Friday, December 20, 2013

VSCRC: Audi teams 2013 season review

By Johan Laubscher

Melbourne Performance Centre had a very busy 2013, as they fielded Audi R8 LMS cars in the Australian GT Championship and various regional events. 

The regional participation included the Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships (VSCRC) and the NSW Motor Race Championship. They competed in three of the VSCRC rounds and one of the NSW rounds, as well as the year-ending Island Magic event with the CUE Victorian Tourist Trophy for Sports Cars.

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:

VSCRC Round 2: Sandown Raceway

Melbourne Performance Centre entered two cars in the Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships. It was round two of the series held at Sandown. Rod Salmon competed in the #66 R8 LMS ultra and Audi newcomer, Ockert Fourie, competed in his #79 R8 LMS. Salmon qualified on pole and finished well during the races. He did not win any races, but he was classified as the overall winner for the day on aggregate.

VSCRC Round 3: Sandown Raceway

Round three of the Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships (VSCRC) was held at Sandown in Australia. The Rod Salmon Audi R8 LMS ultra was entered by Melbourne Performance Centre. Salmon qualified fourth and finished races one to three in third, seventh and seventh respectively. He was classified sixth overall for the weekend.

VSCRC Round 4: Phillip Island

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.

NSW Round 3: Sydney Motorsport Park

Melbourne Performance Centre was at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend, taking part in the third NSW Motor Race Championship round. Two MPC Audi cars were entered in the Production Sports Car category: the R8 LMS ultra of Rod Salmon and the R8 LMS of Dean Koustoumidis. This was the first weekend that the Koustoumidis Equity-One Motorsport R8 LMS was run by MPC, following a switch from Minda Motorsport. They used this weekend as preparation for the next Australian GT round, which will be held at SMP. The two Audis qualified 1-2 with Salmon on Pole. The Audi 1-2 was maintained during the first two races, with Rod Salmon taking victory in races one and three, and Koustoumidis winning race two.

Island Magic: Victorian Tourist Trophy

The annual Island Magic event was held at Phillip Island this weekend. One Audi R8 LMS took part in the CUE Sports Cars category and won the CUE Victorian Tourist Trophy for Sports Cars on Sunday.

Steven McLaughlan, one of Melbourne Performance Centre’s newest R8 LMS customers, was entered for the CUE Sports Cars races at the Island Magic this weekend. He was behind the wheel of his #76 Jamec Pem Racing Audi R8 LMS, the same car that he used to win the 2013 Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships sports cars title at the final round a few weeks ago, and the same car which he will be campaigning in the 2014 Australian GT Championship.

During qualifying McLaughlan achieved two sets of top four positions. He qualified third during the first session and fourth during the second session, placing sixth in the combined qualifying standings.

The first race of the weekend was split into two five lap races on Saturday, where the two drivers from each car took part in the two races individually, before they shared the car for the one-hour race on Sunday. Some of the vehicles only had one entered driver and in this case that driver completed both races on Saturday and the one-hour race on Sunday. Steven McLaughlan was one of these cases and he piloted his R8 LMS to victory in the first five lap race and took second position in the second race.

The main feature race, the Cue Sports Cars Island Magic one-hour event (CUE Victorian Tourist Trophy for Sports Cars), was held on Sunday. Steven McLaughlan was able to repeat his victory from Saturday, as he won the one-hour race on Sunday. McLaughlan thus added this race victory to his two championship titles from 2013: the 2013 Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships sports cars title (Viper and Audi) and his 2013 Australian GT Championship GT Trophy title (Viper).

This victory also marked the second triumph for an Audi R8 LMS in the CUE Victorian Tourist Trophy for Sports Cars, as Mark Eddy also won the event back in 2010, behind the wheel of his Penfold Audi R8 LMS.

Taken from Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (30/11 - 01/12/2013)

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