By Johan Laubscher
1. The Weekend
Focussing on the weekend of 11 - 12 January 2014
2. The Events
- 24 Hours of Dubai
- Type R Club track day
The 24 Hours of Dubai was held this weekend. One Audi was on the entry list and competed in the ninth edition of the event.
The Audi was entered by Red Camel Racing, a regular entrant in the 24H Series. It is one of the two privately built Creventic Audi R8 V8 race cars, which are also known as “CR-8”. These Audis were built by Creventic and the first one debuted at the 2008 24 Hours of Dubai. Red Camel Racing later acquired one of the cars and has been competing with it for a number of years.
The #150 Red Camel - Jordans.nl entry was driven by Yusif Bassil, Jonathan Venter, Keith Kassulke and Maurice Faber. The Audi R8 was entered in the SP3 class, which is intended for GT4 equivalent cars.
They showed good pace during practice and qualified forty-fifth overall on the grid, second in the SP3 class.
It was a long hard race, but the Red Camel Audi entry ran well within SP3 and also moved forward through the field. By the end of the 2014 24 Hours of Dubai the #150 Audi squad came trough to finish twenty-sixth overall, taking third position in the SP3 class.
The 24H Series will now be heading to Italy for the first running of the 12 Hours of Italy, hosted at Mugello. So far Red Camel Racing and their Audi R8 V8 is the only Audi entry on the entry list for the event in March.
2.2 Type R Club track day
The first Type R Club track day was held at Zhuhai this weekend. One Audi R8 LMS was present and seen on track during the sessions on Sunday.
It was a Supercar Time Attack event hosted by the Hong Kong based Type R Club (TRC), which saw the participation of many potent high performance road and race cars.
The 2013 Audi R8 LMS Cup champion, Adderly Fong, was at the event driving his KAMLUNG Racing sponsored Audi R8 LMS. The car affectionately nicknamed “Bumblebee” was entered by Absolute Racing.
Adderly Fong drove the R8 LMS at Zhuhai on Sunday, but he also drove another Audi related car on Saturday. He was seen behind the wheel of one of the two Gumpert Apollo S cars that were present for the weekend at Zhuhai. Fong drove the white Audi powered Apollo S from CarCity and Ceramic Pro Nanotechnology. These hypercars from Gumpert are powered by Audi-sourced bi-turbo 4.2 V8 engines.
It was great to see an Audi R8 LMS back on track in China so early in the season. Many more of these cars will be seen in the 2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup, where up to twenty-four of these Audi GT3 vehicles will be racing in the third season of the Audi-one make championship in Asia.
2.3. Other Audi News
The Autosport International Show got underway on Thursday. It was a big day for 2014 British Touring Car Championship announcements. Two Audi teams announced their plans for the 2014 BTCC season.
Rob Austin Racing got the day going with their presentation at the Dunlop BTCC stand. They revealed one of their Audi A4 NGTC cars with a familiar Exocet livery. It was announced that Rob Austin Racing, who had parted ways with their previous title sponsor, will be returning with two cars and that they had signed a two-year deal with Exocet Racing.
Complete Exocet branding will be featured on one of Rob Austin Racing’s two Audi A4 NGTC cars and Exocet logos will also appear on the team’s second entry.
The Exocet branding first appeared on one of the Rob Austin Racing cars at the final round of the 2013 BTCC season, when Jake Hill drove for the team at Brands Hatch.
Rob Austin will again be piloting one of the team’s two Audis and their second driver will be announced later.
Rob Austin Racing debuted with their Audi A4 NGTC race cars during the 2011 BTCC season. They took the first Audi BTCC victory since 1997, when Rob Austin won at Rockingham last year.
The Audi related BTCC news continued at the Autosport International Show on Thursday. Rotek Racing closed off a very busy day of various team’s announcing their 2014 plans. Towards the end of 2013 it emerged that Rotek Racing was seriously considering a 2014 BTCC program. At first it was mentioned that up to two Rotek Racing Audi A3 or S3 sedans could possibly be built to the NGTC regulations.
On Thursday Rotek Racing officially announced their 2014 BTCC program. They will be fielding one Audi S3 sedan for Robb Holland. Their project is mentioned to also have support from Audi Sport customer racing.
Along with their 2014 BTCC program they have also mentioned some of their other 2014 plans, which include an arsenal of Audi cars. They will continue to field their Audi TT RS, which was seen in the 2013 VLN and won the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in December last year. They will also be adding two new cars to their arsenal, an Audi R8 LMS ultra and an Audi RS 4, both of which will be seen at the Bathurst 12 Hour in February, according to the current entry list. Rotek Racing has mentioned that their Audi RS 4 will be competing in the 2014 VLN Endurance Championship and the R8 LMS ultra will be seen at various international endurance races.
Rotek Racing will also be asking fans to vote for their favourite 2014 livery. The twelve possible Audi S3 liveries will be voted for via social media, which the team will be announcing soon.
Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish were both at the Autosport International Show this week.
An Audi R18 e-tron quattro long-tail was also on display at the Autosport International Show. The car featured the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours race winning #2 Audi Sport Team Joest livery. It was on display at the main Autosport stand.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held in Las Vegas this week. Audi had a very strong presence at the show. The new Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept was revealed. It features the new lighting technology that will also be seen on the race track during 2014, as it is also fitted to the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
A new 2014 Audi R18-etron quattro laser lights display was also at CES. The display included the nose section of the latest generation of Audi’s R18 e-tron quattro.
Melbourne Performance Centre completed their first test session of 2014 on Friday. They were at Phillip Island testing their Audi R8 LMS cars.
The official Audi Sport Facebook page reached yet another milestone in a short period of time. On Friday the page surpassed one million fans. They also released a short video which can be seen HERE.
News emerged that a total of six Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars will now be taking part in the Bathurst 12 Hour next month.
Audi Sport released a news-in-brief update on Friday which confirmed the six R8 LMS and ultra entries. The previous official Bathurst 12hour entry list, which was released on 16 December 2013, included no less than seven R8 LMS and ultra entries. The omission from the latest announcement is that of Absolute Racing, who were set to field one of their Audi R8 LMS ultra cars.
The remaining six entries, one each from Phoenix Racing, United Autosports and Rotek Racing, along with three more from Melbourne Performance Centre, will be taking part in the event from 7-9 February.
Some of the driver line-ups have been revealed so far. Phoenix Racing will have Rahel Frey, René Rast and Laurens Vanthoor behind the wheel of their Audi R8 LMS ultra. Markus Winkelhock will be joining Mark Patterson and Eric Lux in the United Autosports Audi R8 LMS ultra. Christopher Mies will be joining Mark Eddy and Marc Cini in their MPC R8 LMS ultra and Rob Huff will be joining Rotek Racing with their new R8 LMS ultra.
MPC's remaining two Audi's driver line-ups were revealed towards the end of 2013. Rod Salmon's MPC R8 LMS ultra will be driven by: Rod Salmon, Warren Luff, Jason Bright and Liam Talbot. The Equity-One Motorsport R8 LMS (MPC) will be driven by Dean Koutsoumidis, Dean Fiore, Dean Grant and Michael Loccisano.
The original entry list also included an extra Audi. Rotek Racing was listed with an Audi A4 (RS 4) race car in class D. The team’s latest press release, which was released on Thursday, elaborated on their 2014 Audi race car arsenal, which includes their Audi TT RS, new BTCC Audi S3, Audi R8 LMS ultra and an Audi RS 4. The team’s class D entry still remains on the official entry list, which was last updated on 16 December 2013, thus the entry is yet to be confirmed.
Six confirmed Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars, along with the possible Audi RS 4 from Rotek Racing, will be taking part in the race, where the Audis will be gunning for overall victory.
The 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour will be taking place from 7-9 February 2014. It is great to see so many Audi Sport customer racing teams committing to the endurance race at Mount Panorama.
Raeder Motorsport was at Mcchip-DKR SoftwarePerformance this week. They were completing dyno testing with their SP3T Audi TT RS, as part of their preparation for the 2014 VLN Endurance Championship.
3. Next Weekend’s events (18-19/01/2014)
All photos are hosted at their respective websites, which are listed within the Weekend Round Up