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Motorsport Newsletter 03/2012: Audi R8 LMS in Exotic Livery

Les Bidrawn
Feb 2, 2012
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  • Audi on the grid in Australia with designs from the animal kingdom
  • Formula 1 know-how at Audi Sport Team Rosberg
  • Exhibition and conference appearances for Audi factory drivers

Ingolstadt - The two Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS will be two visually striking highlights in the field at the Bathurst 12 hours at the end of February.

Black and white: The two Audi R8 LMS which compete in the 12 hours Bathurst between February 24 and 26 are unique with their visual references to the animal kingdom. Christer Jöns/Christopher Mies/Darryl O'Young share a black R8 LMS. An oversized version of the world-famous yellow traffic sign symbolizing the kangaroo is reproduced on the bodywork. A spider's web covers the entire surface of the white sister car driven by Mark Eddy/Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff. A typical Australian Redback spider sits in the web.

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Top-class new team member: Formula 1 know-how moves to Audi Sport Team Rosberg. New team member Ossi Oikarinen spent 14 years in Grand Prix racing. The 41-year old engineer is new Technical Director of the DTM team from March 1 and successor to Andreas Roos. After starting at Arrows in 1997, Oikarinen moved to Toyota in 2000 where he also worked together with Dieter Gass, the new Head of Racing Commitments at Audi Sport. Oikarinen who hails from Lahti in Finland managed the BMW Sauber teat team from 2007. From 2009 he was the leading test engineer at Ferrari. "We expect many new impulses for our team in 2012 season from this high-class new team member," explains Team Director Arno Zensen.

Great enthusiasm in Erfurt: Rahel Frey was a popular guest at the ADAC Motorsport Show at the exhibition center in Thuringia. The Swiss lady representing Audi was a popular interviewee and signed many autographs. Among the biggest attractions in Hall 1 was also the Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM.

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Crowds of fans at Lake Constance: Audi factory driver Timo Scheider was kept busy signing countless autographs all day, every day from Friday to Sunday on the Motorradwelt stand at the exhibition center in Friedrichshafen. The two-time DTM Champion is an enthusiastic motorbike rider.

Presentation in Paris: At a press conference on February 2 the ACO and FIA will present the new World Endurance Championship (WEC). Audi will be represented by factor driver Benoit Tréluyer and also displays the Audi R18 TDI with which the Frenchman and his team mates won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011.

Trade fair exhibit in Qatar: Visitors attending the Motor Show in Doha between January 25 and 28 were not only able to admire the latest production cars. An Audi R18 TDI joined the many eye-catchers on the Audi stand.

Familiar faces: With the introduction of the GRAND-AM program two engineers from sport prototype programs return. The American Brad Kettler was an engineer for different Audi teams since the Audi R8 LMP era. He now provides technical and logistical support in the customer racing program. Ron Mathis, one of the race engineers from the former American Le Mans Series program, is new race engineer at Oryx Racing.

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Big program: about 180 guests of Audi of America visibly enjoyed the debut of the R8 GRAND-AM at Daytona. A tour through the paddock, exclusive pit tours during the race and visits to meet the drivers in the Audi Lounge on the main grandstand ensured the weekend remained unforgettable. The guests enjoyed a unique view across the oval track from the Audi Lounge.

A word from ... Emanuele Pirro

Your start in the 24 hours Daytona 2012 has a special meaning to you. What connects you with this race?
"Oh yes, it's my first race as a 50-year old racing driver! No, seriously though, I contested my first race outside Italy as 19-year old racing driver at Daytona in 1981. And now 31 years later I have the honor of being in the thick of the action as the R8 GRAND-AM makes its debut in Daytona. This is why this race with Audi is so special."

What has changed over the course of more than three decades?
"Earlier there were so few buildings that it was possible to recognize the banking from a long way away. This put so much fear in our hearts that two of my team mates - Michele Alboreto and Beppe Gabbiani - and I wanted to turn around on the spot! At that time there was no chicane in the oval. Today it's great fun to drive on the demanding circuit with such a well developed car like the R8 GRAND-AM. By the way, despite being in motorsport for many decades, I attended the Rookie briefing at Daytona again this year."

What memories do you have of the famous Daytona weekend?
"After coming home after my first race in 1981 I didn't realize what we had achieved. Thanks to our points our employer became World Champion. And now we've started a campaign which will hopefully also have a big effect. I'm sure that the Audi R8 GRAND-AM will have a big future in this series."

By Les Bidrawn
242 Articles



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