Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (22-23/03/2014)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 22 - 23 March 2014

This is the 100th consecutive Audi Motorsport Blog Weekend Round Up since its introduction in 2012.

2. The Events

  •           V de V Endurance Series
  •           VLN Test Days
  •           BRCC Test Day (20/03)
  •           Option Cup
  •           BTCC Media Day
  •           Audi Sport testing

2.1. V de V Endurance Series

The first round of the French V de V Endurance Series was held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Two Audi Sport customer racing teams took part in the season opener.

W Racing Team (WRT) fielded the #4 Audi R8 LMS ultra in the GTV 1 class for drivers Harry Teneketzian, Grégoire Chaix and Julien Jousse.

The second Audi was fielded by AB Sport Auto. The older specification #45 Audi R8 LMS was entered in the GTV 2 class and driven by Franck Thybaud, Maxime Jousse and Michel Wegelin.

The #4 WRT Audi qualified seventh overall and in the GTV 1 class. The #45 AB Sport Auto R8 LMS qualified seventeenth overall, taking eighth in the GTV 2 class.

WRT were involved in the lead battle, but they ultimately retired from the four hour race. AB Sport Auto soldiered on to an eleventh place overall finish, third in class.

The next round of the V de V Endurance Series will be heading to Le Mans, at Circuit Bugatti from 18-20 April.

2.2. VLN Test Days

The VLN Endurance Series held its annual test days at the Nürburgring Nordschleife this weekend.

A number of private Audi teams took part in the VLN test days. Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were seen from W Racing Team (WRT), Prosperia C.ABT Racing and Audi race experience (TKL Motorsport). LMS Engineering, Møller Bil Motorsport and Raeder Motorsport were present with their SP3T Audi TT RS cars and also a number of privately built Audi race cars, including an Audi R8 V8 from the Racing Engineers team.

Of special interest was Felix Baumgartner, who took part in the testing with Audi race experience.

The first round of the VLN Endurance Series will be held next weekend.

2.3. BRCC Test Day

The Belgian Racing Car Championship was out in force at Zolder on Thursday. It was the official test day and a number of competitors took part, but the reigning BRCC Endurance champions did not take part in the test day.

PK Carsport is hard at work preparing for the 2014 BRCC and opted not to take part in the official test day on Thursday. The team has however completed a number of test sessions at Zolder in recent weeks. Their primary Audi R8 LMS is being prepared for the BRCC and will soon be receiving its new livery. The trio of drivers for the #1 PK Carsport Audi R8 LMS includes Anthony Kumpen, Bert Longin and Frank Beliën. The stunning new PK Carsport R8 LMS livery was designed by

One of PK Carsports' two Audi R8 LMS cars was present at the Zolder test day, but it did not take part. The car is for sale and was on display in pitlane (pictured above). This is the vehicle that PK Carsport used to win the 2013 BRCC Endurance drivers' title. The team will be using the ex-MOMO Megatron DF1 Audi R8 LMS during 2014, the car that was seen in the 2013 European Le Mans Series.

The first round of the BRCC will be taking place at the Zolder New Race Festival from 26-27 April.

2.4. Option Cup

The Option Cup held its first round at the Penbay International Circuit in Taiwan this weekend.

D2 Racing Sport debuted their newly acquired Audi R8 LMS at the event. C.J. Huang (黃晞展) was driving the older specification #75 Audi R8 LMS car. He was competing in the GT Challenge, within the GT Challenge A+ class.

He qualified fourth overall and completed the race by finishing first in the GT Challenge A+ class. It was a strong debut for D2 Racing Sport's new Audi R8 LMS, alongside the team's Mercedes-Benz SLS and Lamborghini Gallardo.

The next round of the Option Cup will be held from 26-27 July.

2.5. BTCC Media Day

The British Touring Car Championship held the official Media Day on Tuesday. A total of thirty-one cars have been confirmed for the 2014 season, including three Audis.

Rob Austin Racing is returning with two Audi A4 NGTC cars and Rotek Racing will be debuting an Audi S3.

Rob Austin and
Hunter Abbott will be piloting the Audi A4s and Rob Holland will be driving the Rotek Racing S3.

All three Audis were present at the Media Day. Rotek Racing revealed their S3 on the day and Rob Austin Racing’s two Audi A4 NGTC cars both took to the track during the test sessions.

The opening round of the BTCC will be taking place at Brands Hatch next weekend, 29-30 March.

2.6. Audi Sport Testing

A North American set of Audi R18 e-tron quattro testing has been undertaken by Audi Sport in recent weeks. Audi Sport was seen testing at the Circuit of The Americas this week, following their recent test at Sebring.

An Audi R18 e-tron quattro has been put through its paces at COTA this week, with a number of the factory Audi drivers taking to the track behind the wheel of the black and red #1 Audi.

It has also been revealed that Audi Sport has decided not to run a second hybrid recovery system in  the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro. Their second system (ERS-H), which was developed to use waste heat energy from the turbocharger and exhaust system, has been abandoned. This decision was taken as the actual testing didn't result in the intended performance and the unit has been dropped for reliability reasons. The 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro, like its predecessor, will be harvesting and releasing its fly-wheel stored hybrid energy on the front axle (ERS-K), whilst the V6 TDI power plant drives the rear wheels.

Audi Sport will be presenting the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro and its race livery in France next week, with a special drive from the centre of the city to the Le Mans circuit on 25 March.

The FIA WEC will be hosting its official test days at Paul Ricard next week, 28-29 March, followed by the opening round at Silverstone, 20 April.

2.7. Other Audi News

Audi Sport will be presenting the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro and its race livery in France next week, with a special drive from the centre of the city to the Le Mans circuit on 25 March. This event has been called the “2014 Le Mans Warm-up”.

Phoenix Racing will be fielding two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series. The two cars have received new liveries designed by The #5 Phoenix Audi will be driven by Marc Basseng and Alessandro Latif. The #6 R8 LMS will have Markus Winkelhock and Niki Mayr-Melnhof behind the wheel.

Sébastien Loeb Racing Team was out testing at Magny-Cours on Monday.

The teams was testing their two white Audi R8 LMS ultra cars at the French circuit. They are currently preparing for a two-car assault on the French GT Tour and a single car entry in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS).

Twin Busch Motorsport was out testing at the Nürburgring Nordschleife on Monday.

The team was running their Audi R8 LMS ultra for their first test of 2014, preparing for the 2014 VLN Endurance Series.

The highly anticipated Audi S3 from Rotek Racing broke cover at the official BTCC Media Day at Donington on Tuesday.

Rotek Racing’s new Audi S3 has been built to the NGTC regulations and will be competing in the 2014 British Touring Car Championship, with Robb Holland behind the wheel.

A total of thirty-one cars have been entered for the 2014 BTCC, including three Audis: Rotek Racing’s Audi S3 and the two Rob Austin Racing Audi A4 NGTC cars.

Rob Austin Racing was also present at the BTCC Media Day on Tuesday. Their two Audi A4 NGTC cars are driven by Rob Austin and Hunter Abbott.

The opening round of the BTCC will be taking place at Brands Hatch from 29-30 March.

The liveries and driver line-ups have been revealed for Prosperia C.ABT Racing. The German team will be returning to the 2014 ADAC GT Masters with a three-car Audi R8 LMS ultra squad.

Prosperia C.ABT Racing was the 2013 ADAC GT Masters teams’ championship title winning team and they will be aiming to repeat that success in 2014.

Their driver line-ups and new liveries were revealed on Tuesday. The driver combinations are a mixture of experienced drivers and new young talent.

Their #26 Audi R8 LMS ultra will be driven by Nicki Thiim and Fabian Hamprecht. The #27 Audi R8 LMS ultra will see René Rast partnering with young South African, Kelvin van der Linde. The #28 entry will have Thomas Schöffler and Markus Winkelhock behind the wheel.

The new Prosperia C.ABT Racing liveries have been designed by

Oschersleben will be hosting the opening round of the ADAC GT Masters from 25-27 April.

Rob Austin Racing confirmed their 2014 BTCC program at the Media Day this week. They will be fielding two Audi A4 NGTC cars. Rob Austin will be driving the #101 Exocet Racing Audi A4 and Hunter Abbott will be behind the wheel of the #54 Alcosense Breathalysers Racing Audi A4.

Mike Rockenfeller and Markus Winkelhock were at Audi Forum Neckarsulm on Saturday. They were at the Forum signing autographs during the “Formel 1 in der Schule” event. Two race cars were also on display, an Audi R8 LMS ultra and Rockenfeller’s 2013 Audi RS 5 DTM.

Rod Salmon will be taking part in the Australian GT Championship season opener at Sandown next weekend.

The squad, run by Melbourne Performance Centre, entered Rod Salmon’s Audi R8 LMS ultra at the Bathurst 12 Hour. Their weekend was cut short though when Jason Bright suffered a hefty crash during qualifying. Fortunately Bright was unharmed, but the car was out for the weekend. The car has subsequently been sent away for repairs and will not be back in time for the Sandown opener.

Speculation as to whether or not Salmon will be missing the beginning of the 2014 Australian GT season has come to an end. It has been revealed that Salmon and will be using one of the older Audi R8 LMS cars in the Australian GT Trophy Class.

He will be using the ex-Peter Conroy Motorsport Audi R8 LMS, the car that was used by Rotek Racing at the Bathurst 12 Hour. The car was tested at Sydney Motorsport Park last week.

Multiple Audi R8 LMS and ultra entries are expected to take part at Sandown next weekend, 28-30 March.

The Australian GT Championship will be getting underway at Sandown next weekend. Currently three Audi R8 LMS entries have been mentioned. All three are within the GT Trophy class for older GT3 machinery. The first Audi is that of Steve McLaughlan, who is driving the #75 JAMEC PEM Audi R8 LMS. Dean Koutsoumidis and James Winslow will be sharing the #71 Equity-One Motorsport Audi R8 LMS. The third Audi will be the #6 Audi R8 LMS of Rod Salmon, who is driving this R8 LMS whilst his primary Audi R8 LMS ultra is being repaired, following the qualifying crash at Bathurst.

The provisional entry list for the 24H Series 12H Zandvoort currently includes two private Audi teams. Besaplast Racing will be entering their VLN SP3T Audi TT RS and Red Camel Racing will be running their privately built Audi R8 V8. The 12H Zandvoort will be held from 30-31 May 2014.

3. Next Weekend’s events (29-30/03/2014)

  •           FIA WEC Paul Ricard Test Days (28-29/03)
  •           Bördesprint Cup
  •           Super Taikyu
  •           Australian GT
  •           VLN
  •           Pirelli World Challenge
  •           BTCC
  •           South African Production Cars
  •           MSS

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