTS (GT3) class. The #88 WRT Audi qualified way back in the field by taking thirty-fifth overall. 

The first race was held late on Saturday and concluded with the #81 Audi R8 LMS ultra finishing fourth overall within the combined standings. They took third place within the GT Open GTS class. The WRT Audi was running at the back of the field, but Albuquerque was able to recover during his stint and the #88 WRT Audi finished in twenty-eighth place. 

Qualifying for race two saw the #81 Audi in ninth place overall in the combined results. This was a sixth place starting position within the Open GT GTS class. The #88 WRT Audi qualified eighteenth overall. 

The second and final race got underway on Sunday. This final race of 2013 again saw the #81 R8 LMS ultra as the highest placed Audi finisher. Campanico and Suzuki finished seventeenth overall, after a huge time handicap penalty during the pitstop. They finished thirteenth within the GT Open GTS class. Unfortunately Suzuki lost out on the GT Open GTS title. The #88 WRT Audi finished further back in twenty-second position overall. This weekend concluded the 2013 International GT Open season.

Photo credit: Team Novadriver