Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Audi in Motorsport 2014

Audi Press Release

  • A year full of challenges

FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), DTM, GT racing: The motorsport commitment of AUDI AG in the 2014 season again rests on three pillars - and in all three segments the brand with the four rings is facing special challenges.

In the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and at Le Mans, the season's pinnacle event, Audi will not only be meeting with Porsche as a new, strong opponent from the Volkswagen Group. The season also marks the beginning of a new era in endurance racing, in which the efficiency of the race cars takes center stage. In the DTM, Audi, after having clinched five champion's titles in the past seven years, is the hunted. And in production-based GT racing, the number of rivals for the racing versions of the Audi R8 has increased again.

'In production development, we tackle the challenge of making good cars even better day by day,' says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development of AUDI AG. 'This applies to Audi Sport as a part of Audi's Technical Development as well. The most recent results achieved by hard work are an all-new R18 e-tron quattro that we're aiming to stand our ground with at Le Mans and in the WEC against Porsche and Toyota, plus a largely new RS 5 DTM with which we're aiming to keep our number-one spot in the tough competition with BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Of course, neither of these commitments is an end in itself: Motorsport at Audi accelerates the development of new technologies. A current example is laser light, which we'll be using at Le Mans in our R18 e-tron quattro.'

Audi has delivered more than 1.57 million premium automobiles since 2013 - a new company record that equates to 8.3 percent growth. The success in motorsport has contributed to this. 'That's why Audi is continuing to run at full throttle in motorsport while others hit the brakes,' explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. 'It's probably no coincidence that Audi has just been voted the most successful brand in motorsport again by the readers of a leading German special-interest magazine. We're leaving no stone unturned to repeat this success in 2014.'

In 2013, Audi was so successful in racing that the current season is clearly billed as 'title defense.' The twelfth triumph at Le Mans, the title wins in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the DTM, plus five titles worldwide in GT racing emphasize the sporting contours of the brand.

In the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Audi has won the manufacturers' and the drivers' classifications twice in succession. This year, Audi Sport Team Joest is facing a double challenge. The regulations are turning a lot of the previous fundamentals in motorsport upside down. In addition, Porsche is entering the prestigious LMP1 category as a third manufacturer.

For the battle of winning the WEC title, two new R18 e-tron quattro cars have been nominated and in the Spa 6 Hours as well as the Le Mans 24 Hours, an additional R18 will be on the grid. Audi has redeveloped its hybrid sports car from scratch. For the first time, the traditionally tight constraints in engine design have been loosened. Instead of power output, the available amount of energy will be limited. This creates a perfect incentive for the construction of particularly efficient LMP1 sports cars - just like production cars are becoming increasingly efficient.

The e-tron quattro hybrid drive and ultra technology developed by Audi for Le Mans have been optimized for 2014 in order for the cars to be running at similarly high speeds as before with up to 30 percent less energy. The laser light of the R18 e-tron quattro is a new feature.
While a new era begins for LMP1 sports cars, the colleagues from the DTM were busy as well. A further development of the regulations made an Audi RS 5 DTM car possible that, in large part, is a new development. Right at first glance, it looks even more aggressive and dynamic than last year's Championship winning car. A total of eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars will be fielded by the proven Audi Sport Teams Abt, Abt Sportsline, Phoenix and Rosberg. The driver squad includes three DTM Champions - Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider and last year's winner Mike Rockenfeller. New on board is the young Swiss Nico Müller.

Audi's GT program is entering its sixth season. In the worldwide GT3 racing series, the Audi R8 LMS ultra is one of the favorites again this year. The GT3 race car shares more than 50 percent of its component assemblies with the production models made in Neckarsulm. For the re-launch of the sports car scene in North America, Audi has additionally developed a sister model. In the hands of customers, the R8 LMS is competing in the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSC) and, due to the regulations, mainly differs from the GT3 model in terms of aerodynamics, engine power output and tires. In the Daytona 24 Hours, the R8 LMS was immediately running at the front of the field and just barely missed victory in the GT Daytona (GTD) class that featured the largest number of entrants.

The Audi customer teams are receiving special support in the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and at Spa, and in the TUSC endurance races in the USA.

In addition to success in racing, business success is a key factor of the GT program. quattro GmbH, which develops and sells the race cars, has delivered more than 120 of them since 2009. Audi Sport customer racing is represented on the four continents of Asia, America, Australia and Europe. Customers with sporting ambitions can again make their own racing commitments reality with the Audi race experience this year. In Asia, the Audi R8 LMS Cup, Audi's first one-make cup, is entering its third season.

Photo credit: Audi Communications - Motorsport