Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (13-14/04/2013)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing this week on the weekend of 13 - 14 April 2013

2. The Events

  •           FIA WEC
  •           Blancpain Endurance Series
  •           VLN
  •           ELMS
  •           ADAC  GT Masters Test
  •           DTM Test
  •           Austrian Hillclimb
  •           Brazilian Endurance 
  •           Lavanttal Rallye 

2.1. FIA WEC

The FIA World Endurance Championship got underway at Silverstone this weekend. Two 2013 Audi R18 e-tron quattros faced off against two 2012 Toyota TS030 Hybrid cars. The two teams traded fastest times during the weekend with Toyota taking pole position. Toyota lead the race from the line but the Audis soon managed to catch and pass both cars, and continued to lead the race 1-2. The Audis maintained a front running pace, a lap ahead of the Toyotas. There was a race long in-house battle between Audi #1 and Audi #2, influenced by rain and full course yellow periods. The battle continued with multiple lead changes during the race. The race win eventually went in favour of the #2 driving crew, who took the lead in the dying minutes and led home an Audi 1-2. 

2.2. Blancpain Endurance Series

Monza hosted the first round of the Blancpain Endurance Championship. Eight Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were entered by three different teams: three cars from WRT, two from Phoenix Racing and three from Saintéloc. The Audis battled for pace during the sessions and the best Audi in qualifying was in fifth. The race itself saw the Audis fall out of the top ten during the beginning stages, following a number of issues. As the race approached half way the #13 WRT and #16 Phoenix cars had recovered into the top six. #13 was able to penetrate the top three during the final set of pit stops and a fierce battle for second ensued. The #13 lost the second place and then held off another fierce challenge for third. Unfortunately the podium spot was lost at the finish line, as the Audi finished fourth, just 0.028 seconds off the podium. In the end three Audis finished within the top ten. 

2.3. VLN

Round two of the VLN finally got the season underway this weekend, following round one and the test day being cancelled due to bad weather in recent weeks. Twelve Audis were entered at this round, which included three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. The Audis battled during qualifying and the highest placed R8 LMS ultra in the race was the Twin Busch entry in eighth overall. Behind the fight up front there was an Audi 1-2-3 finish in the SP3T class.

Nürburgring FB page

2.4. ELMS

Silverstone also hosted the European Le Mans Series this weekend, with the three hour race taking place on Saturday. The ELMS has introduced the GTC class this year, which allows FIA GT3 cars to take part. One Audi R8 LMS was entered by MOMO Megetron DF1. They qualified on pole, but suffered issues during the race. Ultimately they were classified third in class.

2.5. ADAC GT Masters Test

The ADAC GT Masters held their official media and test days this week. Both Prosperia C.ABT Racing and MS Racing took part, each running their own two-car Audi R8 LMS ultra entry. The tests were held at Oschersleben.

2.6. DTM Test

The DTM hosted another set of group tests this week. Hockenheim was the location which saw all three manufactures taking part in the test. All eight of Audi's drivers took part on various days of the test week. 

2.7. Austrian Hillclimb

The Austrian Hillclimb Championship held the Pöllauberg Hillclimb this weekend. The Audi A4 STW of Andreas Marko took part in the event and won overall.  

2.8. Brazilian Endurance 

The Brazilian Endurance Championship got underway with the Three Hours of Tarumã. A number of Audi powered prototype racers took part, as well as one turbocharged Audi A3. The car was built and entered by MC Tubarão. The A3 won its class on the day, Class IV. 

Brazilian Endurance Championship website

2.9. Lavanttal Rallye 

The Lavanttal Rallye took place in Austria this weekend. A number of Audi cars took part, including an Audi Sport quattro S1 E2. The S1 was marked as a safety/course vehicle and was driven by non-other than Walter Röhrl. He also had an off with the vehicle on one of the stages, more can be read and seen HERE

Motorsport Spielberg FB page

2.10. Other Audi News

MS Racing revealed their 2013 driver line-up this week, ahead of the 2013 ADAC GT Masters. Their two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will be driven by: #1 Sebastian Asch / Florian Stoll and #100 Daniel Dobitsch / Aditya Patel.

Prosperia C. Abt Racing has also revealed their driver line-up for the ADAC GT Masters. The team will field two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars driven by: Rene Rast / Christopher Mies and Christer Jöns / Christian Mamerow.

Dupré Motorsport has built an Audi RS 5 race car. The car debuted in the VLN this weekend. Externally the car resembles the appearance of the RS 5 cars bult by Audi Sport Italia, however this VLN car has been built from scratch by Dupré Motorsport. The car uses the S-Tronic Audi transmission. 

A lot of speculation regarding the homologation of the 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra emerged after the Nogaro FIA GT Series weekend. All the cars at Nogaro competed in 2012 specification, as the new 2013 components had not yet passed homologation. Since then the new Audi R8 LMS ultra cars have been spotted in an intermediate specification. The new cars appear to be using all of the 2013 components (new rear-wing, rear-view mirrors and exhaust setup) with the exception of the new rear diffuser, as the old diffuser has been fitted. All the Audi R8 LMS ultra cars seen this week have been in this configuration (full 2013 spec with 2012 rear diffuser). This includes all the cars seen at the: ADAC GT Masters test, VLN, BES and private testing. This appears to be the current allowed configuration of the car. No official word regarding the final homologation status has been released from any official sources, as of yet. More can be read HERE.

Stefano Ciabattoni - Mr Monza

Team Novadriver were testing at Estoril this week. The team treated the test as a shakedown, part of their continued preparation for round two of the FIA GT Series. The team’s R8 LMS ultra was also seen to be in the 2013 ultra specification (with old rear diffuser).

Istook Motorsports have been hard at work on their two Audi TT RS race cars. They will be revealing their new sponsors and livery very soon. Don Istook is reported to be recovering well following his quadruple bypass last month and the team aims to be back in the SCCA World Challenge later in the year. 

Istook TT RS FB page

3. Next Weekend’s events (20-21/04/2013)

  •           BTCC
  •           Grand-Am
  •           Dutch Supercar
  •           STT
  •           Kerrick Sports Sedans
  •           SCCA World Challenge
  •           V de V
  •           SVRA
  •           BRCC
  •           Targa Tasmania
  •           FIA GT Series
  •           DMV TCC
  •           RCN
  •           SCCA US Majors
  •           Super Taikya

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