Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loïc Duval were crowned the 2013 FIA World Endurance LMP1 drivers’ champions
1. The Weekend
Focussing on the weekend of 9 - 10 November 2013
2. The Events
Audi R8 LMS Cup
2.1. FIA WEC
Round seven of the FIA World Endurance Championship headed to China this weekend, hosting the Six Hours of Shanghai. Two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars from Audi Sport Team Joest faced off against two Toyota TS030 Hybrid cars. Two practice sessions got the weekend’s proceedings underway on Friday. The #2 Audi of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loïc Duval set the fastest time during the first session, followed by the #1 Audi in third. Another Audi topped the time sheets during the second and final practice session. This time round it was the #1 Audi leading the field with Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Treluyer behind the wheel. However, as was the case with Toyota in Fuji, the #1 Audi had its fastest time disallowed due to a pitlane speeding infringement, thus dropping to third. The amended standings for the second session saw Toyota taking a 1-2 result ahead of Audi #1 in third and Audi #2 in fourth. Qualifying concluded the track running on Friday.
Toyota took pole position with the #7 Toyota TS030 Hybrid, ahead of the #1 Audi crew, who narrowly missed pole. The #8 Toyota took third and the #2 Audi was in fourth. An exciting race was set for Saturday, with the two factory LMP1 brands staggered on the two front rows. The race got underway with Toyota leading at the front. It soon became a Toyota 1-2 as the Audis were relegated to third and fourth. The two Audis continued to circulate behind the Toyotas, as the #1 Audi lead the #2 Audi. The Audis swapped positions when the #1 Audi suffered a puncture, but they were able to retake third during the race. The Audi #2 crew drove a sensible race, keeping a clear eye on the championship and collecting valuable points. Up front it was a Toyota battle as the team’s two cars battled for overall supremacy. The #1 Audi had recovered well and they brought themselves back into contention with the second placed Toyota.
With one and a half hours to go the leading #8 Toyota suffered suspension failure and promoted the then second placed #1 Audi into the lead, the first time that an Audi had led a lap in this race. The battle then began to rage between the #7 Toyota and #1 Audi, with less than eighty minutes on the clock and a gap of less than a minute. The final pitstops saw Audi fuelling and replacing all four tires on the #1 Audi with Benoît Treluyer behind the wheel, followed by Toyota coming in for a splash and dash, rejoining in the lead, just in front of Audi #1. The pair then battled on track and Treluyer pulled off a fantastic pass for the lead in heavy traffic. Treluyer was able to build and maintain the lead, coming home to take victory ahead of the #7 Toyota. The top three was rounded out with the #2 Audi, but most importantly, this third place finish was enough to crown Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loïc Duval as the 2013 FIA World Endurance LMP1 drivers’ champions. Audi Sport Team Joest took the LMP1 manufacturers’ title last time out at Fuji and now the LMP1 drivers’ title has also been wrapped up, with one round to go.
2.2. Audi R8 LMS Cup
The Audi R8 LMS Cup headed to Macau for the season finale this weekend. One race was held as part of the first of two weekends making up the 2013 Macau Grand Prix. A total of twenty Audi R8 LMS cars took part this weekend. A number of additional drivers also took part, headlined by the return of “Mr Macau” Edoardo Mortara in the #5 BRT Audi R8 LMS. Mortara will be taking part in the Macau GT Cup next weekend, an event which he had won in 2011 and 2012. He was untouchable this weekend as he dominated practice, took pole position and race victory. Behind him there was a championship battle at stake. Alex Yoong arrived at Macau as the championship points leader, leading ahead of Adderly Fong and Marchy Lee. Qualifying saw Mortara on pole ahead of Andre Couto and Adderly Fong. Alex Yoong suffered a very big crash during qualifying, he was luckily unharmed, but his R8 LMS was heavily damaged and he was out for the rest of the weekend. This resulted in the championship being blown wide open, as Fong was only 24 points behind Yoong in the standings. Fong only needed to finish first among the regular Audi R8 LMS Cup entrants and with his third on the grid he was already starting in the prime position, as both Mortara and Couto were guest drivers. The race on Sunday got underway in wet conditions. Mortara led from the front and took a dominant victory ahead of Andre Couto and Adderly Fong. These results crowned Adderly Fong as the 2013 Audi R8 LMS Cup champion.
2.3. Australian GT
The Australian GT Championship hosted its season finale in New Zealand this weekend. The finale was held at the new Highlands Motorsport Park circuit with two Audi cars on the grid. Melbourne Performance Centre fielded the two cars for their customers. The #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra was driven by car-owner, Rod Salmon, and his co-driver, Liam Talbot. The #71 Equity-One Motorsport Audi R8 LMS had Dean Koustoumidis and Andrew McInnes behind the wheel. The weekend began with practice, qualifying and race one on Friday, followed by race two on Saturday and the Highlands 101 on Sunday, a special non-championship endurance race. Qualifying for the first race saw the highest Audi placing fifth, the #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra, followed by the #71 R8 LMS in seventh. Race one concluded with overall victory for Rod Salmon and Liam Talbot with their #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra. Dean Koustoumidis and Andrew McInnes finished seventh in the #71 Audi R8 LMS. The second race got underway at midday on Saturday. The #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra squad of Salmon and Talbot rounded out a great Australian GT weekend by taking third place during the second and final race. The #71 Equity-Motorsport R8 LMS unfortunately retired from race two.
2.4. Highlands 101
The Highlands 101 concluded the race weekend at Highlands Motorsport Park in New Zealand. Two Audis were entered for the three hour endurance race on Sunday. The 2013 Australian GT Championship concluded with its finale at Highlands, hosting races one and two on Friday and Saturday. A special non-championship race was scheduled for Sunday, the Highlands 101, and many of the Australian GT competitors took part in this hundred and one lap endurance race. Both Audis that were entered for the Australian GT races were also entered for the Highlands 101. Melbourne Performance Centre fielded the two cars for their customers. The #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra was driven by car-owner, Rod Salmon, and his co-drivers, Liam Talbot and Jason Bright. The #71 Equity-One Motorsport Audi R8 LMS had Dean Koustoumidis and Andrew McInnes behind the wheel. Qualifying was held early on Sunday morning and the highest placed Audi was the #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra in fifth place. The #71 R8 LMS qualified ninth. After the eventful starting procedure the race got underway. The #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra crew had progressed well during the race and were inside of the top three during the closing stages. They tried to close the gap to the leaders, but ultimately they finished second behind the race winning #7 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Fabian Coulthard and Tony Quinn. This rounded out an excellent weekend for the #6 MPC Audi, as Rod Salmon and Liam Talbot won the first Australian GT race and finished third in the second - and then the pair was joined by Jason Bright to finish second in the Highlands 101 on Sunday. The #71 Equity-One Motorsport Audi R8 LMS of Dean Koustoumidis and Andrew McInnes finished ninth in the Highlands 101.
2.5. GT Open
The International GT Open season concluded at Circuit de Catalunya this weekend. Two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were entered for the GT Open finale. The GT Open finale was held alongside the finale of the Spanish IBER GT Championship, with both series running together on track. Both championships are split into two categories: the SGT class for GTE specification vehicles and GTS for GT3 specification vehicles. Three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were on the grid, of which two were GT Open entrants. The first car was from Team Novadriver, who had entered their #81 Audi R8 LMS ultra in GT Open with drivers Cesar Campanico and GT Open GTS class (GT3) title hopeful, Rafael Hideo Suzuki. This #81 car was also entered for the Spanish IBER GT. Team Novadriver also entered a second Audi in the event, but this #80 car was only entered in the Spanish IBER GT class. Team Novadriver was aiming for the Spanish IBER GT title and Suzuki was aiming to become the GT Open GTS champion.
The second GT Open entered car was entered by Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, the #88 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Filipe Albuquerque and Yves Weerts. Qualifying for race one saw the #81 of Campanico and Suzuki taking seventh on the overall combined grid. Thus they took seventh overall within the GT Open and second in the GT Open GTS (GT3) class. The #88 WRT Audi qualified way back in the field by taking thirty-fifth overall. The first race was held late on Saturday and concluded with the #81 Audi R8 LMS ultra finishing fourth overall within the combined standings. They took third place within the GT Open GTS class. The WRT Audi was running at the back of the field, but Albuquerque was able to recover during his stint and the #88 WRT Audi finished in twenty-eighth place. Qualifying for race two saw the #81 Audi in ninth place overall in the combined results. This was a sixth place starting position within the Open GT GTS class. The #88 WRT Audi qualified eighteenth overall. The second and final race got underway on Sunday. This final race of 2013 again saw the #81 R8 LMS ultra as the highest placed Audi finisher. Campanico and Suzuki finished seventeenth overall, after a huge time handicap penalty during the pitstop. They finished thirteenth within the GT Open GTS class. Unfortunately Suzuki lost out on the GT Open GTS title. The #88 WRT Audi finished further back in twenty-second position overall. This weekend concluded the 2013 International GT Open season.
2.6. Spanish GT
The Spanish IBER GT Championship season concluded at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this weekend. Two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were entered for the IBER GT finale. The IBER GT finale was held alongside the finale of the International GT Open, with both series running together on track. Both championships are split into two categories: the SGT class for GTE specification vehicles and GTS for GT3 specification vehicles. Three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were on the grid, of which two were IBER GT entrants. Team Novadriver had entered both of their Audi R8 LMS ultra cars this weekend. The first car from Team Novadriver was the #81 Audi R8 LMS ultra with drivers Cesar Campanico and GT Open GTS class (GT3) title hopeful, Rafael Hideo Suzuki. This #81 car was entered for both the Spanish IBER GT and GT Open.
Team Novadriver was aiming for the Spanish IBER GT title and Suzuki was aiming to become the GT Open GTS champion. Team Novadriver’s second car was the #81 Audi R8 LMS ultra driven by Manuel Gião and Lourenço Da Veiga, who were only entered in the IBER GT. A third Audi was also on the grid, but it was only entered in the GT Open class, the car entered by Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, the #88 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Filipe Albuquerque and Yves Weerts. Qualifying for race one saw the #81 of Campanico and Suzuki taking seventh on the overall combined grid and second within the combined GTS (GT3) class. Thus they took fourth overall within the IBER GT and pole position in the IBER GT GTS (GT3) class. Their teammates qualified eighteenth on the overall combined grid, taking fifth within the IBER GT GTS (GT3) class. The first race was held late on Saturday and concluded with the #81 Audi R8 LMS ultra placing fourth within the overall combined results. This was enough to take third overall within IBER GT and second place within the IBER GT GTS class. Their teammates in the #80 Audi finished fifteenth overall in the combined results.
Qualifying for race two saw the #81 Audi in ninth place overall in the combined results. This was a third place starting position within the IBER GT GTS class. Their teammates qualified twenty-third overall. The second and final race got underway on Sunday. This final race of 2013 saw the #81 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Campanico and Suzuki finishing seventeenth overall, after a huge time handicap penalty during the pitstop. They took fourth within the IBER GT GTS class. Their teammates in the #80 Audi were involved in the start-line crash and they suffered damage while trying to avoid the incident. They ultimately finished further back in twenty-seventh position overall. The final results unfortunately revealed that Cesar Campanico was not crowned as the 2013 Spanish IBER GT champion. He finished third overall in the standings and second in the GTS points. He missed both the overall and GTS titles by a mere three points. This weekend concluded the 2013 Spanish IBER GT season.
2.7. Super Taikyu
The Japanese Super Taikyu Endurance Series concluded at Autopolis this weekend. The round seven finale was a three-hour race event and one Audi R8 LMS ultra was entered. Nova Engineering, Team Nova, entered their #8 Audi R8 LMS ultra at this final round. Their drivers included Seiji Ara, Shohei Yuzawa and Ryuichiro Tomita. During qualifying they achieved a fifth place starting position. The three hour race on Sunday took place in very wet and difficult conditions. The event finished with the #8 Audi R8 LMS ultra crossing the line in seventh place within the GT3 class. This concluded the 2013 Super Taikyu season, which was highlighted by a podium finish for Team Nova and their Audi R8 LMS ultra at Suzuka.
2.8. Other Audi News
The Macau GT Cup will be taking place next weekend. A total of six Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars will be taking part and all of them were on display this weekend. The Macau Supercar and Road Sport Show is held annually on the weekend preceding the Macau Grand Prix. The Macau GT Cup field were on display, which included the six Audi entries. The headliner for the Audi teams is the return of Mr Macau Edoardo Mortara, the reigning two-time Macau GT Cup champion. Mortara will be driving the #1 red/black Audi R8 LMS ultra entered by Absolute Racing.
Marco Da Silva Rosario
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT took part in a very wet test day at Zolder on Thursday. They took part in the general Thursday Zolder tests in order to rollout three of their cars ahead of the FIA GT Series finale in Baku. The #11, #13 and #17 WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were on site. The cars were driven by Gregoire Demoustier, Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof and Laurens Vanthoor. WRT will be entering four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars at the FIA GT Series finale in Baku.
The 2013 SEMA show in Las Vagas was held from Tuesday until Friday this week. The show features many tuner and technology companies. Many Audi related cars were present, including one very special Audi at the Akrapovic Exhaust System stand. An Audi R18 TDI with the #3 2012 Audi R18 ultra livery was on display, along with a guest appearance of Audi Sport factory driver, Oliver Jarvis.
GMG Racing was also on display at SEMA and their #14 Audi R8 LMS, which was driven by James Sofronas in the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge, was also on display.
The Fall-Line Motorsports Audi R8 GRAND-AM was also at SEMA this week. It was on display at the Eibach stand.
United Autosports made an announcement regarding their 2014 season this week. They have announced that they will be returning to the 2014 British GT Championship. They will again be fielding their Audi R8 LMS ultra, which will once again be piloted by Mark Patterson and Matt Bell. The duo finished runner up during the 2013 season, missing the British GT title by a mere 1.5 points.
News emerged this week regarding the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC) season. Multiple Audi R8 race cars are expected to appear in the series next year. According to John Dagys (sportscar365.com), Fall-Line Motorsports and GMG Racing will be committing to the series. Fall-Line Motorsports is planning for a two-car entry and GMG Racing is said to be fielding one car. Rumours have also suggested Audi R8 race car interest from Flying Lizard Motorsport and Paul Miller Racing. These Audi R8 race cars will be competing in the GTD class, the GT Daytona class.
The FIA World Rallycross Championship will be debuting during 2014 and at least one Audi entrant will be taking part. Münnich Motorsport has been working on an Audi A3 rallycross car during 2013. They revealed the vehicle a few weeks ago when they completed their first rollout of the new car. Their Audi is known as the “S3 SuperCar”. The team has already confirmed that they will be reducing their WTCC program during 2014 and that they will be fielding their Audi A3 in the new FIA World Rallycross Championship. The team has mentioned that they will be testing the Audi A3 this week, as they prepare for the 2014 season. It is certainly very exciting to hear that this fantastic looking rallycross car will be seen on the world stage during 2014.
Two very special cars arrived at Audi Forum Ingolstadt on Monday. Both cars are on display for visitors to view and admire. The two cars include none other than the Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi RS 5 DTM used by Mike Rockenfeller during the 2013 DTM season, and an Audi R18 e-tron quattro from Audi Sport Team Joest, which features the #2 Le Mans winning livery. The vehicles have been displayed alongside the 2013 DTM and Le Mans trophies. These two cars combine to form an awesome display at Audi Forum Ingolstadt, two extremely successful vehicles from Audi Sport this season.
The Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars competed with a revised livery in China this weekend. The cars had an additional logo on their rear fin, which stated “World Champions”.
MTM Motorsport celebrated their 2013 GT Sprint title along with their champion driver, Thomas Schöffler, and their sponsors TNT and Wotech.
Michael Stephen, the 2013 South African Bridgestone Production Cars Class A champion, has been entered for a regional event at Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He will be competing in the sprint races on the day, driving his championship winning Audi S4 race car. As it is a regional event the car will be unrestricted on the day, running without the restrictors enforced in the national championships. This race meeting will be taking place later in November.
3. Next Weekend’s events (16-17/11/2013)
Macau GT Cup
V de V
Grand-Am Sebring test
Rome 6 Hours
Curbstone Track Events (11/11)
Australian Sports Sedans
All photos are hosted at their respective websites, which are listed within the Weekend Round Up
By Johan Laubscher