Friday, August 17, 2012

Audi aims to continue string of endurance race victories in England

Audi Sport Press Release

·         Le Mans winning trio on grid in Audi R18 e-tron quattro
·         Allan McNish shares R18 ultra with Tom Kristensen at home round
·         Competition of the concepts at Silverstone

Ingolstadt, August 17, 2012 - Audi is entering the crucial phase of the season with the momentum of three victories achieved by the R18. At Silverstone (Great Britain), the fourth of eight rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship will be held on August 26.
Sports car fans are looking forward to the upcoming race in the United Kingdom with eager anticipation. After Audi clinched its eleventh victory at Le Mans, and celebrated the first win of a hybrid vehicle, the next challenges are now to be tackled. For the first time in two decades, the FIA is sanctioning a world championship title for the sports car sector and this battle is now entering its crucial phase. Within the space of just nine weeks, the WEC is holding events in five countries on three continents, starting at Silverstone in Great Britain. 

There are several reasons that raise suspense to particularly high levels. No less than three different Audi driver squads have won the first three rounds - with three different versions of the R18 sports car. In addition, challenger Toyota showed a remarkable performance on its premiere at Le Mans, so that a tough duel can be expected in the second half of the season. 
There is a third thrilling aspect that makes the LMP sports cars particularly intriguing from a technological point of view. As the conditions for hybrid vehicles vary from track to track there is really no way of telling which concept will ultimately prevail. One of the reasons for this lies in the individual layouts of the various tracks and the other in the definitions by the FIA and WEC sporting authorities. For the 5.901-kilometer circuit at Silverstone, for instance, only four braking zones are planned in which the energy that is recovered in braking events may be released again.
Right at the beginning of the season, Audi decided to contest the rounds following the 24-hour race with a hybrid vehicle and a conventionally powered race car. After their second consecutive Le Mans victory, Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer are driving the R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car designated as car number "1." Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, who are running as a duo, are switching to the cockpit of the Audi R18 ultra that will be marked as car number "2." With an advantage of only 6.5 points, they are leading the standings in front of the Le Mans winners.

For McNish, who has been victorious at Silverstone with Audi as many as three times, the fourth race of the season is a home round. And for Audi, the event is about clinching the first victory on this tradition-steeped track in four years. But Great Britain not only has high sporting value for the brand with the four rings, as the United Kingdom has continued to be its second-largest European sales market through the first half of 2012. 
Spectators watching the race on a screen have numerous information channels available to them. In addition to national TV broadcasts, offers unique cockpit camera perspectives and consolidated race reports. Plus the Audi Sport iPhone app covers WEC reporting with tickers, news, pictures and results. 
Topics of the weekend
-How will the R18 e-tron quattro benefit from the Silverstone track and how the R18 ultra?
-How well will Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen adjust to the R18 ultra?
-How will the battle with Toyota develop?
-Which driver team will leave Silverstone as the leaders of the standings at the season’s midpoint?

Quotes by the officials

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):
 "At Silverstone, I’m expecting a very close battle with Toyota. We’ve analyzed the lap times at Le Mans. By applying this knowledge to the specific requirements at Silverstone we’ve got to assume that our opponent Toyota will probably be competing at a high level. So the question of who can deliver the better performance for six hours straight and stay clear of all trouble will be crucial."
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): "This is guaranteed to be a thrilling race. We’re again running with two concepts and we’ve got to wait and see which of these will be the better one at Silverstone. Toyota showed its capabilities for the first time this summer at Le Mans and lasted for a six-hour distance. It’s true that Audi has won all races so far but the competitive pressure is rising. Not even the manufacturers’ world championship has been decided yet, and the drivers’ championship is wide open. Our aim is to keep a clean slate at the season’s last European race."

Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers

Marcel Fässler (36/CH), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1

-In 2009, as the runner-up, achieved his best Silverstone result
-The Le Mans winner is contesting the remainder of the season with two team-mates
"I’m really happy to continue to drive the R18 e-tron quattro that we were so successful with at Le Mans. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to contest the entire championship. My team-mates and I won Le Mans for the second time. Now the next challenge is following. We want to battle for the title in this new championship because we’ve only got a deficit of 6.5 points. But with five rounds to go it’s still a long road."
André Lotterer (30/D), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1
-Has already scored two Le Mans victories
-Has been on pole twice in the first three races of the season
"We’re traveling to Silverstone with a very positive feeling. I’m pleased to be sharing the car with Benoît (Tréluyer) and Marcel (Fässler). We get on really well and are a team. It’s been a long break after Le Mans. I’m happy that there’s a world championship now as well. That’s another motivation boost. When I was racing at Silverstone in Formula 3 I was very familiar with the track but it has significantly changed since then. So I did my home work on my simulator. I’m hoping for us to be able to take the lead of the standings." 
Benoît Tréluyer (35/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1
-Celebrated his second Le Mans victory in June
-Has never contested a sports car race at Silverstone before
"I’m happy about the trust that is being placed in us. The Le Mans winning trio has been given the opportunity to contest the entire WEC season through to the finale for Audi and fight for the title. The season will be exciting because there are still five races on the calendar. However, I’m not familiar with all the tracks yet that we’ll be driving on. I’ve completed a large number of virtual laps at Silverstone on my new race simulator to optimally prepare myself. Now I’m really eager to see what the real track will be like."
Tom Kristensen (45/DK), Audi R18 ultra #2
-The eight-time Le Mans winner was victorious at the WEC opening race in March
-The leader of the standings is sharing the R18 ultra with Allan McNish for the first time
"After Le Mans, there’s been a summer break and now we’re moving forward again on the calendar. All the batteries have been recharged again. We’re leading the standings after Sebring, Spa and Le Mans. Allan (McNish) and I are now sharing an Audi R18 ultra. The battle between the concepts is a nice challenge. The race at Silverstone will no doubt be a thriller. It would be great to be in contention for the top spot on the podium at Allan’s home round."
Allan McNish (42/GB), Audi R18 ultra #2
-Has won his home round as many as three times
-Is traveling to Silverstone as leader of the WEC standings
-Started from the first row in the past two years
"Tom (Kristensen) and I are leading the drivers’ world championship. At my home round, before we’re traveling to Brazil, we are clearly aiming to build on our championship lead. Silverstone is a tricky track. You’ve got to master the quick turns but not lose any time in the slow corners either. The same goes for our technical crew."
The Audi drivers at Silverstone

Marcel Fässler (CH):
 *May 27, 1976 in Einsiedeln (CH); residence: Gross (CH); married to Isabel, four daughters (Shana, Elin, Yael and Delia); height 1.78 m; weight 78 kg; Audi driver since 2008; Le Mans victories: 2; WEC races: 3; WEC victories: 1; WEC pole positions: 0; WEC fastest laps: 1; best result Silverstone: 2
Tom Kristensen (DK): *Jul 07, 1967 in Hobro (DK); residence: Monaco (MC); single (partner: Hanne), two sons (Oliver and Oswald) and one daughter (Carla Malou); height: 1.74 m; weight: 72 kg; Audi driver since 2000; Le Mans victories: 8; WEC races: 3; WEC victories: 1; WEC pole positions: 0; WEC fastest laps: 0; best result Silverstone: 7
André Lotterer (D): *Nov 19, 1981 in Duisburg (D); residence: Tokyo (J); single; height 1.84 m; weight 74 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Le Mans victories: 2; WEC races: 3; WEC victories: 1; WEC pole positions: 2; WEC fastest laps: 1; best result Silverstone: -

Allan McNish (GB):
 *Dec 29, 1969 in Dumfries (GB); residence: Monaco (MC); married to Kelly, one son (Finlay), one daughter (Charlotte); height: 1.65 m; weight: 60 kg; Audi driver since 2000; Le Mans victories: 2; WEC races: 3; WEC victories: 1; WEC pole positions: 1; WEC fastest laps: 0; best result Silverstone: 1

Benoît Tréluyer (F):
 *Dec 07, 1976 in Alençon (F); residence: Gordes (F); married to Melanie, 1 son (Jules); height 1.78 m; weight 68 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Le Mans victories: 2; WEC races: 3; WEC victories: 1; WEC pole positions: 0; WEC fastest laps: 0; best result Silverstone: -
All Silverstone winners (since 2000)
2000 Müller/Lehto (BMW)
2004 McNish/Kaffer (Audi)
2005 McNish/Ortelli (Audi)

2007 Gené/Minassian (Peugeot)
2008 McNish/Capello (Audi)
2009 Panis/Lapierre (Oreca)
2010 Davidson/Minassian (Peugeot)
2011 Pagenaud/Bourdais (Peugeot)
Track info
Track length: 5.901 km 
Race duration: 6 hours
Qualifying record on this track: Allan McNish (Audi), Sep 11, 2010, 1m 43.475s (204.954 km/h)
Race record on this track: Nicolas Lapierre (Peugeot), Sep 12, 2010, 1m 44.338s (203.259 km/h)
Pole position 2011: Simon Pagenaud (Peugeot), Sep 10, 2011, 1m 43.924s (204.068 km/h)
Fastest lap 2011: Sébastien Bourdais (Peugeot), Sep 11, 2011, 1m 46.586s (198.972 km/h)

Allan McNish about Silverstone:
 "Silverstone is the epitome of motorsport in the UK for many visitors. My career in car racing started there as well. At that time, the former airfield was a high-speed facility. Since then, many sections have been modified, which has resulted in a very tricky track. On the one hand, a lot of the fast places, such as Copse, Maggotts and Becketts, have remained. The new first turn is fast as well. But there are several very slow corners too. You arrive at high speed but then the car has to be pleasant to drive even in very narrow places. Principally speaking, our cars were obviously optimized for Le Mans. But that’s a piece of this puzzle: you’ve got to master the fast turns but not lose any time in the slow corners either. This goes for us drivers as well as for the work of the technical crew that sets up our cars."
WEC drivers’ standings after 3 of 8 rounds
1 Capello/Kristensen/McNish, 77 points; 2 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer, 70,5; 3 Dumas/Duval, 67; 4 Gené, 49; 5 Heidfeld/Jani/Prost, 42,5; 6 Dalziel/Potolicchio, 31,5; 7 Dumbreck/Chandhok/Brabham, 22,5; 8 Ayari/Kaffer/Companc 20,5; 9 Bernhard, 18; 10 Kimber-Smith, 16.

WEC manufacturers’ standings after 3 of 8 rounds

1 Audi, 103 points, 2 Toyota, 0.
Schedule (local times; CET - 1 hour)

Friday, August 24

11:30-13:00 Free practice 1
16:00-17:30 Free practice 2
Saturday, August 25
11:00-12:00 Free practice 3
15:20-15:40 Qualifying LMP1 & LMP2
Sunday, August 26
08:55-09:15 Warm-up
12:00-18:00 Race
Approx. 18:15 FIA WEC press conference