Ingolstadt - Audi is entering the crucial phase of the season with the momentum of three victories achieved by the R18. At Silverstone (Great Britain), the fourth of eight rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship will be held on August 26.
Sports car fans are looking forward to the upcoming race in the United Kingdom with eager anticipation. After Audi clinched its eleventh victory at Le Mans, and celebrated the first win of a hybrid vehicle, the next challenges are now to be tackled.
For the first time in two decades, the FIA is sanctioning a world championship title for the sports car sector and this battle is now entering its crucial phase. Within the space of just nine weeks, the WEC is holding events in five countries on three continents, starting at Silverstone in Great Britain.
There are several reasons that raise suspense to particularly high levels. No less than three different Audi driver squads have won the first three rounds - with three different versions of the R18 sports car. In addition, challenger Toyota showed a remarkable performance on its premiere at Le Mans, so that a tough duel can be expected in the second half of the season.
There is a third thrilling aspect that makes the LMP sports cars particularly intriguing from a technological point of view. As the conditions for hybrid vehicles vary from track to track there is really no way of telling which concept will ultimately prevail.
One of the reasons for this lies in the individual layouts of the various tracks and the other in the definitions by the FIA and WEC sporting authorities. For the 5.901-kilometer circuit at Silverstone, for instance, only four braking zones are planned in which the energy that is recovered in braking events may be released again.
Right at the beginning of the season, Audi decided to contest the rounds following the 24-hour race with a hybrid vehicle and a conventionally powered race car. After their second consecutive Le Mans victory, Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer are driving the R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car designated as car number "1."
Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, who are running as a duo, are switching to the cockpit of the Audi R18 ultra that will be marked as car number "2." With an advantage of only 6.5 points, they are leading the standings in front of the Le Mans winners.
For McNish, who has been victorious at Silverstone with Audi as many as three times, the fourth race of the season is a home round. And for Audi, the event is about clinching the first victory on this tradition-steeped track in four years. But Great Britain not only has high sporting value for the brand with the four rings, as the United Kingdom has continued to be its second-largest European sales market through the first half of 2012.