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.'
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.
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.
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