- Award for the innovative Audi R18 TDI engine
- APR and Oryx field the Audi R8 GRAND-AM at Daytona
- First PR appointments for Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Timo Scheider
Audi Sport accepted yet another award to start the new year: the innovative V6 TDI power plant from the Le Mans winning Audi R18 TDI was honored by a special interest magazine.
Distinguished start: a first award goes to Audi Sport to start the year. A panel of judges for the trade journal Race Engine Technology voted the Audi V6 TDI as ‘Race Engine of the Year 2011’. The particularly compact and lightweight power unit develops more than 397 kW (540 hp) and propelled the Audi R18 TDI last year. Audi won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for a tenth time with it.
Tribute from royal club: in addition to the 14 awards Audi Sport, its employees and service providers have received up to the beginning of December 2011, other achievements were also recognized. Vincent Vosse, WRT Team Director, accepted the ‘Team of the Year’ prize from the Royal Belgium Automobile Club RACB. The team won the Spa 24 hours and the Blancpain Endurance Series with the Audi R8 LMS.
Appointment with the president: Michèle Mouton received a special award. The French President Nicolas Sarkozy appointed former the Audi factory driver to Knight of the French Legion of Honor in the Elysée Palace on December 21. Mouton was Rally World Championship runner-up in 1982 with the Audi quattro and made a significant contribution to Audi winning the Manufacturers’ World Championship 30 years ago. Today she is Manager of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), President of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission and co-organizer of the Race of Champions.
Audi at the World Motorsport Symposium: Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Development at Audi Sport, represented his company at the Race Tech International special interest magazine’s expert event. As Chairman, he led the Powertrain Technology Symposium at Oxford Brookes University. With more than 80 renowned international guests in attendance the focus was on electric drive and its limitations, hybrid solutions and increasing motorsport’s attraction for teenagers. During the discussions motorsport at Audi was repeatedly used as an excellent example for the close relationship between racing and production.
Roar before the Rolex 24: between January 6 and 8 the APR Motorsport and Oryx Racing teams tested the new Audi R8 GRAND-AM at the official test for the 24 hours of Daytona. APR attended with five-time Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro as well as Nelson Canache, Dion von Moltke, Dr. Jim Norman and Ian Baas. Oryx Racing Team Boss Humaid Al Masaood shared the cockpit with Saeed Al Mehairi and Steven Kane. At the same time Audi Sport customer racing completed testing for final ‘Balance of Power’ classification of the Audi R8 GRAND-AM with Frank Stippler.
Exhibition visit in England: at the weekend the two Audi factory drivers Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen attended the Autosport International Show - Great Britain’s most important motorsport trade fair and exhibition. Leena Gade, responsible race engineer on the victorious 2011 Le Mans race winning Audi R18 TDI with start number 2, was also a guest in Birmingham.
Visit on snow and ice: Timo Scheider spent the weekend in Kitzbühel where the Audi factory driver visited the 10th Snow Polo World Cup. The two-time DTM Champion was a popular partner for photographs and interviews.
Family ties: Audi factory driver André Lotterer will contest the historical Legend Boucles de Spa rally on February 18. He drives a Porsche 911 SC RS as tribute to his father who built and raced such a car with his RAS team in the 1980s.
Double strike: veteran Audi factory driver Emanuele Pirro celebrated his 50th birthday on Thursday. On the same day, his Italian countryman Edoardo Mortara was 25 years old. At the end of January Pirro contests the 24 Hour race at Daytona (USA) with the new Audi R8 GRAND-AM.
A word from ... Frank Stippler
You’ve just help develop a new racing car - the Audi R8 GRAND-AM. How did the tests go?
"We tested the new model for the first time at Daytona in December. We were in Florida again last weekend for the ‘Roar before the Rolex 24’, the official test day. quattro GmbH has designed and build a fascinating race car, which is completely different to the model seen in the GT3 series worldwide. It goes without saying that it is also very easy to handle for the customers."
What did you test at Daytona recently?
"After the set-up had already been defined in December, it was all about the basic classification of the car. We started with a very small air intake restrictor. Afterwards we were granted more and more power. In this way we gradually moved forward. In a field of 33 GT cars the competition is, however, extremely tough. The other teams have a year more experience with the standard Continental tires."
In your opinion what impression did the Audi make at the first test in the GRAND-AM series?
"The Audi R8 GRAND-AM was extremely well received. The series and also the APR and Oryx teams as first customers of Audi are delighted about this new car. quattro GmbH has opened another important field of activity. The USA is without doubt a very an important market."
Coming up next week
20.01. Gulf 12 Hours, Abu Dhabi (UAE)