Audi Motorsport Newsletter 33/2011: Audi R8 LMS triumphs at VLN finale

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Photography by: Audi AG
Haase and Stippler Phoenix Audi R8 LMS
Haase and Stippler Phoenix Audi R8 LMS Source Audi AG
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Haase and Stippler Phoenix Audi R8 LMS Luca, Gruber, Yoong, Audi race experience R8 LMS Luca, Gruber, Yoong, Audi race experience R8 LMS Alex Yoong and Sepp Haider Alex Yoong Phoenix Audi R8 LMS
Ernst Moser Martin Tomczyk driving through the Neckarsulm
  • Phoenix Racing victorious on Nürburgring’s Nordschleife
  • Mayor holds reception for Martin Tomczyk
  • United Autosports to compete in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Bathurst

Ingolstadt, October 30, 2011 – Phoenix Racing notched up another success at the end of the season, following on from its DTM title win: Ernst Moser’s team won the final race of the VLN Endurance Championship on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife with the Audi R8 LMS.

Triumph on the Nordschleife: The Audi R8 LMS won the finale of the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring. In a thrilling race, Michael Ammermüller, Marc Basseng, and Christopher Mies drove the Audi R8 LMS to victory for Phoenix Racing, beating GT3 competition from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche. This makes it the third overall victory for the Audi R8 LMS on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife.

Celebrations in France: At the season finale of the French GT Championship at Le Castellet, David Hallyday and Stéphane Ortelli moved up a position to second overall when they came seventh in the first of two races in their Audi R8 LMS for the Audi France team. Their brand colleagues Nicolas Tardif and Grégory Guilvert came second in the first race in an R8 LMS for Saintéloc and therefore made it onto the winners’ rostrum for the second time this year.

Champions rack up more points: Having recently clinched the title in the GTS category of the Spanish GT Championship, César Campaniço and Joao Pedro Figueiredo extended their impressive series of successes on the last weekend of racing in 2011 at Barcelona. Driving an Audi R8 LMS for the NovaDriver Total team, the pair came second in the first race and fourth in the second, and were therefore among the top three at eleven out of twelve races this year.

Two days after the DTM finale at Hockenheim, the Audi employees in Neckarsulm celebrated the new DTM champion Martin Tomczyk when he performed a lap of honor in his Audi A4 DTM at the company grounds on Tuesday

Lap of honor: Two days after the DTM finale at Hockenheim, the Audi employees in Neckarsulm celebrated the new DTM champion Martin Tomczyk when he performed a lap of honor in his Audi A4 DTM at the company grounds on Tuesday. He then patiently signed cards and posters in the company canteen.

Champion celebrated near the company headquarters: Some 250 guests attended the DTM champion’s celebration hosted by Audi Sport Team Phoenix on Saturday evening after the VLN finale. The event was held at the "Alte Scheune” in Lind, near the team’s headquarters in Meuspath right by the Nürburgring. The new DTM champion Martin Tomczyk came straight from a guest appearance at an FC Bayern Munich home game, laden with gifts for all the team members, including the helmet he wore during the final race at Hockenheim. Tomczyk, who is a fan of all things technological, surprised his mechanics with digital cameras.

Two home appearances: Audi factory driver Martin Tomczyk also made two appearances in Bavaria this week. He was received in his birth place Rosenheim by the mayor Gabriele Bauer and the deputy mayor Anton Heindl on Friday morning and attended the inauguration of a touring car exhibition at the Olympia shopping mall (OEZ) in Munich on Thursday. On Thursday it was also announced that Tomczyk had been crowned the ADAC Motorsportsman of the Year for the second time.

DTM champion on TV channel Sat.1: On November 4, the German TV channel Sat.1 will broadcast an episode of the game show "Mein Mann kann” with celebrities, including DTM champion Martin Tomczyk and his partner Christina Surer. Tune in at 8:15 P.M. to see the candidates perform interesting tasks and win great prizes.

Strong Audi presence: There is now confirmation of three Audi factory drivers taking part in the Race of Champions on December 3 and 4, with Martin Tomczyk and Tom Kristensen joining Mattias Ekström. The event will be held in Düsseldorf’s Esprit Arena and will feature Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, and various other top international drivers.

First 2012 customer sport dates: The Anglo-American team United Autosports is set to compete in three international endurances races with the Audi R8 LMS in January and February. The team will tackle the 24H Dubai race from January 12 to 14, followed by the 12H Abu Dhabi race a week later. Zak Brown and Richard Dean’s team will then compete in the Bathurst 12 Hour race in Australia from February 24 to 26.

Direct contact: 40 journalists from Asia got to talk to an appointed interviewee at a media workshop at the Audi Kowloon premises in Hong Kong: Darryl O’Young, winner of the 2011 Bathurst 12 Hour race in an Audi R8 LMS. O’Young and his team colleagues Edoardo Mortara and Alexandre Imperatori will compete in the 6 Hours of Zhuhai in an R8 LMS for Audi Sport customer racing China from November 11 to 13.

Back to school with motorsport: Leena Gade, the race engineer of the winning Audi R18 TDI in Le Mans, is to share her expertise with students. At the invitation of the MIA (Motorsport Industry Association) in the UK, she will run two courses at the School of Race Engineering on November 26/27 and December 3/4.

A brief interview with ... Ernst Moser

A brief interview with ... Ernst Moser

You have won the DTM for the first time with Audi Sport Team Phoenix. Martin Tomczyk promised you a victory before the season got underway. So had you already achieved your goal after the third race?

"It’s true that he promised me a victory. But when you then win, it goes without saying that you move on to other targets. Personally, I had hoped that we would also win during our "home” appearance on the Nürburgring, which is one of Martin’s favorite tracks. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be, but Martin did then score two further wins for us, at the Lausitzring and in Brands Hatch. We really hadn’t reckoned with those wins, so it made them even sweeter. And the icing on the cake was his winning the championship, of course. He really put in a masterful performance.”

Harboring hopes of winning the championship after the first race would have been a little presumptuous. But when did you seriously think you were in with a chance of winning?

"After just one more race. We hadn’t really expected to achieve much at the Lausitzring – in fact, we were simply pursuing a strategy of damaged limitations on a track where Mercedes had always dominated. But then Martin skillfully overtook Jamie Green and we gave him the perfect support with our strategy. Having won once, he then achieved a second win for us – that was a fantastic achievement.”

Is there a particular race that sticks in your mind?

"Yes, the race on the Norisring. Having to start in tenth place on the grid was a real setback, but with a combination of excellent driving and a clever strategy we managed to move up to third place in a very rainy race. I never saw so many amazed faces before. ‘Where did you lot come from?’ people kept saying. And for the rest of the season, we kept surprising the competition with great pursuits.”

Martin Tomczyk really put a lot into his performance, but also demanded a great deal of your team. At the end of the season, he admitted that he had the clutch changed for every single race. Was this just a quirk of his or was there a good reason for it?

"The clutch is designed for long distances and is very hard-wearing. But it is also a part that is subject to wear and tear, which changes its characteristics – something that the driver notices when he engages the clutch at the start of a race. This can be crucial, so we examined the clutch every time. In nine cases, there were indeed slight changes caused by the stresses and strains of the starting exercises each Friday. So the simple answer to your question is that Martin was right on nine occasions and only once was his request more of a quirk. And the consistently good clutch performance helped him to win the title.”

Martin won the championship before the end of the season this year and won it with a lead of 20 points. This makes it the biggest victory in the history of Phoenix. So what are your aspirations for next year?

"I would like to see a competitive vehicle in the new DTM era. Everything I have seen so far suggests that Audi Sport is once again clearly on course for success with the A5 DTM. And I would also like to see a good pairing of drivers again, of course, once the team of Audi drivers has been determined in the winter. If we are in a position to win races right from the start, it would be nice to be in the running for the championship, too.”

Coming up next week

October 31, Mike Rockenfeller, 28th birthday


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