By Tarek Ramchani
The Audi brand had a great 2014 season in North America. Audi customer teams performed very well in the two main sportscar racing series, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Pirelli World Challenge.
In TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Audi took a single race victory, the season finale at the prestigious Petit Le Mans with Paul Miller Racing. Christopher Haase and Bryce Miller driving for Paul Miller Racing Audi squad finished second overall in the final GT Daytona standing. Great performances as well from the Flying Lizard Motorsports team who came close to race victories in many races facing a lot of bad luck. Audi was fourth in GTD manufacturers standing. These are great results given how penalized the Audi R8 LMS was in GT Daytona class with an unfair Balance of Performance for most parts of the 2014 season.
The very same in Pirelli World Challenge where Audi driver Mike Skeen ended in a very strong second after a great season with his CRP Racing team. GMG Racing entered multiple cars showing a great pace and collecting some race wins. Audi finished second in the manufacturers championship close behind Cadillac.
The teams in the two series have a good factory support from Audi Sport customer racing North America. It is true the teams are privateers and there is no factory Audi team in North American sportscar racing, yet motorsport is vital for Audi USA and the Audi R8 is an ideal platform in one of the most important markets for Audi worldwide. And there is no doubts that the GT3 in America in the last couple of years boosted the brand's presence in the top sportscar racing following amazing successes as a factory team in the American Le Mans Series.
Special credits here to Brad Kettler and the Kettler Motor Werks team who are in charge of taking care of all the Audi R8 LMS and Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in North America. Kettler's squad is heavily involved in Audi's GT victories with a world class technical support to the customer R8 LMS teams in TUSC and Pirelli World Challenge.
Our friends at RACER.com had a chat with Tristan Herbert who is in charge of motorsport and customer racing at Audi USA. A very interesting Q/A about the level of support that the Audi brands gives to the customer teams, a review to the 2014 season in TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and expectations for the 2015 season and beyond.
RACER.com interview with Tristan Herbert can be read here.
Photo credit: Audi Media