Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (12-13/04/2014)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 12 - 13 April 2014

2. The Events

  •           Blancpain Endurance Series
  •           VLN
  •           Pirelli World Challenge
  •           STT
  •           VSCRC
  •           British GT Media Day
  •           ADAC GT Masters Test Days

2.1. Blancpain Endurance Series

Monza hosted the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series this weekend, the event that was also the opening round of the new Blancpain GT Series.

Seven Audi R8 LMS ultra cars took part, three from Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, two from Sainteloc Racing and one each from Brothers Racing Team and Team Parker Racing.

Qualifying saw three Audis inside of the top ten, with the #1 WRT R8 LMS ultra in fifth, ahead of the #26 Sainteloc R8 LMS ultra in sixth. The #3 WRT car was ninth.

The three hour race was held on Sunday and concluded with a strong podium finish for Sainteloc Racing, who placed second with their #26 R8 LMS ultra of Edward Sandström, Stephane Ortelli and Gregory Guilvert. The #1 WRT Audi narrowly missed the overall podium and finished fourth. These were the only two Audis within the top twenty.

Brothers Racing Team finished twenty-seventh and Team Parker Racing, who suffered a late race crash, was classified in twenty-eighth. The remaining three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were classified in positions thirty through thirty-two, with the #4 and #3 WRT entries ahead of the #25 Sainteloc Racing R8 LMS ultra.

Round two of the Blancpain Endurance Series will be held at Brand Hatch from 17 -18 May. The second round of the Blancpain GT Series will be the opening round of the Blancpain Sprint Series at Nogaro from 18-21 April.

2.2. VLN

Round two of the VLN Endurance Series was held at the Nürburgring this weekend. A total of twelve Audis took part.

Three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were amongst the entrants, two from Phoenix Racing and one from Twin Busch Motorsport.

The #44 Twin Busch Motorsport Audi R8 LMS qualified seventh, the highest Audi on the grid. The race itself concluded with the #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Phoenix Racing battling for the lead. Ultimately Marcel Fässler and Markus Winkelhock finished second for Phoenix Racing. Their teammates in the #15 Audi R8 LMS ultra finished eighth, ahead of the Twin Busch Motorsport entry in ninth.

The SP3T class was won by the #317 Audi TT RS. Their victory was an Audi TT RS 1-2-3-4 finish in SP3T, with the two LMS Engineering TT RS cars finishing second and third in class, ahead of Raeder Motorsport in fourth. 

Round three of the VLN will be held on 26 April.

2.3. Pirelli World Challenge

The Pirelli World Challenge headed to Long Beach this weekend. An army of Audi R8 LMS ultra cars took part, a total of seven cars from three different teams. 

GMG Racing entered five Audi R8 LMS ultra cars, along with single car entries from JCR Motorsports and the debuting CRP Racing.

The GMG Racing cars were driven by James Sofronas (#14), Andrew Palmer (#21), Bret Curtis (#32), Brent Holden (#44) and Bill Ziegler (#95). The #99 JCR Motorsports R8 LMS ultra was driven by Jeff Courtney and Mike Skeen was behind the wheel of the new #2 CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra.

RS Werkes rounded out the Audi entries with their #01 Audi TT RS in the GTS class, driven by Don Istook.

Andrew Palmer continued his strong form and was once again he was the highest Audi qualifier, placing fifth overall on the grid. James Sofronas was eighth and Mike Skeen was ninth, rounding out the three Audis within the top ten.

The race itself concluded with that trio of Audis finishing within the top six. They were lead by Andrew Palmer in fourth, James Sofronas in fifth and Mike Skeen in sixth. 

Jeff Courtney finished twelfth, Bret Curtis in fifteenth, Brent Holden in sixteenth and Bill Ziegler in nineteenth. Don Istook finished thirty-fourth overall in the #01 Audi TT RS and fourteenth in the GTS class.

Round three of the Pirelli World Challenge will be hosted at Barber Motorsports Park from 25-27 April.

2.4. STT

The German Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy hosted its opening round at the Hockenheim Historic this weekend. A total of six Audis took part, including three Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars.

Edy Kamm took the overall victory in the first race, behind the wheel of his 2004 Audi A4 DTM R11. Maximilian Stein finished fifth overall and third in the D1-2 class with his #69 Audi R8 LMS. Slobodan Cvetkovic was fourth in the D1-2 class, tenth overall, driving the #60 Prosperia C.ABT Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra. Berthold Gruhn was driving the #16 Audi R8 LMS ultra and finished sixteenth overall, taking sixth in the D1-2 class, finishing ahead of the seventeenth placed Besaplast Racing Audi TT RS. Marc Roth won the D2-6 class with his Audi A4 quattro STW.

The second and final race saw Kamm making it a double victory for the day. Maximilian Stein and his R8 LMS again finished fifth overall, but took second in class this time. Cvetkovic finished fourth in class, ahead of the Besaplast Racing TT RS in fifth, both taking ninth and tenth overall respectively. Berthold Gruhn finished seventh in class, outside of the overall top twenty. Marc Roth again won his class in his A4 quattro STW.

Round two of the STT will be heading to Oschersleben, 23-25 May.

2.5. VSCRC

Melbourne Performance Centre fielded two Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars for their customers at the opening round of the 2014 Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships Series this weekend. 

It was the first round of the VSCRC and it was held at Phillip Island. The first of the two MPC Audi cars was the R8 LMS ultra of reigning VSCRC Sports Cars champion, Steven McLaughlan, in the #1 JAMEC PEM Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra. His teammate was South African, Ockert Fourie, behind the wheel of his Ockert Fourie Dental #79 Audi R8 LMS.

Qualifying saw the two Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars placing on pole and eighth, McLaughlan ahead of Fourie. Steven McLaughlan converted pole position into triple race victories on the day. Ockert Fourie finished seventh, fourth and second in the three races. The day was highlighted by the 1-2 finish for the MPC Audis in the third and final race.

Round two of the VSCRC will be held at Sandown from 17-18 May.

Ockert Fourie

2.6. British GT Media Day

The British GT Championship hosted its official Media Day at Donington Park on Tuesday.

United Autosports took part with their #23 Audi R8 LMS ultra, driven by Mathew Bell and Mark Patterson.

The first test session saw the United Autosports R8 LMS ultra at the top of the time sheets. The second session concluded with third place for the R8 LMS ultra, which was also the position for the United Autosports team in the combined classification for the day. They were a mere 0.061 seconds behind the leading #1 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and the second placed #8 BMW Z4 GT3 from 888. The entire top eleven cars were separated by less than a second.

The 2014 British GT Championship will be getting underway at Oulton Park from 19-21 April.

2.7. ADAC GT Masters Test Days

The ADAC GT Masters held official Test Days at Oschersleben on Tuesday and Wednesday. Two Audi Sport customer racing teams took part with a total of four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars.

Two cars were entered by Prosperia C.ABT Racing and a single car from YACO Racing.

The Prosperia C.ABT Racing team is once again planning a three car assault for the ADAC GT Masters, aiming to repeat their 2013 teams' championship title. The team only entered two cars for the official testing.

Prosperia C.ABT Racing entered their #10 and #11 Audi R8 LMS ultra cars for the two days of testing. The #10 entry was driven by René Rast and young South African, Kelvin van der Linde. The #11 entry had Nicki Thiim and Fabian Hamprecht behind the wheel.

YACO Racing took part with their #16 Audi R8 LMS ultra driven by Philip Geipel and Rahel Frey.

The Audi Sport customer racing teams showed good pace during the testing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Three sessions were held on Tuesday. The first session saw the #11 Prosperia car in third, followed by YACO Racing in fifth and the #10 Prosperia car in fifteenth. YACO Racing was fourth fastest during the second session and the two Prosperia C.ABT Racing cars placed sixth and seventh, #10 ahead of #11. Kelvin van der Linde set the fastest Audi time on Wednesday during the third session, placing second in the time sheets. His teammates in the #11 Prosperia R8 LMS ultra were fourth fastest and YACO Racing was tenth.

The final day of testing concluded with two more test sessions on Wednesday. Kelvin van der Linde again showed good pace by setting the fastest time during the fourth session. YACO Racing were fourth fastest and Prosperia #11 was seventh. The #10 Prosperia entry was second fastest during the fifth and final session, ahead of YACO Racing in fourth.

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

2.8. Other Audi News

A FIA World Endurance Championship promotional event was held at Kensington Palace this week. Tom Kristensen and a 2013 Audi R18 e-tron quattro were amongst the drivers and cars present at the event.

The two-time Le Mans winning and FIA WEC championship winning trio of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer will be behind the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS ultra in this year’s Spa 24 Hours. Their Audi R8 LMS ultra will be fielded by Belgian Audi Club Team WRT at the event which will be hosted from 23-27 July.

The DTM hosted a promotional event at Braunschweig this weekend. Edoardo Mortara was present at the event, along with Mike Rockenfeller’s 2013 DTM winning Audi RS 5 DTM from Audi Sport Team Phoenix. YACO Racing’s Audi R8 LMS ultra was also amongst the various cars on display.

MS Racing revealed their new orange and white livery and driver line-up on Friday.

The German team that won the 2012 ADAC GT Masters drivers' and teams' titles will be running under the kfzteile24 APR Motorsport banner this year. Daniel Dobitsch and Florian Stoll will be driving the #100 Audi R8 LMS ultra. Both drivers took part in the 2013 ADAC GT Masters with MS Racing.

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

A new Audi Sport customer racing team has joined the Pirelli World Challenge. On Thursday it was revealed that CRP Racing had acquired an Audi R8 LMS ultra and that it would be driven by Mike Skeen in the GT class of the PWC. He debuted the car on the streets of Long Beach this weekend, round two of the championship.

The French Audi driving experience department has put a new livery on their Audi R8 LMS.

A special retro Audi Sport livery can now been seen on their R8 LMS and was out on track for the first time in 2014 at Le Mans on Thursday.

The car can be seen at many Audi France events and is part of the Audi France Audi driving experience fleet.

DragonSpeed has put their 2012 Audi R8 LMS ultra up for sale.

Just weeks ago the R8 LMS ultra of Elton Julian was listed as an entrant for the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge. However, the DragonSpeed Audi was not present at the first round at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and now the team has announced that the car is for sale.

From the DragonSpeed Facebook page:

Serious enquiries please contact Elton Julian.

Sébastien Loeb Racing was out testing at Nogaro on Wednesday.

The teams was testing their Audi R8 LMS ultra 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).

Paul Miller Racing was out testing at Road Atlanta this week.

Their #48 GT Daytona (GTD) class Audi R8 LMS was testing on the track that the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will be visiting for the Petit Le Mans in October later this year.

The TUSC will soon be heading to round three of the series at Long Beach, however the GTD class will not be taking part there. The GT Daytona class will be back on track at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from 3-4 May, round four.

GMG Racing was out testing at the Thermal Club last week.

The team tested an Audi R8 LMS ultra at the circuit on Friday and Saturday (4-5 April). It was the Audi R8 LMS ultra of Brent Holden, who will be debuting the car at round two of the PWC. He is currently listed in the GT-A class as car #44 on the entry list, entered by GMG Racing.

Brent Holden will be upping GMG Racing's Audi R8 LMS ultra car count up to five cars, joining the four entries that were seen at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He will be seen alongside his GMG Racing teammates: James Sofronas (#14), Andrew Palmer (#21), Bret Curtis (#32) and Bill Ziegler (#95).

The team was preparing for round two of the Pirelli World Challenge at the Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend.

Schütz Motorsport will be fielding an Audi R8 LMS in the DMV TCC season opener at Brno, in the Czech Republic.

The German based DMV TCC entry list includes three Audis. The two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars of Suzanne Weidt and Dietmar Haggenmüller, along with the Schütz Motorsport R8 LMS, to be driven by Maximilian Stein, who also took part in the STT at Hockenheim this weekend.

Schütz Motorsport acquired their R8 LMS at the end of 2013.

The 2014 DMV TCC gets underway at Brno from 25-26 April.

3. Next Weekend’s events (19-20/04/2014)

  •           FIA WEC
  •           BSS
  •           ELMS
  •           V de V
  •           British GT
  •           TSF
  •           Supercar Challenge
  •           BTCC

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