Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (14-15/12/2013)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 14 - 15 December 2013

2. The Events

  •           Gulf 12 Hours

2.1. Gulf 12 Hours

The year is drawing to a close and the motorsport events are becoming less frequent. With few races taking place this weekend we have included a look at the Gulf 12 Hours, which was held this weekend.

Two Audi Sport customer racing teams were included on various versions of the entry list. Originally United Autosports were included with their R8 LMS ultra on the first draft of the entry list, but they withdrew their entry. The second draft of the entry list included DragonSpeed and their R8 LMS ultra, but they also later withdrew their entry and no Audi R8 LMS ultra cars took part this weekend.

However, on a Volkswagen Group related note, the Gulf 12 Hours was the GT3 debut event for one of Audi’s sister brands within the Volkswagen Group, Bentley. The new Bentley Continental GT3 had its race debut at the Gulf 12 Hours, run on the Yas Marina Circuit in the United Arab Emirates.

The #7 Bentley Continental GT3 was driven by Guy Smith, Steven Kane and Andy Meyrick. They showed good pace and qualified fifth.

The race itself was split into two halves of six hours each. Team M-Sport Bentley finished third during the first six hour race, one lap down from the leaders. The Bentley team continued their good form and finished fourth in the final classification after the second six hour race, completing the Gulf 12 Hours after fighting for third all day long.

2.2. Other Audi News

The first new Audi R18 e-tron quattro photo was released by Audi Sport on Sunday last week. On Thursday Audi Sport released an additional thirteen photos along with a press release containing details about the new car. These new photos came one day after the first spy photos from the Sebring test this week began appearing online. The official Audi press release of the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro can be seen HERE. The new press photos can be seen HERE.

Audi also released a new wave of pre-launch Audi R18 e-tron quattro videos this weekend. The first video, titled “Speed,” was released on Friday and included various brief glimpses of the new car. The world premiere of the new R18 e-tron quattro has now also been confirmed as 18 December, next Wednesday. The video can be seen HERE

The second pre-launch video was titled as “Performance” and it was released on Saturday. The video can be seen HERE

Audi released another five Audi R18 e-tron quattro videos, which included one studio video and four interviews. The interviews included Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Oliver Jarvis, Lucas di Grassi and Chris Reinke. The studio video can be seen HERE and the interviews HERE.

Mike Rockenfeller, the 2013 DTM champion, will be returning to the DTM in 2014 to defend his 2013 title. He will again be behind the wheel of the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM.

Phoenix Racing will be returning to Bathurst in February, for their third consecutive Bathurst 12 Hour. They will again be fielding one Audi R8 LMS ultra. The team won the race with a 1-2 finish in 2012 and finished fourth at the 2013 event. Phoenix Racing will be one of six Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars on the grid, based on the current entry list. They will be joining Absolute Racing, United Autosports and Melbourne Performance Centre (Rod Salmon, Mark Eddy / Marc Cini and Equity-One Motorsport).

United Autosports has completed their preparation ahead of the 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour and their Audi R8 LMS ultra has begun its journey to Australia.

Møller Bil Motorsport has announced that they will be returning to the VLN Endurance Series in 2014. They will be contesting six of the events with their SP3T class Audi TT RS. Their drivers will include Håkon Schjærin, Atle Gulbrandsen and Kenneth Østvold. The team’s mechanics are from various Møller Bil dealerships in Norway.

Official test days were held at Paul Ricard in France this week. WRT were present with their Audi R8 LMS ultra and took part in the testing. Many of the brands were represented at the tests, which focused on the performance and reliability of the new 2014 Pirelli tyres set for the GT series. Stephane Ortelli was on hand to support WRT, driving the plain black WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra.

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT was very busy this week, taking part in two sets of two-day tests at Paul Ricard in France and at Navarra in Spain.

The team had one Audi R8 LMS ultra at Paul Ricard for the official 2014 Pirelli tyre test sessions this week. They were also at Navarra for winter testing ahead of the 2014 Blancpain GT Sprint Series.

A number of drivers were present with WRT at Navarra. It has been mentioned that Laurens Vanthoor, Roman Rusinov and Polish driver, Mateusz Lisowski, were among the drivers at the test. Vanthoor set the fastest time for WRT and he was followed by Rusinov and Lisowski, all three were only separated by 0.3 of a second.

The 2013 season may be over, but it is certainly very exciting to see the 2014 season already picking up speed with winter testing and news.

Audi has released the third edition of the annual Audi Sport customer racing yearbook. The book includes a look at the 2013 season of Audi’s customer teams from all over the world. The book can be ordered online HERE.

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship liveried Audi R8 LMS was on display at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI 2013) Trade Show in Indianapolis this weekend.

One of Team Novadriver’s Audi R8 LMS ultra cars was on display at the 1º Salão dos Campeões (Hall of champions) event in Portugal. César Campaniço was at the show signing autographs. Audi Sport factory driver, Filipe Albuquerque, was also at the event.

Absolute Racing is on site at Penbay International Circuit in Taiwan. They are busy preparing their Audi R8 LMS cars for the TSF Asia All Star Challenge, which will be taking place next weekend.

3. Next Weekend’s events (21-22/12/2013)

  •           TSF Asia All Star Challenge
  •           Circuit Hero 500 Km Endurance Race Zhuhai

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