Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (12-13/01/2012)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing this week on the weekend of 12 - 13 January 2013

2. The Events

  •           Dubai 24 Hours

2.1. Dubai 24 Hours

The Dubai 24 Hours marked the first big endurance race of the 2013 season. Originally four Audis had been entered. An Audi TT RS VLN from Besaplast, one R8 LMS ultra from DragonSpeed and two from WRT. The WRT team wished to fill the seats of their cars with Audi factory drivers, as they have done at endurance events in the past. Unfortunately very few drivers were available due to the massive Audi Sport presence in the 2013 Daytona 24 Hours program. Thus WRT made the difficult discussion to withdraw from the event, despite the team and both cars having arrived on site in containers in Dubai during the week before the race.

After the withdrawal of WRT, Audi was represented by Besaplast and DragonSpeed in the 2013 Dubai 24 Hours. It was the debut event for the DragonSpeed Audi. The team own the only American Audi R8 LMS ultra. They entered the car in the Pro-Am class and qualified in twenty-fourth overall, right in front of the Besaplast TT RS. During the race the DragonSpeed car ran steadily whilst the Besaplast TT RS suffered various problems which dropped them well down the order, ultimately being classified in sixty-fifth place overall. The Audi R8 LMS ultra from DragonSpeed continued to run well during the morning and climbed up to its eventual finishing position of eleventh place, just outside the top ten.  

2.2. Other Audi News

It has been announced that the Audi R8 will be the official pace car for the 2013 Daytona 24 Hours. A total of four Audi R8 GRAND-AM race cars will line up to compete in the event, entered by APR Motorsport, Alex Job Racing and Rum Bum Racing.

The 2013 BTCC team announcements have taken place at the Autosport International Show. The announcements included the return of Rob Austin Racing. The team have a full season budget and will race under the WIX Racing banner. Both Audi A4 NGTC cars will be entered, one for Rob Austin and the second for Will Bratt.

An Audi R18 e-tron quattro was on display at the 2013 CES event (Consumer Electronics Show) hosted in Las Vegas. The 2012 Le Mans winning drivers, Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Treluyer, were also present.

Details regarding the new upcoming FIA GT Series were announced this week. The championship will feature six races during 2013. WRT, Team Nova Driver and Phoenix Racing have already confirmed their full season participation in the new series with Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. Saintéloc has confirmed participation at the French round and the SUNRED team have expressed interest in running Audis in the 2013 season.

Jamaican Doug Gore has travelled to Germany this weekend. He will be testing his ABT-Audi TT-R at Hockenheim. At the first round of the 2012 Caribbean Championship held at Dover in Jamaica, he suffered a large crash which damaged the chassis of the Audi. The car subsequently missed the rest of 2012 season as it travelled back to Germany. The car has been repaired by ABT Sportsline and will be out on track at Hockenheim for the tests.    

Donavan Montague on FB

Don Istook has arrived in Britain where he has planned a number of visits. Among the visits on his schedule was to evaluate the Audi R8 LMS of GT3 Racing which is for sale. The evaluation was for a possible client of the Istook team.

Two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars are now in Australia. Both cars will be entered in the 2013 Bathurst 12 Hours, and will be run by Melbourne Performance Centre. The first car is that of Rod Salmon. He purchased the 2012 Bathurst winning car and has had it upgraded to ultra specification. The second car is that of Mark Eddy. Eddy has sold his older 2009 specification Audi R8 LMS and has now, with Marc Cini, co-purchased the Audi R8 LMS ultra which won the 2012 Macau GT Cup. Both cars will be tested at the end of January as the Bathurst preparations continue.

Phoenix Racing, the reigning Bathurst 12 Hour champions have announced their driver line up for the 2013 event. The car will be driven by Harold Primat, Johan Kristoffersson and Andreas Simonsen. They also revealed the new livery for their Audi R8 LMS ultra, it is a combination of the two 2012 liveries, with the black widow spider and kangaroo themes. Phoenix Racing and MPC join many other Audi teams at the 2013 Bathurst 12 Hours which will see up to seven Audi R16 cars take part. FB page

Tennis world number one, Novak Djokovic, was faced off in a speed challenge against an Audi R8 LMS on Friday in Australia. It was a publicity event for the new HEAD Graphene™ Speed tennis racquet. The challenge itself included the Audi R8 LMS trying to outrun a serve by Djokovic. The Audi R8 LMS had a running start with the serve taking place as the car approached Djokovic. However despite the GT3 specification car's great speed abilities, it was no match for the acceleration of the tennis ball after being served by the world’s number one player. It was a Merlbroune Perdformance Centre prepared Audi R8 LMS, the same car which Mark Eddy drove to the 2011 Australian GT Championship title.

During the week Audi Sport media released more CAD renders of the 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra along with the 2013 Audi R8 GRAND AM. The CAD drawings allow further detail of the new ultra to be seen, and also offers a clear perspective of the differences between the two R16 versions as seen above: The R8 GRAND AM on the left and the Audi R8 LMS ultra on the right.

Official Audi Sport FB page

3. Next Weekend’s events (19-20/01/2013)

  •           TBA

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