Motorsport Newsletter 27/2011: A weekend marked by the Audi R8
- Meeting of the Spa winners at Oschersleben
- Mattias Ekström wins slot car race
- Podium places at Assen and Portimão
Audi R8 not only caused a sensation at the Sepang (Malaysia) 12 Hours and at national GT3 races last weekend. The fascinating mid-engine sports car made a grand appearance during the DTM event at Oschersleben as well.
Meeting of the winners: At the end of July Greg Franchi at the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS together with Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider won the 24-hour race at Spa (Belgium). At Oschersleben the Belgian paid a visit to his Spa team-mates at the DTM and had the two former champions explain the Audi A4 DTM to him. In addition, Franchi chauffeured guests around the race track in an Audi R8 LMS.
Fascination R8: That the Audi R8 is a race car for the road was demonstrated to journalists at the DTM event at Oschersleben. They were given the opportunity to sit in the passenger’s seat of a production R8, with Audi factory drivers Edoardo Mortara, Timo Scheider and Martin Tomczyk explaining the track to them.
One-two-three victory: The Audi R8 LMS is also successful in scale 1:24. At the eighth round of the "rallye racing Carrera Cup”, an endurance race for slot cars, Audi celebrated a one-two-three triumph. The winning team included the two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekström. A strong performance was also shown by Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, who stood in for Mike Rockenfeller in the finale and together with slot car pro Matthias Parke finished as the runner-up. Third place went to Jürgen Jungklaus and Markus Michelberger, the race engineers of Martin Tomczyk and Miguel Molina in the DTM.
From the race track to the road: A day after the Sepang 12 Hours Audi’s customers received a special treat. The two racers Marco Werner and Darryl O’Young, who had been contesting the event in the R8 LMS just the day before, gave 300 guests of Audi Singapore valuable tips for driving at the limit on the race track at the Audi driving experience.
Racers among themselves: Ludde Ingvall, the skipper and builder of the Audi ultra yacht, visited the Sepang 12 Hours. As a former amateur racer, the two-time world champion in the Maxi class is also thrilled with the motorsport program of the brand. His boat, one of the world’s only five Super Maxi yachts, competes for the Audi ultra racing team under the Singapore flag. The carbon fiber boat advertises the Le Mans winning Audi ultra lightweight technology.
Rapid market launch: Audi Singapore used the Sepang 12 Hours to impressively present a new model. The Audi RS 3 for the regional market was unveiled at the Audi Lounge above the pit lane garage on Saturday night.
Happy faces: A group of orphans from three regional care centers visited the Sepang 12 Hours at the invitation of the organizer SIC. Audi made it possible for the children and teenagers between the ages of five and 16 to have free admission to the two R8 LMS cars, the team and the drivers. Many happy faces gave proof of an unforgettable day.
Lead defended: With a 13-point advantage the Audi drivers Marco Bonanomi and Andrea Sonvico are starting into the finale of the Italian GT Championship at Monza. On the penultimate race weekend at Vallelunga Audi Sport Italia with its two Audi R8 LMS cars clinched a third, a fourth and a tenth place.
Still in the title race: ABT Sportsline continues to have chances for the title in the ADAC GT Masters. At Assen the team clinched two podium places in Saturday’s race: Christer Jöns, who on the day before had clinched his first pole position in the series, occupied second place overall together with Christopher Mies. Luca Ludwig and Jens Klingmann finished in third place. On Sunday Jöns/Mies recovered to sixth place after a drive-through penalty.
Three-time runners-up: Ni Amorim and César Campaniço finished both races of the fourth round of the Portuguese GT Championship season at Portimão in the Audi R8 LMS of the Nova Driver team as the runners-up. In the overall standings they are ranking in second place with a gap of only six points as well.
"O’zapft is” — the keg’s been tapped: Two days before the official start of the October Fest in Munich the Audi DTM squad celebrated the beginning of the "Wiesn” festival. The traditional tapping of the keg was done by Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, who like the DTM drivers Timo Scheider and Martin Tomczyk was wearing Bavarian lederhosen.
Minute of remembrance: Before the start of the DTM race at Oschersleben the DTM drivers paid their respects to Christian Bakkerud. The Dane was killed in a traffic accident at the age of just 26.
Prominent guests: Michael Dick, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development of AUDI AG, visited the DTM race at Oschersleben, as did Formula 1 racer Timo Glock, Herta BSC goalkeeper Thomas Kraft and musician Joey Kelly. Kraft and Kelly were also treated to a ride in the Audi A4 DTM race taxi.
Presentation: Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer had a grand appearance at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. The Le Mans winners presented the brand’s new S-models, S6, S7 and S8, at the AUDI AG press conference on Tuesday. Fässler flew directly from Frankfurt to the 12-hour race at Sepang.
Premiere: The new Audi A5 DTM completed the first joint test with its future competitors at the Lausitzring. The two former DTM Champions Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider drove chassis R17-101 and R17-102. In parallel, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich presented the third finished A5 DTM car at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt.
Visit to the USA: Romolo Liebchen, who is responsible for customer racing at Audi, traveled to the Grand-Am race at Mid-Ohio last weekend. Audi Sport customer racing is offering a Grand-Am version of the Audi R8 LMS starting in 2012.
Conqueror of the peak: Le Mans winner Benoît Tréluyer tackled a special kind of mountain tour: The Audi factory driver climbed to the top of Mount Fuji in Japan.
A brief interview with ... Mattias Ekström
Two victories and a second place at the last three races – is the DTM particularly good fun this way?
I’ve had good fun racing all year. But I’m having even more fun at the moment because we’re trying to improve certain things in the team and are achieving good results in the process.
The next DTM race will be held at Valencia – you won there last year. That automatically makes you the favorite...
A victory at Oschersleben does not help at Valencia. Also, we shouldn’t forget that we’ve got a new tire partner this year. We’re still in the process of learning. Sometimes you’re first, sometimes 14th. It’s important to be focused on every single lap and to correctly assess the experiences. You move forward through structure work.
You’ve been the father of a little son since April. How has this changed your life?
I enjoy my time at home with little Mats, Heidi and the two dogs, Moss and Lou. More than ever before, I look forward to coming home. But also more than ever before, I enjoy being out on the track because the challenge in the DTM is greater than ever.
At the beginning of the week you tested the new Audi A5 DTM at the Lausitzring. What was your first impression?
Generally, it’s always a really great thing for me to be part of the development of a new race car from the outset. It’s still very early and the cars are different due to the regulations. But the A5 DTM feels good. You can tell that Audi has built the car. Everything’s been prepared very well and solid and runs like a charm. We’ve got a good testing program that we’re checking off meticulously. The first few meters I was surprised how different this can feel with the same engine and many identical parts. But the new Hankook tires make the biggest difference.
Coming up next week
Sep 24 Nürburgring (D), VLN Endurance Championship, round 8
Sep 25 Donington (GB), British GT Championship, round 9