Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (22-23/02/2014)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 22 - 23 February 2014

2. The Events

  •           TUSC Sebring Test
  •           TCC Winter Challenge
  •           Targa 66
  •           Race Retro

2.1. TUSC Sebring Test

Round two of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will be the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March. The official Sebring Test was held this week, Thursday to Friday, 20-21 February.

Five Audi R8 LMS cars took part in the test, all within the GT Daytona (GTD) class. All five of the cars, from four different teams, were seen at the season opening 24 Hours of Daytona.

Flying Lizard Motorsports again entered their two cars (#35 and #45). The #35 was driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Seth Neimann, Alessandro Latif and Dion von Moltke. The #45 had Nelson Canache Jr, Tim Pappas, Spencer Pumpelly and Markus Winkelhock behind the wheel.

A single car each were entered by Fall-Line Motorsports, GMG Racing and Paul Miller Racing. The #46 Fall-Line Motorsports R8 LMS was driven by Christopher Mies, Charlie Putman and Charles Espenlaub. The #32 GMG Racing R8 LMS had James Sofronas, Alex Welch and Marc Basseng behind the wheel. Paul Miller Racing’s #48 R8 LMS was driven by Matthew Bell, Christopher Haase and Bryce Miller.

The Sebring Test consisted of four sessions, two each on Thursday and Friday.

The first session on Thursday concluded with one Audi within the GTD top ten, the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports R8 LMS was second fastest. The sister #35 Lizards Audi was eleventh, followed by the remaining three Audis placing in positions fourteen through sixteen, #48 Paul Miller Racing, #32 GMG Racing and the #46 Fall-Line Motorsports.

The second session on Thursday ended with no Audis making it into the top ten. Four of the Audis finished together in positions twelve through fifteen, with the duo of Flying Lizard Motorsports cars (#45 and #35) ahead of the #48 Paul Miller Racing and #46 Fall-Line Motorsports cars. GMG Racing was eighteenth fastest with the #32 R8 LMS.

The third practice session was held on Friday. This first session of the day concluded with the #46 Fall-Line Motorsports R8 LMS in tenth, ahead of the Flying Lizard Motorsports #45 in eleventh. The #48 Paul Miller Racing, #35 Flying Lizard Motorsports and #32 GMG Racing cars placed together in positions sixteen through eighteen.

The fourth and final session took place on Friday afternoon. Three Audis made it into the top ten, with the #32 GMG Racing and #46 Fall-Line Motorsports cars placing seventh and eighth respectively, followed by the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports R8 LMS in tenth. The remaining two Audis finished twelfth and thirteenth, the #35 Flying Lizard Motorsports car ahead of the #48 Paul Miller Racing R8 LMS.

The combined results from the four sessions revealed that the Audis were in the lower half of the field. The Flying Lizard Motorsports #45 R8 LMS was the fastest Audi in twelve. They were followed by the #46 Fall-Line Motorsports and #32 GMG Racing cars in thirteenth and fourteenth. The remaining two cars, the #48 Paul Miller Racing and #35 Flying Lizard Motorsports cars, placed seventeenth and eighteenth respectively.

The teams will now be returning to Sebring in a few weeks, for the twelve hour race from 13-15 March.

2.2. TCC Winter Challenge

Round four of the TCC Winter Challenge was held at the Ascari Race Resort in Spain. Vulkan Racing - Team Mintgen Motorsport were present with their newly acquired Audi R8 LMS ultra. The Audi is the ex-Phoenix Racing car that was driven by the Stuck family during the 2013 VLN season and at the 2013 Nürburgring 24 Hours.

2.3. Targa 66

The Targa 66, a private historic racing event, was held at Palm Beach International Raceway this weekend. An Audi R8 LMP car was among the entrants. It was the Audi R8 #607 from Rogers Motorsports, driven by Doug Smith.

Bobby Green

2.4. Race Retro

Race Retro, the International Historic Motorsport Show, took place in the UK this weekend. A number of Audi quattro cars were on display and also competed in the various events at the show.

2.5. Other Audi News

The Audi Sport factory drivers and team management took part in the annual Audi Sport training and team building. The training was held in Lanzarote for the first time this year, a Spanish Island part of the Canary Islands.

The official Audi Sport Facebook page reached the milestone of two million fans this week. They posted an Audi R18 e-tron quattro laser light themed video marking the milestone, that video can be seen HERE.

TAG Motorsports held a grand opening party for their new facilities in San Diego / Vista, CA last week. Many cars were on display, including the GMG Racing #14 Audi R8 LMS of James Safronas.

More BTCC testing took place at Thruxton this week. Rob Austin Racing again took part in the BTCC testing, following the tests at Silverstone and Oulton Park last week. Rob Austin was behind the wheel of their all-black Audi A4 NGTC race car.

A few weeks ago Hitotsuyama Racing confirmed that they will be returning to the 2014 Japanese Super GT season with Audi, also mentioning the possibility of increasing their team from one, up to two or three cars. On Wednesday they have posted a website blog post, revealing that they have acquired a second Audi R8 LMS ultra.

During 2013 the team fielded their brand new 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra in the Super GT. Their second Audi R8 LMS ultra is the 2012 specification car that was used in the 2012 and part of the 2013 Super GT seasons by äpr racing. The car had been for sale since the middle of 2013 and has now finally found a home with Hitotsuyama Racing.

The car has arrived at the Hitotsuyama Racing workshop and is busy being prepared for the 2014 Super GT.

Earlier this week Hitotsuyama Racing mentioned that they would be announcing their 2014 plans on Saturday. The announcement included a new team name for 2014, Audi Sport Team Hitotsuyama, as the team has been upgraded to Audi works status in Japan.

The team will be returning to the Japanese Super GT this year. Currently their press release includes details of one Audi R8 LMS ultra entry in the GT300 class. The #21 Audi Sport Team Hitotsuyama entry will be driven by Richard Lyons and Tomonobu Fujii.

The team also acquired and took delivery of a second Audi R8 LMS ultra this week, the car that was used by äpr racing during the 2012 and 2013 Super GT seasons. More announcements regarding this car are expected soon.

It is very exciting news that Hitotsuyama Racing has been upgraded to Audi works status and it will greatly boost their program for the 2014 Super GT season. The team will be making more announcements ahead of the 2014 season.

The 24H Series will be hosting the 12H Italy-Mugello from 14 - 15 March 2014. Two Audi teams have so far committed entries for the event.

The first team is LMS Engineering, who has entered their VLN SP3T class Audi TT RS (2.0 five cylinder conversion). Their #62 TT RS will be driven by Christian Krognes, C. Tiger, Roland Botor and Georg Niederberger.

The second Audi team is that of Red Camel Racing, a regular 24H Series entrant, who has entered their Audi R8 V8. It is one of the two privately built Creventic Audi R8 V8 race cars, which are also known as “CR-8”. Their #51 entry will be driven by Ivo Breukers and Henk Thijssen (drivers currently listed).

Both of the Audis will be running in the SP3 class of the 24H Series.

The entry list can be seen HERE website [Roger Mecking]

The Twelve Hours of Sebring will be taking place in March. The LMP1 class is no longer taking part at Sebring with the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, but a healthy number of Audis will be taking part in the GT Daytona (GTD) class.

The first preliminary entry list for race was revealed on Tuesday. The regular five Audi R8 LMS cars, fielded by four different teams, are all included on the entry list. The single entries from GMG Racing, Fall-Line Motorsports and Paul Miller Racing, along with the two-car entry from Flying Lizard Motorsports.

All five cars will also be attending the official Sebring Test on Thursday and Friday this week.

The 2014 Twelve Hours of Sebring will be held from 13-15 March.

The entry list can be seen HERE

GMG Racing - #32 Audi R8 LMS
James Sofronas, Alex Welch and Marc Basseng

Flying Lizard Motorsports - #35 Audi R8 LMS
Seth Neiman, Dion von Moltke, Alessandro Latif and Filipe Albuquerque

Flying Lizard Motorsports - #45 Audi R8 LMS
Nelson Canache Jr., Spencer Pumpelly, Tim Pappas and Markus Winkelhock

Fall-Line Motorsports - #46 Audi R8 LMS
Christopher Mies, Charlie Putman and Charles Espenlaub

Paul Miller Racing - #48 Audi R8 LMS
Bryce Miller, Christopher Haase and Matthew Bell

The 2014 South African Bridgestone Production Cars Championship will be getting underway at Zwartkops next weekend. The exact entry lists have not yet been released, but four Audi S4 cars will again be entered from two teams.

Terry Moss Racing will be returning with three-time reigning Class A champion, Michael Stephen. His teammate will be non other than Simon Moss.

Simon Moss is the son of South African Audi legend and team owner, Terry Moss. He will driving the team’s second Audi S4. Simon debuted in an Audi S4 with the endurance races during 2011, sharing with Tschops Sipuka. He also drove at Aldo Scribante in November last year, when he and Stephen drove the S4s during a regional meeting.

Gennaro Bonafede and Hennie Groenewald will be behind the wheel of Audi S4 cars, details about their team and title sponsor will be announced next week, ahead of the first round. Groenewald joins the Audi squad after competing for Subaru in the previous few seasons.

Hennie Groenewald is no stranger to racing Audis in South Africa. He competed with the private Scania backed Audi 80 Competition (pictured above) in the 1996 South African Super Touring Car Championship and also once substituted for Terry Moss in a factory Audi A4 touring car at East London in 1999, round 3 of the Bankfin Touring Cars.

Various of the South African Bridgestone Production Cars Championship teams were out testing at Zwartkops on Friday. The Audi S4s of Gennaro Bonafede and Hennie Groenewald were among the participants.

The 2014 rallye racing Carrera Cup (RCCO) Slotcar Championship begins next Wednesday, with the "20 minutes of Hamburg" at the PROTOTYP Museum in Hamburg. Once again Audi race cars will be represented in this slotcar series.

A two-car Audi team from Audi Team tv racing (Speedpool) will be taking part in the series. They have previously competed with Audi R8 LMS ultra slotcars, but now they will be debuting the new Audi R8 LMS (GTD version) this year.

The #1 Schaeffler Audi R8 LMS will be controlled by Thomas Voigt (Speedpool) and Jan Hennen, former motorsport PR director of Michelin in Germany. Their sister #77 Speedpool Audi R8 LMS will have Felipe Fénandez Laser (Porsche Carrera Cup racer) and Martin Kummerow, RX of Germany Estering Head of PR, behind the controls.

Slotcar racing is a very popular sport amongst many of the Audi Sport personnel, many of whom take part in this series. It is always great to see Audis competing in motorsport, including the world of slotcar racing.

3. Next Weekend’s events (1-2/03/2014)

  •           South African Bridgestone Production Cars
  •           SVRA
  •           GT Winter Series

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