By Johan Laubscher
1. The Weekend
Focussing on the weekend of 5 - 6 April 2014
2. The Events
- DTM Testing
- Nürburgring 24 Hours Qualifying Race
- Japanese Super GT
- ELMS Test Days (1-2 April)
- Audi R8 LMS Cup Testing
- EuroV8 Series
2.1. DTM Testing
The DTM hosted the official ITR test days at the Hungaroring in
this week. It was a four day test
which began on Monday and came to a close on Thursday. All three of the DTM
manufactures were present for testing. Budapest
Audi Sport arrived with four new 2014 Audi RS 5 DTM cars and all eight of its drivers. The four cars each came from the four (three) entered teams: Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and Audi Sport Team Abt (latter two teams both run by ABT Sportsline).
The liveries of the four cars were also revealed at the tests, the cars of Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider, Miguel Molina and Jamie Green.
The Audi Sport drivers alternated in their team cars during the four days of testing.
Monday kicked off well for the Audi squad, as the day ended with the four Audi RS 5 DTM cars topping the time sheets, a 1-2-3-4 lead by Miguel Molina. Tuesday again saw Audi on top, this time with new Audi DTM rookie, Nico Müller, ahead of Mattias Ekström. Wednesday saw Mercedes Benz’s Christian Vietoris setting the best time, with the fastest Audi driver being Adrien Tambay in sixth. The four days of testing concluded on Thursday. Christian Vietoris was the fastest driver on Thursday. Edoardo Mortara was the fastest Audi on the final day, fourth.
Nico Müller set the fastest Audi time at the Hungaroring this week, his 1:37.505 from Tuesday afternoon. The Audi Sport squad totaled 7154 km of testing with 1633 laps competed during the four days of testing. Official DTM testing will resume at Hockenheim from 14-17 April.
The 2014 DTM season will be kicking off with the first round at Hockenheim on 4 May.
2.2. Nürburgring 24 Hours Qualifying Race
The ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hours Qualifying Race was held this weekend. A total of seven Audi race cars took part, including five Audi R8 LMS ultra cars.
A forty-seven car grid was on the entry list and all were fighting for ten available spots in the top thirty qualifying shootout, which will be held during the Nürburgring 24 Hours race week from 19-22 June.
Prosperia C.ABT Racing and Audi race experience (TKL Motorsport) each entered two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars this weekend, along with one R8 LMS ultra from G Drive Racing (WRT).
Rotek Racing fielded two cars, their SP4T Audi TT RS and their SP8 Audi RS 4.
The six hour race concluded with the G Drive Racing (WRT) #17 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Roman Rosinov, Stephane Ortelli, Edward Sandström and Nico Müller finishing sixth, the highest placed Audi.
The next Audi home was the Rotek Racing #108 Audi TT RS of Rob Huff, Kevin Gleason and Richard Meins. They won the SP4T class and finished ninth overall.
The two Audi race experience R8 LMS ultra entries finished twelve and thirteenth, car #18 ahead of #502. Felix Baumgartner successfully qualified for the Nürburgring 24 Hours, as one of the drivers behind the wheel of the #502 machine.
The Rotek Racing Audi RS 4 finished thirty-fourth overall with Robb Holland, William Benson Caswell, Rob Austin, Dieter Schmidtmann. They won the SP8 class.
The list of retirements unfortunately included both of the Prosperia C.ABT Racing R8 LMS ultra cars.
The Nürburgring 24 Hours race week will be held from 19-22 June. A total of eight Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will be taking part, fielded by five different Audi Sport customer racing teams.
2.3. Japanese Super GT
The team performed very well during the race and recovered from their sixteenth position qualifying slot, all the way up to a top ten finishing result, eighth within the GT300 class.
Round two of the Japanese Super GT will be taking place at Fuji Speedway on 4 May.
2.4. ELMS Test Days
The European Le Mans Series hosted two days of official testing at Paul Ricard this week, Tuesday to Wednesday.
One Audi Sport customer racing team entered the event and are also entered for the 2014 ELMS season.
Sébastien Loeb Racing is running a single Audi R8 LMS ultra in the GTC class, alongside an Oreca 03 Nissan in LMP2.
For the testing, the #51 Audi R8 LMS ultra was driven by Henry Hassid, Mike Parisy, Anthony Beltoise and Roland Bervillé.
Five test sessions were spread across the two days at Paul Ricard, morning and afternoon sessions on both days, including a night session on Tuesday.
The #51 Audi R8 LMS ultra was driven to a 1:59.546 lap time on Tuesday morning, the fastest set by the Sébastien Loeb Racing R8 LMS ultra during the two days of testing. They were classified thirty-seventh fastest in the combined classification, last in GTC.
Silverstone will be hosting the opening round of the ELMS, from 18-19 April.
2.5. Audi R8 LMS Cup Testing
The Audi R8 LMS Cup was at Zhuhai in
weekend for the first official test days for this season. Multiple Audi R8 LMS
cars and drivers took part in the testing. China
Sixteen drivers were behind the wheel of the various Audi R8 LMS cars during the test and up to twenty-four cars will be taking part in the series during 2014.
The one-make Chinese Audi series will be hosting six rounds this year, getting underway at Inje in
, from 3-4 May. South Korea
2.6. EuroV8 Series
The new EuroV8 Series, which is replacing the Superstars Series, got underway at
this weekend. Audi Sport Italia entered two Audi RS 5 quattro cars, driven by Tomas
Kostka and Davide Stancheris. Monza
Kostka narrowly missed a podium finish during race one and finished fourth, ahead of Stancheris in seventh. The two Audi Sport Italia drivers repeated those positions during race two. These results were enough to ensure that Tomas Kostka is now third in the points.
Round two of the EuroV8 Series will be held at Vallelunga on 4 May.
The RCN hosted its first round of 2014 at the Nürburgring on Saturday. Four Audi race cars took part.
2.8. Other Audi News
YACO Racing will be returning to the 2014 ADAC GT Masters with an Audi R8 LMS ultra.
The team revealed their driver line-up and new livery on Monday. Philip Geipel, who also drove the YACO Racing R8 LMS ultra during 2013, will be joined by Audi factory driver and former DTM racer, Rahel Frey.
The 2014 ADAC GT Masters will be getting underway at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben from 25-27 April.
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT has been very busy testing their Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in recent weeks and they added to that list by testing at Spa-Francorchamps on Tuesday.
They have been at a number of European circuits recently, including: Zolder, Silverstone, Monza, Nogaro and the official test days at the Nürburgring (VLN) and Paul Ricard (Blancpain GT Series).
The Belgian team is hard at work preparing for a multi-car assault on the 2014 Blancpain GT Series, with up to four cars planned to be entered. Three cars will be entered in the Blancpain Endurance Series, with a fourth car planned for the 24 Hours of Spa. Four WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will be seen in the Blancpain Sprint Series.
Two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were seen testing at Hockenheim on Monday.
The first of the two cars was one of the Prosperia C.ABT Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra vehicles (pictured above). Slobodan Cvetkovic from Prosperia has often competed with R8 LMS and ultra cars in German series like the DMV TCC and Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy. He has already been mentioned as an entrant for the 2014 STT in the Prosperia C.ABT Racing R8 LMS ultra.
The second Audi R8 LMS ultra spotted at Hockenheim was the blue and white ex-Phoenix Racing car from 2013, the car that was used by the Stuck family. The car is currently with Vulkan Racing - Team Mintgen Motorsport, who acquired the car earlier this year and competed in the TCC Winter Challenge.
The entry lists for the opening rounds of the Blancpain GT Series were released on Thursday. Multiple Audi Sport customer racing teams will be fielding Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in both the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Blancpain Sprint Series.
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.
Forty-four entries have committed to the Endurance Series and twenty-two for the Sprint Series.
Blancpain Endurance Series:
Seven Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will be taking part in the Blancpain Endurance Series season opener at Monza from 11-13 April.
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will be fielding two R8 LMS ultra cars in the Pro Cup and one in the Gentlemen Trophy.
Sainteloc Racing will be entering one Pro Cup Audi R8 LMS ultra entry and another in the Gentlemen Trophy.
Team Parker Racing will be debuting their Audi R8 LMS ultra in the Gentlemen Trophy.
The seventh Audi entry is from the Chinese Brothers Racing Team (BRT), who is entering one Audi R8 LMS ultra in the Pro-Am Cup.
Blancpain Sprint Series:
Seven Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will also be present in the Blancpain Sprint Series, which gets underway at Nogaro from 19-21 April.
Four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will be coming from Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, one of which is entered under the G Drive Racing banner. One of the three Belgian Audi Club Team WRT banner cars will be in the Silver Cup.
Phoenix Racing will be entering two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars, along with a single R8 LMS ultra from Team Novadriver.
The entry lists can be seen HERE.
Brothers Racing Team (BRT) from China will be entering the Blancpain Endurance Series this year, joining a number of Audi Sport customer racing teams already entered for the European series.
Earlier during 2014 it was announced that the Brothers Racing Team will be increasing their involvement with Audi Sport customer racing during 2014. The Chinese team fielded a two-car team in the 2013 Audi R8 LMS Cup and will be increasing that number up to four cars in the 2014 edition of the Chinese Audi one-make series and also competing in European GT events.
BRT was out testing their Audi R8 LMS ultra at Silverstone recently (pictured above). “Franky” Cheng Congfu and Sun Zheng have already been mentioned as two of the team’s three drivers for the Blancpain Endurance Series.
The 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series will be getting underway at Monza from 11-13 April.
On Friday Audi revealed that five Audi Sport Customer racing teams will be entering a total of eight Audi R8 LMS ultra cars for the 2014 Nürburgring 24 Hours. Two cars each will be entered by Phoenix Racing, Prosperia C.ABT Racing and Audi race experience (TKL Motorsport), joined by single car entries from G Drive Racing (WRT) and Twin Busch Motorsport. The official Audi press release can be seen HERE.
3. Next Weekend’s events (12-13/04/2014)
- Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy
- Pirelli World Challenge
- Blancpain Endurance Series
All photos are hosted at their respective websites, which are listed within the Weekend Round Up