· ACO and FIA create World Endurance Championship
· New field of activity for the Audi R8 LMS
· Tom Kristensen promotes safety
Ingolstadt, June 5, 2011 - On Friday the FIA announced two new world championship categories of importance to Audi. And in Austria Audi attracted attention through the DTM at the Red Bull Ring, the R8 LMS at the Wörthersee lake, a driving safety demonstration in Teesdorf and an appearance at the Technical University Graz.
World Championship status for the sports prototypes:
The FIA World Motor Sport Council on Friday announced a decision of importance to Audi and to sports car fans. The Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), which Audi contests with the R18 TDI, will receive world championship status in the 2012 season. The FIA World Endurance Championship to be created in cooperation with the Le Mans organizer ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) will also include the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Worldwide GT class:
Customers using the Audi R8 LMS will have an additional field of activities in the 2012 season. The FIA has announced a new "GT World Class" in which the GT cars of the previous GT1, GT2 and GT3 categories are to compete for the GT world champion’s title in a single class.
DTM on campus:
Directly after the DTM race at the Red Bull Ring two Audi factory drivers and an engineer traveled to Graz. Their destination: the Institute of Vehicle Engineering (FTG) of the Technical University Graz. Mattias Ekström, Martin Tomczyk and Markus Michelberger, Miguel Molina’s race engineer, will provide fresh reports about DTM racing routines to Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hirschberg, the director of the institute, and the FTG’s professional audience.
A peek behind the scenes:
30 children from the Children’s Cancer Foundation Graz visited Audi during the DTM round at the Red Bull Ring. In the garage of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline they were given a personal tour after the qualifying session. Afterward they met their idol Timo Scheider. The German who lives in Austria was pleased to grant all wishes for autographs.
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline has again received the award for the quickest pit stop in the DTM. On Friday Mattias Ekström’s crew was pleased to receive three cases of beer from tire partner Hankook.
At the new Red Bull Ring Audi has a turn of its own. "Turn 4," the first left-hander of the reopened race track with an easy view of the apex has now been named "Audi ultra Kurve".
DTM stars on tour:
Mike Rockenfeller and Martin Tomczyk did a lap around the Red Bull Ring on mountain bikes by G. Grill Großhandels-GmbH from Kapfenberg. The two Audi factory drivers used the occasion to explain the reopened race track in the Austrian province of Styria to journalists and guests of Audi.
Stürmer in the A4 DTM:
The guests of the Volkswagen Group at the DTM race at Spielberg included Christina Stürmer. The Austrian singer used her visit to ride in an Audi A4 DTM race taxi. The Austrian ski racer Klaus Kröll and Austria’s former Minister of the Interior Karl Schlögl had the opportunity of riding in the passenger seat of the A4 DTM as well. All three were obviously thrilled with the high performances delivered by racers.
A1 causes a sensation:
Audi has caused a sensation with the 370 kW (503 hp) A1 clubsport quattro show car at the 30th edition of the 2011 Wörtherseetour. The car of which only one unit exists gives the impression of just having left the shop freshly painted on the way to its first rollout on the race track. As a road car designed for the race track, many of the features of the A1 clubsport quattro will soon be found in the range of accessories of the A1 family. An Audi R8 LMS sporting the colors of Audi Sport performance Cars attracted attention at the Wörthersee Lake as well.
As eSafety ambassador Tom Kristensen promoted the 2011 eSafety Challenge 2011 in Austria last Tuesday. The Audi factory driver appeared in front of more than 300 delegates and members of the media. At the wheel of an Audi A7 he demonstrated the operation of advanced safety systems at the ÖAMTC Driving Safety Center in Teesdorf. The systems relieve the driver in situations like emergency braking, passing and evasive maneuvers, and help save lives.
The Audi R8 LMS celebrated podium results with importers and customer teams at various national championships this weekend. At the second round of the Swedish GT Championship at Mantorp Park Jan Brunstedt in the Audi R8 LMS of the Brunstedt team took second place. Up to the final phase the R8 LMS of the Alfab team with Daniel Roos/Erik Behrens had been leading the race but due to a puncture dropped far behind just eight minutes before the end.
The Audi R8 LMS celebrated a second place at Saturday’s race of the Italian GT Championship at Misano. Marco Bonanomi and Andrea Sonvico crossed the finish line as the runners-up and relegated their colleagues from Audi Sport Italia, Alessandro Cicognani and Alberto Cola, to third place with a lead of 0.252 seconds. At the second race on Sunday Marco Bonanomi and Andrea Sonvico occupied third place and thus continued to defend their lead of the championship.
César Campaniço and Ni Amorim in the Audi R8 LMS of the NovaDriver Total team finished the third round of the season in the Portuguese GT Championship at Braga with two second places.
The Audi R8 LMS also achieved a podium finish at the Dutch Supercar Challenge at Assen: Robert de Graaf and Ardi van der Hoek (Brinkmann Motorsport) occupied third place at the second race.
A brief interview with ... Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich
The Intercontinental Le Mans Cup will be awarded world championship status in 2012. What is Audi’s position on this?
It shows that we’re heading in the right direction. Audi has been involved in sports prototype racing and the Le Mans 24 Hours since 1999. Ever since then we have been energetically supporting the idea of a worldwide racing series for this particularly fascinating form of motorsport - always with the long-range aim of a world championship. After the ALMS and the LMS the creation of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup by the ACO last year marked the first major step in this direction that is now seeing its consistent continuation in the FIA World Endurance championship. This leads to a further upgrading of our activities with the R18 TDI.
What advantages does the World Endurance Championship have compared with Formula One?
Audi made a conscious decision against Formula One and in favor of the sports prototypes. At Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship we can test new technologies, which are subsequently of relevance in our production cars as well, in the tough competition on the race track. In 2001 we successfully introduced the combination of turbocharging and gasoline direct injection at Le Mans - today we are using the TFSI technology in conjunction with downsizing production engines. The TDI that was invented by Audi is subjected to further development by means of the endurance races. Overall, our new Audi R18 TDI features numerous innovative details of interest for subsequent use in production cars.
What is Audi’s position on the creation of a worldwide class for GT cars? What are the implications for the Audi R8 LMS?
It is a basic problem of today’s motorsport that there are too many similar racing series in existence. Therefore, such a step is to be welcomed. GT sport is already a very attractive form of racing now due to the so-called "supersport cars" ("Dream Cars") which will no doubt be strengthened further by a worldwide standard class for GT vehicles. Our customers who are fielding the R8 LMS will benefit from this as well. The range of possible uses for the R8 LMS will increase even further and create another incentive to attract new customers to our customer sport car. That’s a welcome development.
Coming up next week
June 11 Nürburgring (D), VLN Endurance Championship, round 5
June 12 Le Mans 24 Hours (F), ILMC, round 3
June 12 Zolder (B), ADAC GT Masters, round 3