Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blancpain Endurance Series: Good test for Phoenix Racing with the new Audi R8 LMS at Monza

Phoenix Racing Press Release

The new Audi R8 LMS produced a promising performance in the high-calibre field comprised of 58 GT3 sportscars from eleven automobile manufacturers. From the beginning, the new R8 could keep pace with the competition and worked perfectly mechanically. Only the electronics repeatedly slowed the GT3 racecar, which was only unveiled in March. In the first qualifying segment, the Phoenix Audi with start number six set the sixth fastest lap time around the 5.793 kilometre track in the Royal Park of Monza. The R8 finally qualified 14th.

After starting the race from the front of the midfield, Christopher Haase kept the car out of trouble in the start melee as the impressive field of cars stormed away from the grid, and even made up a few places. “With almost 60 cars the start is obviously fairly wild. You have to take a sensible approach and need a bit of luck. However, things turned out okay, the pace was good and I was able to work my way steadily towards the front,” explained Christopher Haase. “The new car is fun to drive, so it was a good idea to use Monza as a test under race conditions.”

Christian Mamerow took over driving duties in the R8 for the middle part of the three-hour race. “My stint was so-so. An electronic problem occasionally upset my rhythm. These things can of course happen at such an early stage of car development. The drivability of the new R8 is already very good. I drove a lot of laps on used tyres in free practice, and got a good feeling for the race in the process.” Things went smoother in the closing stages when Markus Winkelhock could once again make up lost ground. “Our goal was to make the finish and to gain as much experience as possible with the new Audi R8 LMS. We managed this. With this in mind, the result is of less significance, it’s more important that the car feels good and the speed is there. I also learned a lot and was able to adapt my driving style to suit the new car. I go home with a good feeling,” summarised the former GT World Champions positively.

Bernhard Demmer also agreed: “Monza was a good outing for the new Audi R8 LMS. We were able to tick off a lot of points on the check list in the development of this new car,” said the Phoenix GT Team Manager, who was also pleased about the Phoenix mechanics’ fast and precise work and especially the two pit stops.

The next race for the Phoenix squad around Team Boss Ernst Moser is the second round of the VLN endurance championship Nürburgring on April 25.

Photo credit: Phoenix Racing