Sunday, December 1, 2013

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

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 30 Nov - 1 Dec 2013

2. The Events

  •           FIA WEC
  •           Island Magic
  •           Ascari Track Day
  •           Midas Clubmans
  •           Zwartkops Extreme Festival
  •           FARA

2.1. FIA WEC

The FIA World Endurance Championship held the eighth and final round in Bahrain this weekend. Two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars from Audi Sport Team Joest faced off against two Toyota TS030 Hybrid cars.

Both the LMP1 manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships had been won in favour of Audi before the final round, thus the race in Bahrain was a straight fight between Audi and Toyota with no championships at stake.

The first free practice session got proceedings underway on Thursday afternoon. The ninety minute session concluded with the two Audis being sandwiched between the two Toyotas. Toyota #7 set the fastest time during the first free practice session, leading the two Audis ahead of their teammates in the #8 Toyota. Audi #1 was the leading R18 e-tron quattro car in second place, with drivers Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Treluyer. Audi #2 was third fastest with the newly crowned LMP1 world champions of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loïc Duval.

The second session again saw Toyota leading the way at the front, but the interval between first and fourth had decreased. A total of 1.959 seconds split the top four during the first free practice session and this had come down to a mere 0.292 seconds covering the same four cars during the second session. The #8 Toyota was fastest this time, leading the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro. The top four was rounded out with the #7 Toyota in third and the #2 Audi in fourth.

The Toyota/Audi/Toyota/Audi order from the second free practice was reversed on Friday morning, as Audi #2 set the fastest time during the third and final free practice session. They were followed by the #8 Toyota in second and Audi #1 in third, ahead of the fourth placed #7 Toyota.

Qualifying was a front row lockout for Toyota and Audi was relegated to the second row of the grid, with Audi #1 qualifying in third, followed by Audi #2 in fourth. Toyota #7 had taken pole ahead of their teammates in Toyota #8.

The race got underway with the two Toyotas taking control and building a gap at the front, with the two Audis following behind them. Audi #2 with Kristensen behind the wheel was the leading Audi and Audi #1 with Treluyer was dropping back during the first stint. Audi #1 was also involved in spinning a GTE Ferrari and they received a warning for the occurrence. 

Toyota continued to lead with a 1-2 at the front with the two Audis trailing behind them. The second placed #7 Toyota unfortunately suffered retirement due to a mechanical issue. This promoted the Audis into the top three, Audi #2 leading Audi #1, the pair running behind the leading #8 Toyota.

The top three continued to circulate within a thirty second time bracket, but just before halfway the #2 Audi came to a halt and retired on the circuit, thus promoting the #1 Audi into second, half a minute behind the leading #8 Toyota. The #1 Audi was later given a drive-through penalty for passing under yellow, thus dropping them even further behind the #8 Toyota.

The race at the front of the LMP1 field came down to just the #8 Toyota and the #1 Audi, with the positions remaining the same to the flag. Toyota won the final FIA WEC race of the year, followed by Audi #1 driven by Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Treluyer.

It was a great 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship season. Audi won the Le Mans 24 Hours, the FIA WEC LMP1 manufacturers’ title and the drivers’ title with the #2 Audi crew of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loïc Duval.

2.2. Island Magic

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.

2.3. Ascari Track Day

Raeder Motorsport are regulars taking part in track days with their two Audi R8 LMS ultra race cars. They were seen at the first winter track day at Ascari in Spain this weekend. The team has one 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra (silver) and their 2012 specification Audi R8 LMS ultra (green/white), which competed in the 2012 VLN Endurance Series.

2.4. Midas Clubmans

The Midas Clubmans were in action at Killarney in Cape Town. This Western Cape based championship saw one Audi entered this weekend. The #8 Audi A4 of Andre Johnson qualified in second position and repeated that result in races one and two, which was enough to secure the overall victory for the day. Johnson was driving his ex-Terry Moss Racing national Class A vehicle. There were also Audi cars taking part in the classic car categories at Killarney this weekend.

2.5. Zwartkops Extreme Festival

Zwartkops Raceway in South Africa hosted their final 2013 Extreme Festival this weekend. A number of categories took part. Audi cars were seen in the Extreme Supercars and Superhatch categories. Pierre Lubbe was behind the wheel of an Audi A3 in Superhatch and Mark du Toit was behind the wheel of the #38 Audi A4 in the Extreme Supercars. This Audi A4 is an ex-Terry Moss Racing national Class A vehicle.

2.6. FARA

The FARA USA series held the Miami 500 at Homestead Miami Speedway. Ansa Motorsports entered a number of race cars. The 2006 Audi A4 DTM R12 plus of Eric Johnson was also at the event.

2.7. Other Audi News

It has been revealed that Audi will reveal a glimpse of their 2014 LMP1 challenger on Sunday next week, December eighth. “Exactly eight days after the season’s finale, World Endurance Champion Audi will provide an initial glimpse of the future of its LMP sports car.” Audi Sport’s official Facebook page has stated that the glimpse will premiere via their Facebook page.

GMG Racing had been mentioned as possible 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship entrants and the news broke this week that they will be fielding at least one Audi R8 LMS next year.

GMG Racing has been a leading Audi team in North America, fielding multiple cars in the Pirelli World Challenge. News has emerged that GMG Racing will be entering a new program in 2014, continuing their relationship with Audi Sport customer racing.

The GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS will be driven by Alex Welch and James Sofronas, with more drivers yet to be confirmed. The full details of the program have not yet been announced, but more information regarding the project and their participation/entry, will be announced by the team.

GMG Racing will be joining three other Audi teams who have already committed to the 2014 TUSC season. Those teams include Flying Lizard Motorsports’ two car entry, along with single car entries from both Fall-Line Motorsports and Paul Miller Racing.

It is great to see the TUSC Audi Sport customer racing family continuing to expand, especially with an existing Audi team as strong as GMG Racing.

The new 2014 Audi Tradition calendar was released this week. With “RaceSeries” as its title the new calendar includes beautiful images of legendary Audi race cars.

The annual Essen Motor Show kicked off this weekend and many Audi race cars are represented at the event. It is wonderful to see Audi being well represented at the Essen Motor Show. DTM displays were on site, as well as the 2013 DTM champion, Mike Rockenfeller, who was signing autographs at the Eibach Federn, DTM and displays on Friday. Fellow Audi Sport drivers Adrien Tambay, Jamie Green and Filipe Albuquerque will also be at the show on specific days during the event running from 11 November to 8 December. Three Audi RS 5 DTM cars wearing Rocky's 2013 DTM winning livery were on display, two race cars and one show car.

Fabian Wiedl

The Essen Motor Show also included a display featuring the Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline pit area, which housed one of the Red Bull liveried Audi RS 5 DTM cars alongside one of the DTM chassis'.

Fabian Wiedl

A DTM championship winners display at the Essen Motor Show included a number of championship winning DTM vehicles, including seven Audi cars: 1990 #44 Audi V8 quattro DTM of Hans-Joachim Stuck, 1991 #45 Audi V8 quattro DTM Evolution of Frank Biela, 2002 #3 ABT-Audi TT-R of Laurent Aiello, 2004 #5 Audi A4 DTM R11 of Mattias Ekström, 2007 #3 Audi A4 DTM R13 of Mattias Ekström, 2008 #10 Audi A4 DTM R14 of Timo Scheider and the 2011 #14 Audi A4 DTM R14 of Martin Tomczyk.

Fabian Wiedl

Raeder Motorsport’s #331 Audi TT RS is on display at the Essen Motor Show. This vehicle competes in the SP3T class of the VLN Endurance Championship.

Prosperia C.ABT Racing has one of their Audi R8 LMS ultra cars on display at the Essen Motor Show. Their #28 Audi from the ADAC GT Masters is on display.

Münnich Motorsport completed a test in Sosnova, Czech Republic, this week. They released a new testing video on Monday, which was a short clip from their recent test. The team is continuing to develop their first Audi A3/S3 Supercar category prototype vehicle whilst they are busy building their primary car, which will compete in the 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship. The video can be seen HERE

United Autosports’ Matthew Bell and Mark Patterson received their trophies at the SRO awards evening this weekend. The pair finished second in the 2013 British GT Championship, a title which they lost by only a mere 1.5 points.

3. Next Weekend’s events (7-8/12/2013)

  •           25 Hours of Thunderhill

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