Weekend Round Up – Audi Motorsport Blog (29-30/03/2014)

What was Audi up to this past weekend.

Weekend Round Up – Audi Motorsport Blog (29-30/03/2014)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 29 - 30 March 2014

2. The Events

          FIA WEC Paul Ricard Test Days (28-29/03)           VLN           Pirelli World Challenge           Australian GT           Super Taikyu           South African Production Cars           BTCC           RCCO           Austrian Hillclimb           Brněnský drak

2.1. FIA WEC Paul Ricard Test Days

The official FIA World Endurance Championship test days concluded at Paul Ricard on Saturday. Audi Sport Team Joest showed good pace during the two-day test.

The FIA World Endurance Championship hosted The Prologue this week, the official two-day test at Paul Ricard. All three of the factory LMP1 teams took part: Audi, Porsche and Toyota.

Audi Sport Team Joest entered two new 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars at the test session, the same two driver combinations that are entered for the full 2014 FIA WEC season.

The #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro was driven by Tom Kristensen, Loïc Duval and Lucas di Grassi. The sister #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro was driven by Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer.

Five sessions were spread across the two days of testing, three on Friday and two on Saturday.

Audi topped the first test session and then set the second and fourth fastest times during the afternoon and night sessions. Saturday morning again saw Audi at the top of the time sheets and again during the final session during the afternoon.

The overall results for the weekend revealed that the 1:41.289 lap time, set by the #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid, was the fastest time overall. The #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro was second fastest, ahead of the #14 Porsche, the #7 Toyota, the #1 Audi and the #8 Toyota.

Silverstone will be hosting the opening round of the 2014 FIA WEC on 20 April.

Audi Communications - Motorsport

2.2. VLN

The opening round of the 2014 VLN Endurance Series was held at the Nürburgring this weekend. It was a victorious event for Phoenix Racing. Their #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra was driven by Frank Stippler, Laurens Vanthoor and Marc Basseng. Phoenix Racing took pole position and overall victory at the event.

A total of eleven Audi race cars started the event, including two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars, one car each from Phoenix Racing and Twin Busch Motorsport. There was more Audi success in the various classes, as Møller Bil Motorsport won the SP3T class with their #334 Audi TT RS, ahead of the two SP3T TT RS cars from LMS Engineering. SP4T was won by the Pro Handicap Audi TTS.

Round two of the VLN will be held on 12 April.

2.3. Pirelli World Challenge

The Pirelli World Challenge got underway at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg this weekend. A total of six Audi race cars were entered. GMG Racing fielded four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. James Sofronas drove the #14 GMG R8 LMS ultra in the GT class and his three teammates were entered in the GT-A class: Andrew Palmer (#21), Bret Curtis (#32) and Bill Ziegler (#95).

JCR Motorsports entered the #99 Audi R8 LMS ultra for Jeff Courtney in the GT-A class. RS Werkes Racing fielded one of their Audi TT RS cars for Don Istook in the GTS class.

Andrew Palmer was the highest Audi driver on the grid, having qualified in ninth place. He then successfully moved forward during the race to finish third overall, taking the GT-A class victory.

James Sofronas finished fifth overall, followed by Jeff Courtney in thirteenth, Bret Curtis in fourteenth and Bill Ziegler in seventeenth. Don Istook finished twelfth within the GTS class.

Round two of the Pirelli World Challenge will be heading to the Grand Prix of Long Beach, 11-13 April.

Pirelli World Challenge website

2.4. Australian GT

Sandown Raceway hosted the opening round of the 2014 Australian GT Championship. Three Audi R8 LMS cars were entered in the GT Trophy class and scored very good results this weekend.

The three Audi R8 LMS cars were entered in the GT Trophy class this weekend, all of them run by Melbourne Performance Centre.

The first Audi was that of reigning GT Trophy champion, Steve McLaughlan, who was driving the #75 JAMEC PEM Audi R8 LMS. Dean Koutsoumidis and James Winslow were sharing the #71 Equity-One Motorsport Audi R8 LMS. The third Audi was the #6 Skwirk.com.au Audi R8 LMS of Rod Salmon, who was driving this R8 LMS whilst his primary Audi R8 LMS ultra is being repaired, following the qualifying crash at Bathurst. He is leasing the R8 LMS from Peter Conroy. Salmon was sharing the #6 R8 LMS with Liam Talbot.

Equity-One Motorsport took the GT Trophy class pole position with their #71 R8 LMS and backed that up by finishing third in class during race one. Steve McLaughlan finished second in class with his #75 R8 LMS and the #6 R8 LMS was fourth.

The second one-hour race was held on Sunday. Equity-One Motorsport emerged in second position within the GT Trophy class, with Dean Koutsoumidis and James Winslow in the #71 Audi R8 LMS. The #75 Audi R8 LMS was third in class and the #6 R8 LMS in fourth.

The weekend’s results were enough to ensure that the three MPC run Audi R8 LMS cars are currently occupying the top three positions in the GT Trophy Championship points standings. Dean Koutsoumidis and James Winslow are jointly leading the championship alongside Steve McLaughlan, all on 77 points. Rod Salmon and Liam Talbot are lying third with 60 points.

The next round of the Australian GT Championship will be held at Phillip Island from 23-25 May.

Melbourne Performance Centre FB page

2.5. Super Taikyu

The Japanese Super Taikyu Endurance Series got underway at Twin Ring Motegi this weekend. Direction Racing fielded an Audi R8 LMS ultra and achieved a podium result.

The #32 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Direction Racing (K's Frontier) was entered in the ST-X class (GT3) and driven by Taiyou Iida, Tetsuo Ogino, Shinichi Takagi and Takashi Kobayashi.

They successfully qualified second overall and completed the wet five hour race in third overall, taking second in the ST-X class. They finished behind the race winning #24 Nissan GTR GT3 (ST-X class) and the #9 BMW Z4 (ST-1 class).

The next round of the Super Taikyu will be hosted at Sugo, 24-25 May.

2.6. South African Production Cars

Round two of the South African Bridgestone Production Cars Championship was held at Killarney in Cape Town this weekend. Four Audi S4 cars were fielded by two teams, Terry Moss Racing and Audi Sasolracing.

Michael Stephen took pole position in the #1 TMR Audi S4 and he then converted it into a race victory, taking the race one victory on the day. Hennie Groenewald and Gennaro Bonafede finished third and fourth in the pair of Audi Sasolracing Audi S4s. Simon Moss finished sixth in the second TMR Audi S4. The second and final race was won by the ADF Motorsport BMW team, taking a 1-2 finish with Gavin Cronje and Johan Fourie in the BMW 335i cars. Mr Consistency, Michael Stephen, took third place in the second race and in doing so, took the lead in the Class A points. Gennaro Bonafede finished fourth, ahead of Hennie Groenewald in fifth. Simon Moss was running as high as second, but dropped back after his suspension broke.

The third round will be held at Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth on 3 May.

2.7. BTCC

Brands Hatch hosted the opening round of the British Touring Car Championship this weekend. Rob Austin Racing fielded two Audi A4 cars and it was the debut for Rotek Racing’s new Audi S3 sedan.

Rob Austin in the RAR Audi A4 qualified in eleventh place. He was ahead of his RAR teammate, Hunter Abbott, who qualified twenty-first. Robb Holland qualified twenty-eighth in the Rotek Racing Audi S3.

The first race saw Rob Austin storming to fifth place, Abbott moved up to eighteenth and Holland up to twenty-third. Race two concluded with Abbott in eighteenth and Holland in twenty-second. Rob Austin retired on lap five.

The third and final race of the day saw another strong performance from Rob Austin, as he recovered from twenty-eighth to eleventh position. His teammate, Abbott, finished fifteenth. Further back Robb Holland achieved his goal of a top twenty result for the Audi S3’s debut by finishing twentieth.

The next BTCC Round will be at Donington Park from 19-20 April.

Phil Laughton Photography FB page

2.8. RCCO

The 2014 rallye racing Carrera Cup (RCCO) Slotcar Championship held its second round, the PAGID RS Just a minute, at the Hanse-Ring in Harburg on Wednesday evening.

Audi Team tv racing again entered two Audi R8 LMS ultra slotcars. The #1 Schaeffler R8 LMS ultra was piloted by Thomas Voigt, alongside his teammate, Felipe Fénandez Laser, in the #77 Speedpool Audi.

Qualifying proved to be very close. Thomas Voigt narrowly missed out on pole position. He was a mere 0.004 seconds behind the pole sitter, Stefan Waschow (Volkswagen Polo R WRC).

The evening's racing concluded with another podium finish for Thomas Voigt and the #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra. He backed up his second place at the first round by placing third during round two on Wednesday. The race was won by Stefan Waschow with the Volkswagen Polo R WRC and Jürgen Stüdemann finished second with his Porsche 911 RSR.

Audi Team tv racing’s Thomas Voigt now jointly leads the championship alongside Jürgen Stüdemann (PROTOTYP-Shell/Porsche 911 RSR), both on 47 points. In the teams' standings Audi Team tv racing are in second place, 22 points behind the leading Volkswagen Motorsport team. Audi is lying third in the manufactures standings, behind Joest-Bentley and Volkswagen.

It was a very exciting evening of racing and the series will be hosting round three next month. The third round will be the Porsche Grand Prix Hamburg at Porsche Zentrum Hamburg, on 30 April at 18:30 local time.

2.9. Austrian Hillclimb

The Austrian Hillclimb Championship hosted the Bergrallye Pöllauberg Hillclimb event this weekend. Two Audi race cars were entered, the modified Audi S2 coupe of Karl Werner and the Audi A4 quattro STW of Andreas Marko.

Marko Racing Team FB page

The Brněnský drak was held at Brno in the Czech Republic this weekend. Vitver Vláďa took part in the event with his modified ABT-Audi TT-R from SVC Náchod Motorsport.

2.11. Other Audi News

The 2014 Le Mans Warm Up was held in France on Monday. Audi Sport revealed the livery of the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro during this special event. Tom Kristensen drove the car from the city centre in Le Mans, all the way to the legendary race circuit.

The new configuration of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro was also revealed at the occasion. The new 2014 LMP1 car from Audi has a 4.0 litre V6 turbo diesel engine and opted for a 2MJ energy recovery per lap. The system is a fly-wheel based recovery system on the front axle, similar to the previous versions of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro.

Audi Communications - Motorsport

Audi Sport revealed the Hoffmann Group as a new DTM partner on Friday. Jamie Green will be driving the orange #21 Hoffmann Group sponsored Audi RS 5 DTM from Audi Sport Team Rosberg.

Audi Communications - Motorsport

Audi was well represented at the Techno Classica. A number of Audi and Audi related historic vehicles were on display, including Auto Union Grand Prix cars and two LMP cars. The two Le Mans Prototypes included an Audi R8R from Sebring 1999 and the 2013 Le Mans winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro.

Fourtitude.com website [Roger Mecking]

On Monday Sébastien Loeb Racing revealed a teaser of their Audi R8 LMS ultra livery and also announced their first confirmed driver.

The team is currently preparing for a two-car Audi R8 LMS ultra entry in the French GT-Tour and also a single car entry in the European Le Mans Series.

The first confirmed driver for Sébastien Loeb Racing is Mike Parisy. He will be behind the wheel of one of the team’s two R8 LMS ultra entries in the French GT Tour and also in the ELMS.

The European Le Mans Series will be getting under way at Silverstone from 18-19 April, followed by the opening round of the French GT Tour round at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans from 26-27 April.

Sébastien Loeb Racing FB page

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT was out testing at Zolder on Thursday.

The Belgian Audi Sport customer racing team entered multiple Audi R8 LMS ultra cars at the general Thursday Zolder test day.

They are currently preparing for a multi-car assault on the 2014 Blancpain GT Series, with up to four cars planned to be entered. Three cars will be entered in the Blancpain Endurance Series, with a fourth car planned for the 24 Hours of Spa. Four WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will be seen in the Blancpain Sprint Series.

Sébastien Loeb Racing revealed their 2014 Audi R8 LMS ultra livery in full on Friday.

The French team acquired two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars for the 2014 season and they are currently preparing for a two-car assault on the French GT Tour and a single car entry for the European Le Mans Series GTC class.

Mike Parisy was announced as one of the team's drivers earlier this week and two further drivers were announced on Friday. Roland Berville and Anthony Beltoise will be piloting the #50 Audi R8 LMS ultra in the GT Tour. Parisy will be one of the drivers behind the wheel of the team's other R8 LMS ultra in the GT Tour and also their single car entry in the ELMS.

The European Le Mans Series will be getting under way at Silverstone from 18-19 April, followed by the opening round of the French GT Tour round at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans from 26-27 April.

GaazMaster Motorsport FB page / Sébastien Loeb Racing FB page

JCR Motorsports (Jeff Courtney Racing) and Jeff Courtney were out testing their Audi R8 LMS ultra at Sebring recently.

The team is preparing their Audi R8 LMS ultra for the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge. They have also recently upgraded their Audi from the R8 GRAND-AM specification into the FIA GT3 specification Audi R8 LMS ultra. Jeff Courtney will be driving the #99 JCR Audi.

Jeff Courtney Racing FB page

The DTM teams arrived at the Hungaroring this weekend, ahead of the official DTM testing at the venue from 31 March until 3 April. Four Audi RS 5 DTM cars are present, one each from the four entered teams: Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and Audi Sport Team Abt.

All eight of the Audi drivers will be taking part in the test days, sharing the four cars: Miguel Molina, Jamie Green, Adrien Tambay, Mike Rockenfeller, Mattias Ekström, Edoardo Mortara, Timo Scheider and Nico Müller.

Audi Sport Italia has announced their second Audi RS 5 quattro driver for the EuroV8 Seires. Davide Stancheris will be joining the already announced Tomáš Kostka. They will behind the wheel of two of the Audi Sport Italia Audi RS 5 quattro cars. Audi Sport Italia FB page

3. Next Weekend’s events (5-6/04/2014)

          ELMS Test Days (1-2 April)           Japanese Super GT           Dutch Supercar Challenge Test Day (4 April)           RCN           EuroV8 Series

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

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