Fresh from victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Benoît Tréluyer and his title-winning Audi Sport team-mates will contest the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone this weekend (April 14) brimming with confidence.
Benoît has never been so physically and mentally prepared as he is ahead of the 2013 campaign. Galvanized by that victory on US soil, he has now returned to Europe to focus on once again conquering the world.
Silverstone represents the first race of an eight-round championship that includes June’s Le Mans 24 Hours, and will also lay the foundations for 2014 when new technical regulations come into force.
I have also had the chance to forge close links with partners like GT Bicycles, SRAM and KTM, all of whom have allowed me to train well.
I have done a lot of background work too, and mentally I'm on top of my game! The victory at Sebring, the family time I’ve enjoyed with my wife and son, the trip to Paul Ricard to share my passion for motorsport with children and the gift from exhaust specialists Akrapovic who sent me an engraved ‘WEC Champion 2012’ exhaust: all of these moments have created a good synergy within me. I’ll be heading to Silverstone well armed for battle!”
Though he is properly equipped for combat, Benoît is also fully aware of the challenge that lies ahead as he seeks to defend his World Championship alongside #1 Audi crew-mates André Lotterer and Marcel Fässler.
I’ll be heading to Silverstone well armed for battle!
Last year the circumstances were rather unusual as very often we were battling against our sister car. This season Toyota will be very strong opponents.”
Like Audi, the Japanese outfit has spent the winter testing alone, away from spectators and their competitors. For the two manufacturer teams competing for the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Silverstone will be the first opportunity to assess their work against that of their rivals. The verdict is soon to be delivered – but Benoît is not unduly concerned.
“We weren’t really able to measure the potential of the car at Sebring, but we have our data and our reference points. We know that the 2013-spec R18 e-tron quattro is an improvement on last year’s car, but it is up to us to make the most of it. Sebring showed that we are working in the right direction and Silverstone should continue this trend.
Now we must remain cautious because the race will be about sizing our rivals up, with some teams still not fully prepared, and as is always the case in Britain we can expect changeable weather conditions.
During the winter each team kept their cards close to their chest and now everyone thinks they’re in good shape.
We will have a first glimpse of our rivals’ potential in qualifying, but we still won’t know the whole story until we see how they cope in the race with variables like refuelling, consumption and tyre wear.”
At the British round, Benoît and Marcel will be reunited with their old friend André, who vacated his seat for Audi team-mate Oliver Jarvis at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
The Frenchman is delighted that the highly successful trio are back together. “Cohesion is a core strength of the Audi team. Our line-up is perfect, as is the case with our team-mates in the #2 car.
We work well together and it allows the team to act faster. Previously, races that preceded the 24 Hours were considered practice sessions.
That is much less the case today and it makes our task even more complex. We must work on reliability but also focus on performance because we cannot afford to hand victory to our opponents.
Now we must adapt perfectly to the characteristics of each circuit, which was less the case before, and focus on the World Championship as well as the 24 Hours.”