By Johan Laubscher
1. The Weekend
Focussing on the weekend of 8 - 9 March 2014
2. The Events
- V de V Test Days
- Super Taikyu Test Day
2.1. V de V Test Days
The French V de V Endurance Series held two test days at Magny-Cours this weekend, from Friday to Saturday. One Audi was present, an Audi R8 LMS ultra fielded by W Racing Team (WRT). The car was entered for drivers Harry Teneketzian, Maxime Jousse and Grégoire Chaix.
The 2014 V de V gets underway at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from 21-22 March.
2.2. Super Taikyu Test Day
The Super Taikyu held its official test day at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan on Sunday. The entry list included thirty-four cars, including two ST-X (GT3) machines. K's Frontier was among the entries with their Audi R8 LMS ultra.
K's Frontier, listed as Direction Racing, will be entering one Audi R8 LMS ultra in the 2014 Super Taikyu Endurance Series. This is the ex-GAINER DIXCEL R8 LMS ultra that was used in the 2012 Super GT. The team has upgraded the car from the 2012 R8 LMS ultra specification to the 2013 spec.
K's Frontier acquired and entered the car in two Japanese European Touring Car Challenge (ETCC) races last year, when they evaluated the car for use in the 2014 Super Taikyu.
The 2014 Super Taikyu season gets underway with round one of the series at Twin Ring Motegi from 29-30 March.
2.3. Other Audi News
The new 2014 Audi RS 5 DTM was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday, during the Audi Sport Press Conference. The new RS 5 DTM shared the stage with the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
Felix Baumgartner will be driving an Audi R8 LMS ultra at selected Nürburgring events during 2014, including the Nürburgring 24 Hours. He will be driving with Audi race experience (TKL Motorsport). He will be driving alongside three very experienced Audi drivers: Frank Biela, Marco and Pierre Kaffer. Baumgartner will be taking part in the VLN test day, the Nürburgring 24 Hours qualifying race, two VLN events and the Nürburgring 24 Hours itself.
The official FIA World Endurance test days, known as “The Prologue,” will be held from 28-29 March. Two Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars are on the entry list. The Audi squad will be among six factory LMP1 cars, two each from Audi, Porsche and Toyota. The #1 Audi will be driven by Lucas Di Grassi, Loïc Duval and Tom Kristensen. The #2 Audi will be shared by Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoit Tréluyer.
Sébastien Loeb Racing was out testing at Estoril in Portugal this week. They were testing their Oreca 03 LMP2 and one of their Audi R8 LMS ultra cars.
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT was seen testing at Silverstone on Wednesday and on Thursday they were out testing at Monza.
It has been a busy few weeks for the Belgian Audi Sport customer racing team. They were out testing at Nogaro in France last week and at Silverstone and Monz this week. Tests at Paul Ricard, Zolder and Spa are also on the team’s schedule for the coming weeks, including the official Blancpain GT Series test days at Paul Ricard on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
The team will be entering up to four cars within the Blancpain GT Series and taking part in two 24 Hour races.
The new Blancpain GT Series is a combination of the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Blancpain Sprint Series, for teams who are able to commit to both individual series.
The team will be entering four cars in the Blancpain Sprint Series and three cars in the Blancpain Endurance Series, with an additional fourth car at the Spa 24 Hours. Three of their four cars will then be in the running for the combined Blancpain GT Series.
WRT will be joined by G-Drive Racing during 2014, with a G-Drive car fielded in the Blancpain Sprint Series and the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
WRT will also be fielding an Audi R8 LMS ultra in the V de V Endurance Series in France, for drivers Harry Teneketzian and Gregroire Chaix.
The ACO is hosting a special Le Mans display at the Geneva Motor Show this week. A number of Le Mans winning cars are on display, including two very special Audi race cars.
Twenty-one cars are on display in total. Two Audi race cars are among the various cars on display. The two cars represent Audi’s first Le Mans win (2000) and their latest Le Mans win (2013).
The 2000 Le Mans winning Audi R8 of Frank Biela, Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro is joined by the 2013 race winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loïc Duval.
The 2014 Geneva Motor Show is open to the public from 6-16 March.
Team Parker Racing is one of the newest Audi Sport customer racing teams of the 2014 season. They had their first track test with their new car at Silverstone on Wednesday.
The team has acquired one new Audi R8 LMS ultra for their 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series campaign. The R8 LMS ultra will be driven by Ian Loggie, Chris Jones and Julian Westwood.
The testing at Silverstone was also the first opportunity to see Team Parker Racing's new white, black and green livery.
The Blancpain Endurance Series gets underway at Monza from 12-13 April.
The 2013 Italian Superstars Series saw the Audi Sport Italia squad defeating the balance of performance to take yet another set of titles for the new Audi RS 5 quattro.
Despite an imposing balance of performance, the Italian Audi Dealer team was able to bounce back and secure both of the drivers’ titles with Gianni Morbidelli, who won the International Superstars drivers’ title and later the Italian title as well.
It was almost a complete set for Audi Sport Italia, as they narrowly missed out on the teams’ title, facing off against the original victors, Mercedes Romeo Ferraris.
However, the final standings of the 2013 teams’ title was not finalised, as Audi Sport Italia lodged a complaint against the Mercedes Romeo Ferraris team at Donington Park, regarding technical issues with bodywork components.
The FIA court has ruled that the components on the Mercedes-Benz cars at Donington where indeed illegal and their points have been revoked, costing the Romeo Ferraris squad a total of twenty points.
This points deduction was enough to promote Audi Sport Italia to the top of the points table, crowning them as the 2013 Superstars Series teams’ champions by seventeen points, adding to the two 2013 drivers’ titles of Gianni Morbidelli.
Audi Sport Italia and up to four RS 5 quattro cars will be returning to this form of competition this year, as they are entering the 2014 EuroV8 Series, which replaces the Superstars Series. So far only one driver has been confirmed by the team, Tomáš Kostka from the Czech Republic.
The 2014 EuroV8 Series will be getting underway at Monza, 6 April.
Sébastien Loeb Racing held their first shakedown with their new Audi R8 LMS ultra cars on Tuesday.
The team has begun their on track preparation for the 2014 season. Sébastien Loeb Racing will be entering a two-car team in the French GT-Tour and a single car entry in the European Le Mans Series GTC class.
The ELMS gets underway at Silverstone from 18-19 April, followed by the first French GT-Tour round from 26-27 April.
United Autosports was out testing at Oulton Park on Tuesday. The team’s Audi R8 LMS ultra took part in the test.
It was the first pre-season test for United Autosports’ British GT campaign. The Audi R8 LMS ultra will be driven by the 2013 British GT runners up pairing of Mathew Bell and Mark Patterson.
The 2014 British GT Championship will be getting underway at Oulton Park from 19-21 April.
The Portuguese Team Novadriver squad were out testing at the Algarve International Circuit this week. The team tested their two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars.
A number of drivers took part in the test with the Novadriver Audis. It was the first test for Team Novadriver in over three months.
The team has not yet confirmed their 2014 race program, but they have said that their fans are in for some surprises this year, as the team continues to move forward in the world of motorsport.
During 2013 Team Novadriver took part in the Spanish IBER GT Championship, FIA GT Series and won the Portuguese GT Championship.
ABT Sportsline are on display at the Geneva Motor Show. They have a number of models on show, including one of their new red Formula E race cars.
ABT Sportsline will be competing in the 2014 FIA Formula E Championship, with the team name of Audi Sport ABT Formula-E Team.
The ABT Sportsline Formula E drivers were recently announced as Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt.
The 2014 Geneva Motor Show will be open to the public from 6-16 March.
JCR Motorsports - Jeff Courtney Racing is busy preparing for the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge. Jeff Courtney will be driving a newly upgraded Audi R8 LMS ultra in the GT-A class.
During 2013 JCR Motorsports competed in the Pirelli World Challenge, fielding a modified 2012 Audi R8 GRAND-AM (pictured below), the ex-Oryx Racing car that was briefly used in the 2012 Grand-Am Rolex Series.
JCR Motorsports has upgraded their 2012 Audi R8 GRAND-AM to the FIA GT3 Audi R8 LMS ultra specification. This is the first R8 GRAND-AM that has been upgrade to the R8 LMS ultra specification, visible by the three support struts in the front window, a feature which was mandated by the rules on the Audi R8 GRAND-AM cars and the later the GTD Audi R8 LMS versions.
They will be joining Audi R8 LMS ultra entries from GMG Racing and DragonSpeed, all competing within the PWC GT and GT-A classes.
The first round of the PWC will be held at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, from 28-30 March.
Seven Audi R8 LMS ultra cars are heading to the official Blancpain GT Series test days at Paul Richard this week, Tuesday to Wednesday. Three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars from WRT, two cars from Phoenix Racing and one car each from Sainteloc and Team Parker Racing.
The 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours poster was revealed this week and features all three of the LMP1 factory teams: Audi, Porsche and Toyota.
GMG Racing were out testing at Thunderhill last week. Three of the team’s Audi R8 LMS ultra cars took part.
Doug Gore’s new ABT-Audi TT-R livery was revealed last week. ATL Automotive, who has withdrawn from motorsport, sponsored the Gore TT-R from 2011-2013 and now Gore is the sole owner of the car and has signed Rainforest Seafood has his new title sponsor. He will again be competing in the Jamaican and Caribbean championships this year.
3. Next Weekend’s events (15-16/03/2014)
- Sebring 12 Hours
All photos are hosted at their respective websites, which are listed within the Weekend Round Up